Historic Comm Greenlights Grove St Demolition


The Historical Commission held a hearing Wednesday night at the museum to consider a demolition request for an 1850s-era house that, due to its age, falls under the down’s demolition-delay bylaw. Under the law, older structures or those deemed to be of  historical importance cannot be demolished without review by the Commission.

In this case, the structure was at 121 Grove Street, sitting on a 26-acre parcel.

The Commissioners heard from John Shipe, an engineer representing Fairfield Residential, the same company that developed the large 119 Dean apartment complex a few years ago.

According to the company’s website, the San Diego-based organization is a “leading owner, developer, and operator of apartment communities throughout the U.S.,” managing in excess of 40,000 units ranging from luxury to affordable. The company is majority-owned by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

Shipe is Principal at Shipe Consulting, which works with Fairfield on many projects, noted that the planned development will likely consist of multiple buildings so as to better fit the land, which includes ledge and some wetlands. Those factors made it less suitable for the kind of large commercial-industrial buildings that dominate Grove Street. At present, the land is ‘under agreement’ pending various approvals. The project may also include an affordable component.

Shipe said he had discussed the project with Town Manager Jamie Hellen and with the town’s Technical Review Committee, which consists of The Technical Review Committee meets weekly on Wednesdays at 3 PM. Members include, Building Commissioner, Town Planner, Director, Department of Planning and Community Development, Town Engineer, Board of Health Director, Conservation Agent, Fire Chief, Town Administrator and Town Attorney.

According to the town website, these inter-departmental meetings serve as a way for relevant Town Departments to meet with developers to work out technical issues, and provide advice and assistance to help developers through the permitting process in preparation for Board meetings.

After hearing Shipe’s presentation, the Commissioners had few questions. After brief deliberation, the Commissioners present voted unanimously to allow the demolition.

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