Friday, September 25, 2015

Another 1 Gone: Carriage House Demolition

Circa 1860 Carriage House, 1081 South East Street

After more than an hour of discussion punctuated by a few pregnant pauses and four votes taken, the Amherst Historical Commission, finally, decided unanimously NOT call a Demolition Delay Hearing which would have resulted in one-year protection for a historic circa 1860 South Amherst carriage house.

Architect John Kuhn was forthright with his presentation saying, "Let me be clear:  We don't want to have a hearing.  The building is not worth putting money into."

Kuhn presented the replacement building (already approved by the ZBA) which will serve as a garage and office to the current owners, but is designed to allow for a better view to the rear of the main house onto land recently purchased by the owners.

After filing a demolition permit the Historical Commission has 35 days to call a Demo Delay Hearing, which requires time to post legal notices.   So the 9/21 meeting was pretty much the last chance to call that Hearing.

The Commission's concerns were of the standard "vanishing landscape" variety.  This carriage house was a "contributing structure" to the South Amherst Common Historic District, and the only one left of its kind in that District.

Commission members were also unhappy with the new design not matching the original structure it would be replacing.

Kuhn responded somewhat indignantly: "I didn't think this was a design critique kind of meeting.  The building is set back from the house so it does not dwarf it.  My clients have already spent a lot of money on design so we are not here to look at alternative designs."

Kuhn also pointed out the Zoning Board of Appeals had already approved the new design.

The first vote on the motion NOT to call a Demolition Delay Hearing was met with total silence.  On the second attempt two voted yes to not calling a Hearing and two hesitated.  Again.

The Chair then offered to write a letter to the owners expressing their concerns and requesting their presence at a Commission meeting.  The motion to table a decision until next meeting passed 3-0 with one abstention.

But then Senior Planner Nate Malloy pointed out the next meeting would be too late to hold an official demolition hearing (as the deadline will have passed) so they took yet another vote on simply writing a letter of concern but NOT holding a demolition delay hearing.

That passed 3-0 with one abstention.  Kuhn promised to take the official letter "seriously."

Carriage House at 1081 South East Street is currently used as garage and office


Anonymous said...

Historical significance aside, I think your drone photos peering into people's private property is very intrusive and borderline illegal. If I were the owners of this property, I would feel like my privacy rights were being violated and would absolutely talk to the town about your use of this technology.

Not only do you slag these people on your blog, you expose them to all sorts of public opinion. This is a small town and folks like you really just can't keep their noses out of anything. With your drone, you're really doing yourself a disservice to the townspeople.

Larry Kelley said...

Since I knew you would complain I made sure to take the drone photo from the EXACT same public spot I was standing on when I took the traditional photo (that I used to headline the story).

Anonymous said...

What does it matter where you were standing? An aerial photo is completely different than one taken from ground level. What a bogus retort.

You've taken a lot of great photos w/ the drone; I've appreciated seeing Kendrick's construction and some public events, but these shots of people's homes are super creepy. Some day someone's going to challenge you on it and you'll lose your right to do any drone photography at all.

Larry Kelley said...

The FAA has already clearly stated that a homeowner does not own the airspace over their home. Otherwise the C5As would be in trouble.

If you compare the two photos you can clearly see the drone photo also captures the land behind the carriage house, which is important to the story (because the homeowner wants a better view).

And since the photo was taken from an altitude of 276 feet, no "private" details are revealed.

Jon Lewis said...

I'll make sure to look away from this property next time I'm flying my Cessna in the area. I didn't know that particular vantage was hallowed.

Please provide me with a list of the particular angles I am allowed to look at this house so I don't offend your sensibilities