Paperwork provided by the Ale House development team had indicated that the property does not come under historic guidelines.
But a study by the state Historical Commission staff declared that the site is part of the historic texture, and should conform to state historical guidelines.
In the letter to Leone’s lawyer, Richard A. Nylen Jr. of the Boston law firm of Lynch, DeSimone and Nylen, LLP, Simon said, “Your correspondence erroneously stated that the subject property is not listed in the State Register and is not included as a contributing element to the Newburyport Historic District.”
But, “The property at 40 Merrimac St., historically known as the Richard W. Drown Building, is included in MHC’s Inventory of Historic Assets of the Commonwealth, and is listed in the State Registry of Historical Places and the National Registers of Historical Places as a contributing element within the Newburyport Historic District.”
Douglas Trees, an architect working for the Leone team, said he was surprised that MHC has entered the discussion in this way, as his information had been that the building was not in the local historical district. He said that city officials here were advocating in favor of the ale house.
Trees yesterday said that his team had expected to receive “a long-awaited Chapter 91 (filled tidelands) license, our final permit to start construction.”
The Hamilton architect indicated that his team had presented its plans before the Newburyport Historical Commission, and that those members had stated the building was not in the Newburyport Historic District.
Now, the letter from Simon suggested it was a “contributing element” in the local district — and thereby falling under state review. By law, if a historic structure within the district is altered and the work requires a state or federal permit, it triggers a review by the state historical commission.