Kennett Township board votes to have historic house demolished08/24/2021 04:02PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
By a unanimous vote at their Aug. 18 meeting, the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead for the demolition of a home located at 101 Cold Springs Drive in the township that was built in 1897, sits on 2.2 acres and has been vacant for at least two decades.
The property was recently purchased by Ridge Larick and his fiancée Samantha Globerman. In his letter to the township requesting to obtain a demolition permit, Larick cited several reasons to remove the existing house that included:
· The existing home is a safety concern and an eyesore to the community
· It has been abandoned for the last 25 years
· Rehabilitation of the existing house would not be financially feasible
· The existing house is structurally unsound, and
· The house has extensive water damage as well as black mold
Larick wrote that his plan for the property will be to build a 3,200 square-foot “modest, farmhouse-style home for my family to grow into,” and to clean up the overgrown yard by removing the invasive undergrowth, fallen trees and junk/trash that is spread throughout the property.
Larick told the supervisors that he has contracted with Fairview Demolition in Oxford, who Larick said will salvage any historically significant materials and repurpose any usable items. In the meantime, the owners plan to keep the existing spring house and stone barn ruin located on the site.
Larick said that the estimated cost of demolition will be $14,000.
The board’s decision came after a June 28 recommendation by the township’s Historical Commission to allow the demolition, which was followed by a July 26 site visit by members of the township’s Planning Commission, who inspected the home with the township’s historical consultant Robert Wise. On Aug. 11, the Planning Commission recommended the demolition.
The report stated that while it may still be salvageable, the price of saving it would be very costly. In a July 30 letter to township Director of Planning and Zoning Diane Hicks, Wise shared his findings from his inspection of the house that stated that while the house may still be salvageable, the cost of saving it would be huge. Wise wrote that there was clear evidence of water damage, several cracks in plaster walls, loosened bricks on the house’s outer walls, heavily rotted wood and weather damage to the house’s roof.
“Due to the water ingress in its brick walls, cornice and certain window areas,” Wise’s report stated, “the house would presumably require extensive exterior repairs before it could be occupied. The removal of much or all of the outer brick wall on the south and west facades, and perhaps all facades, could be necessary. This removal could reveal
additional damage to the wall system. The gutter and adjacent woodwork would also need replacement and/or major repairs.
“Damaged areas in the interior, of course, would also require repairs. Given general condition of the house and necessary repairs, extensive restoration or rehabilitation program would no doubt be required.”
Despite being identified as a Class 2B historical structure, a survey compiled by the township’s Historical Commission in 2011 found that the house does not meet the standards for architectural significance to place it on the National Register of Historic Places.
After the board reached their decision, supervisor Scudder Stevens lamented the soon-to-be loss of a historic structure in the township.
“It is with sadness that a building of character and historic note in the township is not going to survive,” he told Larick. “It is a loss for all of us, but hopefully you’ll be able to turn that loss into something that is good for you and the community.”
In other township news, township manager Eden Ratliff discussed the Chester County Health Department’s (CCHD) partnership with state’s Department of Environmental Protection in conducting mosquito surveillance throughout Chester County during the summer of 2021. Update summaries are planned to be provided on a routine basis for the remainder of the surveillance season.
For more information, county residents can visit CCHD’s Mosquito Borne Disease website at www.chesco.org/3624/Mosquito-Borne-Diseases, or call CCHD’s Mosquito Borne Disease Control Program at 610-344-6225.
Ratliff also said that in light of the increasing high transmission of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, those who visit the Township Building should wear a mask, including those who participate in public meetings.
Public Works Director Roger Lysle is asking township residents to review the signs near the township’s recycling center that indicate what items are permitted to be recycled. To contact
Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].