To demolish or not to demolish: That is the question at the Historical Commission

Feb 5, 2019

The Historical Commission voted Monday night to save some historic structures and demolish others after a look at owner’s plans — or lack thereof.

A representative of Charles Macomber, the owner of 705 Tucker Road, asked to demolish the house, which dates back to around 1870. The house is a small Greek Revival style Cape, with one bed, one bath, and a total of about 756 square feet.

The house is located in one corner of a 3.12 acre lot, which owner Macomber thinks he will have better luck selling as an empty lot — especially because the house, which has asbestos, will be expensive to tear down.

Chairperson Judy Lund said that it is specified in the bylaws that Historical Commission will not allow a house to be demolished simply to bare the land, and will only allow a home to be demolished if there are imminent plans to build a new one, especially since it is possible that Macomber will find a buyer who is interested in restoring the house. The Commission denied the request, and instructed Macomber’s representative to return with a buyer who has specific plans.

Mark Schmid, an architect from Dewing Schmid Kearns, appeared on behalf of two property owners. The owner of 108 Mishaum Point was requesting permission to demolish a small annex that had been built sometime after the original home. The small building, connected to the main house by a covered walkway, served as maid’s quarters in the 1940s and 1950s, and is composed of one main room and a bathroom.

The homeowners proposed to replace it with a 2.5 car garage with small guesthouse, including a bedroom and bathroom, attached at the rear. They plan to rebuild the covered walkway, and have designed the building to complement the house. The committee voted to declare the annex not historical and allow demolition.

Schmid also represented the owners of 9 Mattarest Lane, a home that was built in 1933 and has four outbuildings on the property. The main house has had many additions built over the years. The owners purchased the home last year and stayed in it over the summer, but found that the current layout didn’t make sense for them.

They proposed to demolish the house and build a new one with four bedrooms, a large room combining the kitchen, living room, and dining room, and a screen porch. At slightly over 3,000 square feet, the home would be only slightly larger than the current house. The Commission voted that the property was not historical and allowed demolition.

The commission also reopened discussion on the house at 197 Horseneck Road, of which the commission voted to delay demolition in November. Since then, commission members have visited the house and Bob Harding has done extensive research into the history of the property, which he presented at a lecture about at the Dartmouth Historic and Arts Society in January. Commission members will visit the house a last time to look at the joinery and framing, but voted to remove the delay and allow demolition.