Demolition Of Iconic Shore Road Home To Go Before Commission

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Development , Historic preservation

The house at 233 Seaview St. which faces Shore Road. On Tuesday the historical commission imposed an 18-month demolition delay on the structure, although its current owners say they do not intend to fully demolish the 91-year-old house. FILE PHOTO

CHATHAM – A demolition delay application has been filed for the stately, iconic home at the corner of Shore Road and Seaview Street that once belonged the late noted geographer Harm de Blij.

Owners Ronald and Ann Cami of San Francisco, who bought the 233 Seaview St. property in 2012 for $3.6 million, will go before the historical commission on Tuesday, May 1.

According to application filed by Harwich attorney Michael Ford, the homeowners are in the process of planning the redevelopment of the 1.5 acre site and “alternatives to a full demolition are being discussed with the applicant's architect.”

Polhemus Savory DaSilva Architects Builders are the architects on the project. Founding Partner Peter Polhemus said the plan will not include full demolition of the house. Historical Commission Chairman Frank Messina said he understood the owners have no firm plans yet and the request is being made to “start the clock ticking” on the demolition delay.

According to the Massachusetts Historical Commission inventory form on the property, the Colonial Revival house was built in 1927 by S. Herbert Jenks, who bought the property from Chatham Bars Inn, which the property abuts. The town's assessing records, however, give the date of construction as 1900.

The historical inventory form states that the house represents “an excellent, intact example of a high-style, Colonial Revival summer cottage, an early 20th century style that was employed throughout Chatham as the town emerged as a summer destination.” Although measuring 3,662 square feet with seven bedrooms, the house sits back from Shore Road on a 1.5 acre lot which helps minimize its mass, the form states. It sits on a slight rise that provides a sweeping view of Chatham Harbor.

Under the demolition delay bylaw, if the commission finds the house historically significant, it can hold up full or even partial demolition for up to 18 months to try to find a way to preserve the building, either by moving it to another location or working with the owner and their architect to save the historical portions.

The May 1 hearing begins at 9 a.m. at the annex on George Ryder Road.