A last-minute appeal has been filed to save an old glass factory workers’ home from death by wrecking ball.
The condemned structure is a small, weather-beaten, shingled home with a pink door at 18 State Street. Two weeks ago, the Sandwich Historic District Committee gave the home’s new owner permission to knock it down.
Just before the 10-day waiting period was up, the HDC’s decision was appealed to the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Commission, the Sandwich HDC’s parent organization.
The appeal halted the demolition—at least for now.
James R. Wilson, administrative counsel for the regional commission, said in a telephone interview this week that the appeal would be heard in mid-December. He could not be more specific because he must coordinate with Sandwich Community Television about simulcasting the remote Zoom hearing.
The appeal must, by law, be heard within 30 days of its filing with the Sandwich town clerk’s office.
Richard A. Claytor, a former HDC chairman, filed the appeal with the Sandwich Town Clerk’s office on November 19.
In it, he cited the following reasons for the appeal:
• The Sandwich HDC failed to allow for the submission of most public comment at its November 12 public hearing on the demolition permit
• The HDC failed to follow its own demolition review guidelines before issuing the demo permit
• The HDC failed to take into consideration that the structure is included in the Jarvesville District included in the National Register of Historic Places
The appeal asks the regional commission to reverse the local HDC’s decision.
Mr. Claytor declined to discuss the appeal with The Enterprise this week. He has, however, been a vocal advocate for preserving the rapidly dwindling stock of Sandwich’s historic homes.
The house is a two-family home—one of three structures originally on the site—believed to have been built between 1830 and 1850 for workers of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company.
The HDC voted 3-2 in favor of demolition on November 12 after a tense meeting and a disagreement about whether emails from the public, which had been sent to the wrong address—but had subsequently been discovered in the workplace mailbox of the HDC’s administrator—should be read aloud into the record.
Chairman William R. Collins asked that the vote be delayed for two weeks. That delay would allow the emails to be sent to the correct address—and read into the record—and would allow time for the committee members to visit the house, possibly accompanied by a restoration expert.
“It is better to make haste slowly and to avoid any appearance of cutting people off,” Mr. Collins said at the time.
But committee vice chairman Mary Foley argued that the correct email address was published in the newspaper and on the town website, and emails sent elsewhere “should not be accepted.”
The building is too far gone to save, Ms. Foley added.
Despite the building’s decrepitude, however, many preservationists reportedly believe the house can be saved. But instead of sending emails expressing those views to the HDC’s public comment email, they sent emails directly to the workplace mailbox of Michelle Y. Raymond, the committee’s administrator.
During the November 13 meeting, Ms. Raymond repeatedly offered to read the emails aloud, or forward them to the correct address, but Ms. Foley was adamant about not allowing Ms. Raymond to do so.