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Demolishing Historic Homes

Next week's (12/6) ZBA meeting will decide the fate of the historic Knox House, 1657 Longmeadow Street. If the developer's request is approved by the ZBA the Knox House will be the first historic home in Longmeadow to be demolished. This will set a precedent and sends a message to future home buyers. That message being that Longmeadow does not value their history or historic homes; that Longmeadow will cave under litigious pressure. With that message given, Longmeadow will soon become like many other New England towns- a town which looks like any other, without the unique character and charm of its old, historic homes.

Once the property is demolished the developers hope to subdivide that non conforming lot and build a second home on the back section. "We had bought the property in hopes of a cheap way to build a new house on the back parcel" (Longmeadow News 9/7/06).

We do not want the Kane's or their building projects in our neighborhood. Soon after purchasing the house they cut down over 120 trees on property which did not belong to them (the "paper" street, Knox Street), put up a fence and numerous no trespassing signs. The only time they approached neighbors was when they knocked on the abutter's doors asking to purchase 8 feet of land to have enough square footage for subdividing the lot. They then stated they would deed the land back once they got their project through.

The current plan is to demolish 1657 Longmeadow Street which has only 73' of frontage and build a large (40' wide) house. Do we want an over-sized house to be built on this very small, non-conforming lot? Will this then open the door to future homeowners to demolish and rebuild similarly-sized structures? Do we want Longmeadow Street to look like Maple Road- large houses sandwiched closely together?

We hope the ZBA does not approve plans to demolish 1657 Longmeadow Street. Instead, the Kane's should be granted approval to add on in the back as the other historic homes have done in the past. If future home buyers realize that there is a lot of pressure to maintain the original character and integrity of the antique homes they will think twice before purchasing one. There are plenty of other houses that are not antiques which a builder could purchase, demolish and rebuild. Maintain the beauty and charm of Longmeadow by saying no to the demolition of this historic house.

Tom and Jeanne Lachiusa