|the public--and the applicant, Director of Conservation and Development David Ziomek (in white shirt) in the Town Room last night|
Here, the backgrounder from the recent Gazette:
Amherst Historical Commission to weigh demolition of 1850s farmhouse on East Pleasant Street
By SCOTT MERZBACH
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
AMHERST - A Greek Revival farmhouse that has been a fixture along East Pleasant Street for more than 150 years could be torn down in the coming weeks.
The Historical Commission Tuesday will hold a demolition delay hearing on the request to remove the 1850s farmhouse, as well as two barns, from the streetscape at 235 East Pleasant St.
The hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
Because Amherst acquired the property from the Hawthorne family this year, the town's own Conservation and Development Office has filed the request for the demolition permit.
Town Manager Larry Shaffer said tours of the home indicate there is little salvageable and that the sooner the home is demolished, the sooner the town can begin preparations for constructing what he calls new "workforce housing" on the site. This would be aimed at people whose earnings are below the area median salaries.
There is no timetable for building this housing, though, as the town needs to find an agency with which to partner.
The town purchased the property primarily because of its proximity to the Wildwood School, which makes it an ideal place for constructing new playing fields. A secondary consideration was the possibility of affordable or low-income housing.
Shaffer said it is unrealistic to use the home just as a rental. "The town didn't buy the property to be landlords," Shaffer said.
His concern is the maintenance cost, and the longer the farmhouse remains standing, the more it will deteriorate, causing blight and becoming an attractive place for squatters.
Until new housing and the playing fields are built, the property will remain vacant.
"When the farmhouse is demolished, it will be an attractive site," Shaffer said. "We want to be responsible property owners."