Demo Delay Imposed on Humphrey Property
Historical Commission members are not overwhelmingly opposed to the project as it was presented to them in September. But they want to see the developer's final plans when presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Historical Commission members voted on Tuesday to impose a 9-month delay to demolition of a circa 1880 property on Humphrey Street.
They aren't overly opposed to the 5-unit condo project that developer Charles Patsios has in mind for the property at 267-69 Humphrey St. — located by the Concordia project on the former Cap'n Jack's Inn site.
But they want to see the final project once it has been presented to the town Zoning Board of Appeals.
The developer's lawyer, Chris Drucas, said the developer still has exterior and interior details to finalize.
Commission Chairman Susan Munafo said the board was imposing the delay with the hope that they can come to an agreement with the developer and lift the delay short of the 9 months.
The commission wants to do its best to protect the appearance of Humphrey Street including ocean view corridors.
It is clear that the proposed condo building, as presented, will pass muster, the chairman said. It meets setback requirements and, at 34 feet 9 inches high, does not need zoning relief for its height which is within the maximum allowable height for that location — 35 feet.
"Mr. Patsios is within his rights to tear this building down," she said. She added that the proposed replacement is an attractive building that is not out of scale with the streetscape.
Still, several members of the public including Linda Sullivan were concerned that the building would alter ocean views.
A former commisison member, Mary Cassidy, said she would be saddened to see another historic property come down on Humphrey. The property has ties to families prominent in Swampscott's history, the Blaneys and the Ingalls, she said.
The developer's lawyer said the house, now a two-unit property, isn't a candidate for rehabbing because of the way its roof trusses are arranged. In addition, the property has been altered over the years, diminishing its historic value, he said.
Commission members said the demolition delay is, for the time being, the only tool available to try to negotiate with developers and preserve the town's character and streetscapes.
Still, they said they do not feel as strongly about the need for the delay as they did with the Concordia project and the Greenwood property.
Swampscott is one of more than 200 municipalities with bylaws that give towns the right to delay demolition of historically signficant properties while commissions negotiate with developers to preserve properties or historical elements.