Demolition Of Historic Snow Inn Proposed

By: William F. Galvin

The owners of the Snow Inn are going before the historic district & historical commission for permission to demolish the inn. WILLIAM F. GALVIN PHOTO

HARWICH – Wychmere Harbor Real Estate, LLC is requesting permission from with the historic district and historical commission (HDHC) to demolish the Snow Inn, located on the Wychmere Beach Resort property along the edge of Wychmere Harbor.

Originally constructed in 1855, the inn serves as a hotel, offices, and contains the wastewater treatment plant serving the 12-acre Wychmere Harbor property. According to the narrative filed with the notice of intent, the owners plan to construct a new boutique hotel and office facilities in place of the inn.

This is the second time the HDHC will have acted on plans to demolish the inn. In 2013 the commission approved a partial demolition of the northwest corner of the inn, and initially invoked the town's demolition delay bylaw. After architectural adjustments were made to the proposal, adding towers and restoring the turn-of-the-century hotel look, HDHC lifted the demolition delay and approved the project.

The plan a decade ago also called for the development of a 12-unit condominium to be built just south of the inn. Special permits for the renovation and expansion projects were issued by both the planning and appeals boards, and the conservation commission approved the project, but neither was implemented.

Attorney Andrew Singer, representing Wychmere Harbor Real Estate, said Monday that the permits for the condominium units have lapsed and the owners are just seeking permission for the new hotel.

The proposal filed with the HDHC by Singer seeks approval for a full demolition of the inn. The inn is included in the Harwich Historic Structure Inventory, according to which the inn was originally constructed in 1855. It has been greatly expanded and renovated since.
During the review process with the historical commission in 2013, the commission determined that while the interior and much of the exterior of the structure has been almost completely modernized over the years, portions of the north face of the structure were historically significant. The current application calls for demolition of the entire structure.

As previously, the owner has tried to maintain northern massing in the replacement building that is reflective of the corner tower elements and other traditional aspects of the original building, according to the filing.

The new hotel will remain a three-story building, plus a rear lower level walkout with exterior shingles, running trim and architectural asphalt shingles. The foundation will be clad in stone to match existing walls on site, according to the narrative.

"Given the substantial and significant changes to the building over time and the proposal to replace it with a building consistent with the prior architectural style, the applicant respectfully requests that the commission not again impose demolition delay in this instance," the filing reads.

Singer said there will be no change in the capacity of the property's wastewater treatment plant. Portions will be moved on the property to a location not yet determined. The adjustments will have to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection, he added.
Conservation Administrator Amy Usowski said this week that she has not yet seen the final designs so she cannot comment on whether the project will require conservation commission review. Singer said the project will require planning board, appeals board and conservation commissions approvals.

"It's a good redevelopment plan for bringing the property forward," Singer said.

The HDHC hearing on the Snow Inn demolition project is scheduled for June 21 at 6 p.m. at town hall.