, Newburyport, MA

July 15, 2013

Sale of Yellow School House OK'd

Building will be converted into single-family home


---- — NEWBURY — The Board of Selectmen OK’d a purchase and sale agreement, deed and — pending approval from the Historical Commission — a preservation restriction for the property at 11 Lunt St. known as the Yellow School House.

New owners Christopher and Denisse Horan are purchasing the Colonial Revival from the town for $125,000 for conversion into their family home with a detached 22-by-25-foot, two-car garage.

Their plan maintains the existing building’s roofline and utilizes the same color scheme and all existing cornice and porch details. In addition, the project adds four windows on the front facade at both ends to match existing window trim and installs black shutters to the front and side of the building.

Proposed landscaping focuses on the center entrance, creating a “courtyard effect” to the home, designed to “soften the parking area, highlight the architectural detail of the front facade, and [maintain] open space around the home to preserve the existing landscape,” according to the owners.

Constructed in 1901 for use as a four-room schoolhouse in a style characteristic of work at the time by the Boston architectural firm Cooper and Bailey, the property is a prominent landmark located at the southeastern section of Byfield Village. It is listed both in the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System database as well as the state’s Historical Commission Reconnaissance Survey Town Report for Newbury in 1985.

The perpetual preservation restriction, which will run with the land, stipulates in detail how “the building shall not be demolished and its external appearance shall not be significantly altered, although its interior may be changed to accommodate approved re-use.”

Also during last Tuesday’s board meeting, selectmen approved an application for a Class II license for Internet Cars Unlimited, 88 Newburyport Turnpike, an online used car business that will use the Newbury site to store vehicles before sale.

Town Administrator Tracy Blais announced Newbury was awarded a $10,000 grant from the town’s insurer to review the Finance Department’s internal controls regarding cash receivables and debt service.

She also reported that, to date, the town has raised $527,000 through the sale of surplus municipal property, with a total of $1.3 million anticipated once transactions on the remaining three parcels are completed.

Selectmen approved all police department appointments as recommended by police Chief Michael Reilly but put on hold a request from the Capital Planning Committee seeking designation for its members as “special municipal employees” pending input from Town Counsel Ginny Kremer.

In response to a question from the press, Chairman Joe Story reported that an issue that necessitated a closed-door session last month remained unresolved. Story said the board would probably need one more executive session, but noted that what is being discussed involves a problem that is common to coastal communities.

The board went into secret session at the end of their open meeting on June 11 with Kremer, Reilly and clam warden Charlie Colby, citing a need to discuss strategy with respect to litigation and “complaints brought against a public officer, employee, staff member or individual.”