First, Historical Commission members weighed in on changes to the Cap'n Jack's Inn property, recently closed and sold to developers Bruce Paradise and Barry Turkanis for $3.5 million.
The Cap'n Jack's changes include the removal of the Inn sign and awnings, and installation of a chain-link fence.
Then, at Monday's meeting, commission members debated the Jan. 16, vote they took to maintain the remaining 6 1/2-month demolition delay on the Humphrey Street property. The January vote was a rejection of the developers' proposal to restore the historic train station contingent upon an MBTA agreement.
The delay, backed by a town by-law, prevents the developers from tearing down the three Cap'n Jack buildings until Aug. 1, unless an agreement is struck between the developers and the commission.
On Monday, commission member Angela Ippolito argued for the commission dropping its delay. In response, several fellow members argued back that the developers' proposed restoration of the historic train station failed on two accounts.
One, there was no guarantee that the MBTA would agree to a leasing agreement on the station, in which case, Bruce Paradise said he would not go forward with the station restoration, commission member Susan Munafo said.
And, two, the deal would not save the historic Cap'n Jack buildings, in particular, the original 1835 Federal style main building.
The Inn is the last remnant of the town's historic hotel heyday as a summer spot for thousands of visitors, said commission member Sylvia Belkin.
She said the buildings' demolition and replacement would be a blow to the town.
Ippolito said the commission should lift the delay and at least get something of historical value in return.
She said essentially the commission had "four people tanking a capital improvement (project) and it was a huge error" to not support the train station deal.
Ippolito said it was clear that the developers are not going to agree to change their plans to incorporate any of the existing buildings into a new development plan.
Other commission members said they want to see if there is something yet that can be done to preserve at least the main building, even perhaps seeing if someone is willing to move it to a new location.
In the meantime, the developers have closed on the property and plan to construct a structure with 15 condos on the site after they get their building permit.
Once the delay runs out, Aug. 1, or, before, if an agreement to lift the delay is reached, they will receive their building permit.
In the meantime, the Inn is out and so are its sign and awnings, and fencing has gone in.
Belkin said the changes make for an eye soar — that the buildings look like a corpse.
Others on the panel said the developers' actions were ways to protect their investment from liability issues.