With all the news of late around proposed 40B developments in the works in Wellesley, we’ve sort of neglected the teardown trend in town, which is still going strong. Readers have shared fresh pictures of new teardowns over the past week or so, and we’ve stumbled across a few new construction sites or soon-to-be-construction sites ourselves.
Reader Larry Cervon shared the photos above and below from Crestwood Drive in the Wellesley Farms area. Another house two doors down, bought by the same builder, is about to come down, too. “It takes 6-9 months to put one up and 20 minutes to take it down!” Cervon comments.
Meanwhile, neighbors in the Fells Area were glad to see the home at 43 Cleveland Road, which had been ravaged 5 years ago in a fire, finally torn down. It appears to have changed hands at least a couple of times in recent years. What will rise in its place? A developer is thinking a $2M home (tip of the hat to RJ for the heads up on this teardown).
Meanwhile, this 1930 Dutch Colonial house at 80 Walnut St., has been surrounded by a chain link fence and won’t escape the bulldozer.
All this ripping and tearing did get me wondering whether the new historic preservation demolition review bylaw that went into effect over the summer has had any affect on the teardown pace in town.
Wellesley Planning Director Michael Zehner says it’s tough to judge without having data handy from the comparable period in past years, but he did say that since the bylaw went into effect in mid-August that there have been 37 Eligibility Notice applications filed seeking determination as to whether the homes were old enough (pre-1950) to require further review prior to issuance of a demolition permit. Of these, 4 are pending review, 11 were determined not to be eligible because they were constructed after Dec. 31, 1949, and 22 were determined to be eligible. Of those 22, 3 have reviews pending, 12 were deemed not “preferably preserved” and 7 were deemed preferably preserved (that means a 12-month delay until a demo permit can be issued). The owners of 5 of the 7 delayed have applied for waivers to reduce the wait period.
That Walnut Street house shown above was one of those reviewed by the Historical Commission and determined not to be deemed preferably preserved. The same was true of the Crestwood Drive homes, which were built in the 1950s. You can follow along with applications at this Historical Commission page.
Zehner’ s pro tip for those looking to confirm the age of their house is to refer to the pre-2009 Building Permit records available through a database on the PC at the front counter in the Building Department at Wellesley Town Hall. You can also consult deed records at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds to confirm that property ownership matches references on any permits.