SHIRLEY — Historic Commission members cast their second favorable vote in two weeks to delay destruction of a building believed to be of historic significance.
The purpose of the demolition delay bylaw, according to member Paul Pryzbyla, is to allow the commission time to seek demolition alternatives. The six-month delay allows the commission to find parties interested in buying and moving historically significant buildings, or at the very least, it gives members time to document the characteristics of the historical structures.
The commission met with property owners, Richard and Martha Rettberg on Tuesday. They said they wish to demolish their current home on Clark Road. On their one-acre property, the Rettbergs plan to build a new, larger home more suitable to their needs.
The house on Clark Road was acquired in 1939 by his parents, Richard Rettberg said. His great-grandfather originally owned the house, which he said he grew up in.
The objective of the hearing was to determine whether the commission should vote in favor of a six-month demolition delay, Pryzbyla said.
As most of the farmland associated with the house has been sold, Richard Rettberg said, and he does not feel the home is located in an area of historic significance. Beside the house is a trailer park containing more than 50 mobile homes and across the street are about 20 newer homes.
A survey of the house done by Gretchen Schuler, in 1986, was read by commission member Donald Reed. Characteristics noted by Schuler regarding the home, estimated to have been built in 1830, were two dormers, a granite foundation and a center-piercing chimney.
In the report, Schuler said the historical significance was that the house was one of several remaining farmhouses in Shirley.
”(The house) is characteristic of modest farmsteads, which were part of Shirley’s agricultural development,” it reads.
In the 1890s, the property was owned by farmer George Holden, but it was lived in by one of his sons. The house was later owned by one of Holden’s granddaughters, according to the survey.
The Rettbergs allowed commission member Robert Adam to inspect the house prior to the meeting.
”The house has been, like many houses, remodeled,” Adam said. However, all of the underpinnings appear to be original.
Przybyla asked the Rettbergs if they would be willing to let someone move the farmhouse if an interested party came forward.
Richard Rettberg said he had tried to have someone take a barn from his property previously, but the party could not remove it for a year or more. After the removal of the house, the Rettbergs were hoping to begin building their new home before next winter, he said.
”By designating (the house) preferably preserved, all it’s going to do is give us time,” Przybyla said.
The commission voted unanimously to implement the six-month demolition delay, although a determination could be made sooner depending upon their findings as to whether the house can be saved.
Parties interested in obtaining the house and moving it from its original location can e-mail Richard Rettberg at Z01464@yahoo.com.