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Demolition of Historic Home OK'd

When Richard Berman bought 48 Compo Mill Cove, he saw potential in the house. Now he can’t wait to tear it down. Last night, the Historic District Commission decided not to stand in his way.

The home, built in 1918, is past the 50-year mark that automatically places it on a list of homes that might have historic significance.  Demolition of a building on the registry requires a six-month waiting period, which the commission waived.

Berman had planned on a restoration. One of his contractors told him the structure was too far gone to save. He remained optimistic for a while, but the rot in the roof and support beams pushed rehabilitation off the table.

Safety matters, too. Children play inside the abandoned building. “At this point in time I’m a little worried. We have had to board the house up seven times, and we have had seven break-ins,” said Berman.

The house could even collapse. Berman tried to shore up the walls, in an early attempt at restoration, but a heavy storm could still bring them down. Or the chimney might fall, hitting a neighbor's house.

Berman said that he has had plans to build a new home on the lot for about a year, but the economy held him back. Now, some of his business interests are rebounding and he thinks he can start construction this summer. “What I would like to do is demolish the current house and build a modest one that would be harmonious with the property,” he said.

HDC member Francis Henkels said he regretted that the only option was to tear the dilapidated building down. He had visited the home several years ago before Berman purchased it. "I can see now that it is so far gone I don’t know what there is to save," he said. "It was a very funky house inside, but it did need a lot of work. It’s just a shame to see it go.”

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