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Commission votes for barn restoration regardless of location

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SHIRLEY — The Historic Commission voted in favor of preferably preserving the Hazen-Davis Barn located on the parcel off Lancaster Road. The land the barn sits on is owned by Goodman Family Investments-Shirley, LLC (GFI-Shirley).

The vote stipulates a six-month disposition delay on demolishing the barn at the Orchard Estates project under a new bylaw set forth by the town.

By delaying the demolition of the barn, the Historic Commission will have the six-month window to investigate options for the disposition of the barn before a demolition permit can be issued by the building inspector.

A disposition could be reached before the six-month period expires, committee Chairman Paul Przybyla said.

At Tuesday’s public hearing held by the commission, Orchard Estates Project Manager Joseph Cataldo said GFI-Shirley, LLC, submitted a demolition application to the town’s building inspector on March 6.

A letter explaining the intent of GFI-Shirley, LLC, with regard to the disposition of the barn was included with the application, Cataldo said.

In the letter, GFI-Shirley, LLC, said the intent is to take apart and tag the barn, removing it in it’s entirety from the site, he said.

The plans for the Orchard Estates parcel designate the land the barn sits on as open space, Cataldo said, and using the barn would not be permitted under the current zoning if it were to remain on the site.

Thomas Brownell, the president of Circle B, could not be present. However, his son, Jacob Brownell, attended the meeting to answer questions about the company’s intentions for the barn.

Brownell tried to secure a parcel in Shirley for the barn, but was unable to obtain the land at the time.

GFI-Shirley has explored several options to preserve the barn, Cataldo said, explaining that the owner of the parcel wants to see the barn restored.

Of the few community participants at the meeting, most were glad the building was going to be preserved regardless of whether it remains in Shirley or is moved to another site.

Also present to express interest in the historic barn was Shirley resident John Millard.

There are several possible uses for the barn that Millard may be interested in pursuing if he were to secure the building through an agreement with GFI-Shirley, LLC.

”In the context of the town, the barn should stay where it is,” Millard said.

”(Brownell) did a lot of great work on it,” he said.

If the barn were to be dismantled, Millard said, “Brownell would be the guy to do it.”

However, Millard said he would like to meet with representatives of GFI-Shirley, LLC, to talk about using the barn in its current location.

If the barn is moved out of town, Millard said, “Shirley will lose what I think is a valuable asset.”

Using the building if it is left on the open space parcel would require spot zoning, Millard said, and he is willing to try to work with the town and GFI-Shirley, LLC if he were to secure the barn.

The zoning is the biggest issue with the barn’s location, according to Cataldo.

”No matter what you would like to do right now there isn’t anything for its use under the current zoning that exists,” he said.

The cost to disassemble and rebuild the barn is estimated at over $300,000, said Cataldo.

”I don’t think that’s part of Mr. Goodman’s overall plan,” he said.

Preferably, Brownell would like to dismantle the barn in good weather months, and GFI-Shirley, LLC, anticipates that people will be living in Phase I of the development before Labor Day, Cataldo said.

”The sooner we come to a conclusion, the better it would be from a safety standpoint,” Cataldo said.

There is no contract executed with Circle B to take ownership of the barn, Cataldo said, but a written agreement has been drawn.

As a result of Tuesday’s vote, the Historic Commission will have up to six months to look at options for the historic barn, Przybyla said.

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