EASTHAM – The owners of a historic Sears, Roebuck and Co. Craftsman house on Nan’s Way recently demolished their bayside cottage without permission.
The 787-square-foot home was built in 1936, and the city’s demolition delay bylaw applies to any home over 75 years old. The regulations state that the Eastham Historical Commission must consider any request to demolish one of these buildings.
Second home owners Scott and Angela Fillion of Granby had planned to renovate the home and build a 301-square-foot addition, according to the building department. documents.
Eastham Building Commissioner Justin Post granted planning permission after their builder, Reliant Construction Inc. of North Eastham, applied for one on January 25. Once the Reliant team got to work, they concluded the building was a total loss and decided to tear the whole thing apart. structure down.
Post said the builders called him from the site asking for permission to demolish the house when it was already half-destroyed. He accepted. Then Post issued a stop work order after realizing the house had not passed the required historical review. But the house had already been razed.
Urban planner Paul Lagg said that ultimately the onus of getting commission approval rests with property owners.
“There was regulatory oversight, but the plaintiff had a condition that required a historical review and they didn’t track the documents,” Lagg said.
Under Eastham’s Demolition Delay Bylaw, people who demolish a “significant” historic building in violation of the bylaw cannot obtain building permits on the same premises for two years. The historical review process would have determined whether this building was significant.
Penalties for violating the rule include a $500 fine, and each day of non-compliance is a separate violation, the rule states. Lagg said he doesn’t know if those penalties would apply in this situation.
Scott Fillion declined to comment when reached by phone.
“It’s a real tragedy that this happened,” said J. Holden Camp Jr., chairman of the Eastham Historical Commission. “One of the conditions for the remodeling was that the house had to be overhauled if it could not be restored. They had no right to tear it down until there was a review.
Camp said he did not recall any other homeowner violating the review requirement.
When the planning board approved the Fillions site plan at its November 17 meeting, Art Autorino, a select member of the board, raised the need for a historical review and this subsequently became a condition. of demolition. Angela Fillion attended the meeting via Zoom, while her lawyer, Ben Zehnder, was there in person.
If a historical review had taken place, the commission would have hired a historian to photograph the house and document its architectural and historical details. Eastham has over 800 such entries on the Mass website. Historical Commission. The group also reportedly hired an expert to check for insect and termite damage before the house was gutted to determine if the house or any of its features could be saved. Then, in a public hearing, the commission would authorize the demolition or delay it for a year.
Camp said the matter is no longer in the commission’s hands.
“It doesn’t make sense to have a historical review of a house that doesn’t exist, as far as I know,” he remarked during the Feb. 15 commission meeting.
“Out of curiosity, would you have fought to save a Craftsman home,” member Jeff Bumby asked.
“We would have to go watch it, and we just can’t watch it,” Camp replied.
From 1908 to 1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold approximately 70,000 home building kits and shipped them across the country. The commission documented other Sears Midwest-style craftsman homes in the town, but the house that once stood at 3 Nan’s Way was beach cottage-style. “I don’t know how many of them we have,” Camp said at the Feb. 15 meeting.
Post will soon conduct another review of the Fillions’ plans and issue a revised zoning decision.
“That will dictate regulatory approval going forward, which may or may not mean a zoning board review, a planning board review and a resolution on the historical status of the commission,” Lagg said. “We are trying to rectify the situation and bring it back through the appropriate regulatory channel.”