, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 1, 2012

Demolition of Newbury historic home put on hold

Plans being explored to save historic Little's Lane house

NEWBURY — A controversial plan to demolish a historic home has been shelved, at least for now.

Property owners Brian and Tara Patrican have withdrawn their application to the town's Planning Board that, if approved, would have allowed them to redraw the property lines for their properties at 1 Little's Lane and 53 High Road. The plan called for demolishing the Tappan House, a circa-1800 large Federal-style home built by Revolutionary War privateer Offin Boardman for his son-in-law Amos Tappan, and redrawing the lot line through the center of the house site. The lot line change would have expanded the Patricans' backyard.

The Patricans now have a variety of options at their fingertips, provided by a group of local designers and architects who volunteered their time to draw up ways to save the house.

Town Planner Martha Taylor said yesterday that the application was withdrawn as the Patricans were "exploring other options" and that the issue was "off the table" for the time being. The request was set to be heard at tonight's meeting of the Planning Board.

When reached for comment, Brian Patrican said he was not ready to make a statement until he had "something accurate and concrete to say," noting that the issues surrounding the Little's Lane property were changing day to day.

This withdrawal is the latest of happenings with the Little's Lane property that the Patricans bought in October 2011 for $1.6 million and includes the Tappan House and a 4,276-square-foot barn. The 5.16 acre property abuts conservation land, the Patricans' home at 53 High Road, and the entrance to the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.

The Patricans secured a demolition and removal permit for the house and a carriage shed in November. However, the plans were not publicly known until mid-January, shortly before the demolition was slated to begin. It spurred an outcry of criticism from residents and preservationists. The carriage shed was demolished, but the house still stands, as does a large barn that was not slated for demolition.

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