Despite talk in the neighborhood today that the 1840 home at 76 Fair St. is still being considered for demolition, the owner’s architect, Theresa Drerup, said this afternoon the razing is off the table.
A renovation plan, however, will likely be offered when the village’s Historic Preservation & Architectural Review (HPARB) meets at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, said Drerup, who operates Altonview Architects with her husband, Kurt Ofer.
A look at the HPARB file in Village Hall shows the project had come in for some criticism even before the possible razing was reported Monday on www.allotsego.com. The file also contains drawings of a proposed replacement home that echoed early Cooperstown home designs.
Susan D. Snell, another Cooperstown-based architect (and chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals), and Ellen Pope, Otsego 2000 executive director, had written letters opposing plans by 76 Fair’s new owners, Jennifer and Scott Schwartz.
While not opposing the design of the proposed replacement home, Snell said “this home is one of the oldest in the village” and HPARB should reject its razing. “I ask you to deny … demolition because it is in conflice with one of the underlying tenets of the zoning law – the preservation of our Historic Architectural Control Overlay District.”
Writes Pope, “Demolition in this case would mean an irretrievable loss in the historic district of one of the oldest buildings on Fair Street.”
In her case for demolition, Drerup details the renovation challenges presented by the existing home. Fore instance, “We would need to rebuild every exterior wall” to meet the requirements of the energy code. Part of the structure is built on the ground, requiring a crawl space to be dug out underneath.
Drerup said the Schwartzes have been travelling abroad and she’s been unable to reach them, but will present an option for renovation when the HPARB meets next Thursday.
Tuesday, acting HPARB chair Roger MacMillan – Drerup, who is also HPARB chair, recused herself in this case – said the architect called him Tuesday afternoon and advised him the demolition application would not move forward. “There was an awful lot of public sentiment about tearing down this house, and it would have never flown,” MacMillan said.