Present for the Historical Commission and attending the meeting were: Jane Slater, Chairman, Steve McGhee, John Flender, Jim Malkin, Steve Flanders and Chuck Hodgkinson. George Sourati, Harriette Otteson, Caty Fuller and Erik Blake also attended. Lenny Jason and Barbara Armstrong were absent.
The meeting came to order at 5:00 PM.
PROPOSED DEMOLITION OF THE “GREAT HOUSE; 51 State Rd.; Map 30 Lot 53: Ms. Fuller outlined the history of her many attempts to sell the property since 2011. Her application to demolish the historic structure was submitted to the Building Inspector who in turn, referred it to the Historical Commission.
The house is listed in the Town’s Master Plan as an important historic resource as follows:
Historic resource # 13: “Benjamin Lambert-Robinson – “Great House” on State Road, “Boston Hill,” 1735. Occupied by British during Grey’s Raid, 1778. Much altered. Central chimney replaced by two and a transverse hallway; bay windows added. Two stories”.
Chuck H. read the Town Bylaw adopted on April 24, 2000 governing the demolition of historically significant buildings. Mr. Sourati stated he inspected the house and found it to be structurally unsound and in such poor condition that it could not be relocated to another site under the current building code. Restoration is not financially viable. Ms. Fuller added the house is uninsurable in its current state and said once demolished she plans to build a new house that is an historic replica of the original house with a center chimney, 12 over 12 windows and no porch.
After much discussion a motion was made to formally declare the building as an historically significant structure as outlined in the Bylaw. The motion was seconded. In discussion Chuck H. mentioned a public hearing could possibly be scheduled for Thursday, March 31 @ 5:00 pm if a legal notice was sent to the Times tonight for publication on Thursday, March 17. He added the abutters within 100 feet need to be sent notices. The motion came to a vote and passed unanimously with five in favor.
CHILMARK’S HISTORIC WEIGHTS AND MEASURES DISPLAY: Ms. Otteson outlined how the Town’s historic weights and measures cabinet and official weights and measures have been stored in the shed behind the Menemsha Schoolhouse/Police Station. She explained how she contacted several cabinetmakers and only received one quote from Carlton Sprague for $4,850 to completely refurbish the cabinet and replace the Plexiglas windows with period-specific glass. The Commission thanked Ms. Otteson for doing all the advance work and discussed how the Selectmen agreed to display the cabinet in the expanded Town Hall back in 2004. This space was then converted into office space which led to its storage behind the Police Station.
Chuck H. said he met with the Town Accountant and the funds to restore the cabinet can be obtained from existing expense budgets if the funds are formally voted for this purpose and encumbered from the FY 2016 existing Historical Commission ($900) and CPC ($4,000) expense budgets. The CPC expense budget is funded from CPA reserve funds. A subsequent motion was made to encumber $900 of the Historical Commission’s FY 2016 expense budget to FY 2017 for the restoration of the weights and measures cabinet. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved with five in favor. Chuck H. said this will be placed on the CPC’s April 20th agenda.
MIDDLE ROAD STONE WALL RESTORATION: Chuck H. reviewed a concept for the bronze plaque that includes a picture of the original town hall that was located in the Middle Road stone wall. He added that Alan Gowell thought it was possible for his forger to display the photo in the bronze plaque. The Commission thought this was a good idea and also approved the following copy for the plaque: “Site of Chilmark’s Original Town Hall Built in 1844”. Chuck H. added the stone wall has been cleared of brush by Morgan Stone and Landscape. The stone for the plaque has been selected and must be delivered to Alan Gowell in Edgartown.
ADMINISTRATION: The January 19, 2016 meeting minutes were reviewed and approved as presented by consensus.
The Great House public hearing will be held on March 31 @ 5:00 PM.
With no further business the meeting adjourned at 6:05 PM.
Respectfully submitted by Chuck Hodgkinson, CAS.