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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.

Susan Post Munafo November 14, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I am compelled to clarify what has been outlined in the article. The Commission made it clear that its sole responsibility at the public hearing was to ascertain public opinion about the proposed demolition of 267-269 Humphrey Street according to the Preservation of Historically Significant Buildings bylaw. There was no public support for preserving the building itself but there was support to protect the character, streetscape and view corridors. Therefore, the Commission imposed a delay with the intent to continue discussions with the developer once the final plans are submitted to the ZBA in regard to preserving the aforementioned The Commission made it clear that any issues regarding the proposed building was under the purview of the ZBA and that the public should attend the hearing when the plans are submitted and the hearing is scheduled. We endeavored to clarify the approval process so the public understood the Commissions role.
William R. DiMento November 19, 2012 at 04:45 PM
And I am compelled to clarify the Commission went far beyond its authority when the Commission decided to protect the neighborhood rather than the building..The sole responsibility is provided in Section 17 which they must find it a "significant Structure" read it yourself------------B. Is or has been designated by the Commission to be eligible as a significant building or structure after a finding that the building or structure is either: (1.) Importantly associated with one or more historic persons or events, or with the broad architectural, cultural, political, economic or social history of the Town of Swampscott or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; or (2.) Historically or architecturally significant (in terms of period, style, method of building or construction, or association with a reputed architect or builder) either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings or structures, or (3.) Listed in the Swampscott Historical Commission Survey, originally published in 1986, as periodically amended. A copy is available for review at Town Hall and the Swampscott Public Library. and therefore it is in the public interest to be preserved or rehabilitated rather than to be demolished. The building itself was found to be "not significant". Yet,they worried about what might be built so they imposed their will.Whenever a governmental Board goes beyond their authority ,they become dangerous.

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