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Welcome to the Town of Chilmark, MA
Historical Commission Minutes 04/07/16
Present for the Historical Commission and attending the meeting were:  Steve McGhee, John Flender, Jim Malkin, Steve Flanders, Barbara Armstrong and Chuck Hodgkinson.  Harriette Otteson, Caty Fuller, Erik Blake, Reid Silva, Pam and Clark Goff, Susan Catling, Janet Weidner and Alex Elvin also attended.  Lenny Jason and Jane Slater were absent.  

The meeting came to order at 5:00 PM.  The Committee appointed Mr. Flender as acting Chairman for the evening’s agenda.  Mr. Flender opened the public hearing at 5:02 PM and read the hearing notice aloud for the record.  

PUBLIC HEARING PROPOSED DEMOLITION OF THE “GREAT HOUSE; 51 State Rd.; Map 30 Lot 53:  Ms. Fuller explained she has been trying to sell the property for nine years and  does not have the resources to save the historic structure.  The Commission discussed the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust’s expressed interest in the property.  Ms. Fuller said she is having discussions and thought a decision can hopefully be reached one way or the other in the next few weeks.  This was welcome news to all present.  

Mr. Blake said if the property is not sold and the house is eventually demolished they plan to replicate the current house with two chimneys, 12 over 12 windows and without the porch that was added within the past 50 years.  He only had concept sketches of all four elevations because there was only two weeks to prepare them for tonight’s meeting.  

Ms. Goff mentioned the current building codes have certain areas where they can be relaxed when restoring an official historic structure listed in a Town’s Master Plan—as this one is.

With no further public comment a motion was made to close the hearing at 5:25 PM.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  A subsequent motion was made to declare “The Great House” a “Preferably Preserved Structure” and to delay the issuance of a demolition permit for six months—until October 7, 2016.   If no alternative solution is found by October 7th, the Commission requires that you return to review your plans to replicate the existing house and its historic features.  The motion was seconded.  In discussion the reasons for designating “The Great House” as a Preferably Preserved Structure were stated as follows:  

1.  The structure is listed as a historically significant pre-revolutionary resource to the Town of Chilmark in its Master Plan as amended in April 1985 and adopted by Town voters.  

2.  The house has a considerable historic significance dating back to the early 18th century and is described in the Master Plan:  #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 (15, 21).  Two stories.
With no further discussion the motion passed unanimously with five in favor.

DISCUSSION REID SILVA FOR STINGEL-VITALE HISTORIC HOUSE; 34 Brickyard Rd.; Map 9 Lot 2.4:  Mr. Silva explained the Norton-Daniel Jones-Osborn Tilton-Harris House is listed in the Town’s Master Plan as Historic Resource # 4 and described as follows:  “c. 1715.  Built by Jacob Norton on Noman’s Land, moved in 1813 to present location east of Roaring Brook by Shubael Norton.  Altered at the time.  Roof originally thatched.  Property acquired by Nathaniel Harris in 1867, and remains in his family.  A 19th century brick barn c. 1852 was destroyed by 1944 hurricane.  Lower level was roofed over and shelters cattle.  One of three barns built of reject bricks from brickyard at Roaring Brook.

He added the Commission approved some changes to the original restoration plan on             May 19, 2015 and he would like to review two additional proposed changes.  Brick Barn replication:  The photos of the original barn had two hinged doors.  The owner would like to change the door design to a barn door that slides open on a rail.  The second change is for the historic house restoration.  The owner would like to remove the second chimney that was placed in the “El” addition.  It was used in the kitchen.  The center chimney will remain on the house.  After brief discussion a motion was made to approve both proposed changes.  The motion was seconded.  In discussion the Commission agreed these are minor concessions that provide a greater good because the owner is investing a great deal to preserve this historic structure.  The motion came to a vote and passed unanimously with five in favor.

ADMINISTRATION:  The March 15, 2016 meeting minutes were reviewed and approved as presented by consensus.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 17 @ 5:00 PM.  

With no further business the meeting adjourned at 6:08 PM.  

Respectfully submitted by Chuck Hodgkinson, CAS.

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