By Julie McCay Turner
There is no longer a need for a demolition delay to save the Richard Wheeler house, one of Bedford’s oldest structures, built more than 300 years ago.
Upon learning that the demolition application was withdrawn by owner David Rossi, Bedford’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) tonight closed the hearing that began in May.
During the August session of the hearing, HPC member Don Corey explained the town’s obligation to save old houses, especially structures from the 17th Century.The Wheeler house and the Michael Bacon house on Old Billerica Road are thought to be Bedford’s oldest structures, both dating from the 1600s.
During an Historic New England workshop he attended this summer, Corey learned about a pair of options to promote preservation for structures in need of protection. A permanent preservation easement/restriction can help, and some towns have created legal historic districts that are specific to a single property.
Corey then spoke with an appraiser experienced in helping towns and owners to determine the actual value of a preservation easement for a particular property. John Bowman has appraised structures throughout the Boston area, both for towns as well as the Internal Revenue Service. He was willing to speak with Rossi, who also sought input from Kevin Latady, a local architect with extensive experience restoring antique homes.
“We exchanged a lot of ideas,” Rossi said during tonight’s meeting, and those conversations convinced him of the value in preserving the historic structure. Before he departed, Rossi thanked the commission for their interest in the Wheeler house and their help.