, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 18, 2012

Facing demolition

Plans to tear down historic Federalist home raises concerns

NEWBURY — By right, Brian and Tara Patrican can do what they want with the $1.6 million, 12-room Federalist home at 1 Little's Lane that they bought in October.

But their decision to demolish the 19th century home and adjacent carriage barn abutting their residence at 53 High Road has ignited a wave of protest from local historians and residents.

The carriage barn was torn down yesterday, Newbury Town Planner Martha Taylor said. Repeated calls to Brian Patrican to confirm the remainder of the demolition schedule were not returned.

Patrican secured a demolition and removal permit for the property in November, a move that Taylor said has resulted in a lot of inquiries from concerned citizens.

But Taylor said the town has no jurisdiction over the demolition, since there is no defined historic district in town.

"We also have no demolition delay bylaw in town, which would allow for the project to be temporarily halted to provide an opportunity for people to explore options other than demolition, such as moving the house," she said.

Town officials may gain some answers about the Patricans' plans tonight when the couple is expected to come before the Planning Board with a request to change the lot lines between their High Road house and the Little's Lane property. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

According to town assessor records and information available on the website, the 6,500-square-foot home at 1 Little's Lane was built around 1800 and is said to have been recently remodeled. It features six bedrooms, five baths and nine fireplaces, with bucolic views from every angle, including a distant glimpse of the ocean. It sits on a 5.16-acre lot, which abuts conservation land.

The 4,276-square-foot barn on the property, which was most recently used as an office/workshop and was listed in sales material to be in "great shape," was demolished yesterday.

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