WINDHAM — A development company with offices in North Andover plans to demolish an old Windham farmhouse that is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
The town Heritage Commission has scheduled a hearing for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Town Hall to hear from the developer about what it would do with the Fellows House, located in the village center near the intersection of North Lowell Road.
"This is one of two anchor houses for the village," commission chairman Carol Pynn said. "It's a beautiful, beautiful house."
The farmhouse property is believed to have taken shape in the 1700s and 1800s. The barn was built about 1863, but some beams appear to date to the 1750s. There are wide pine boards, Greek Revival characteristics, a beehive oven in the fireplace, and a pegged floor in the barn.
Mesiti Development Corp. of North Andover, doing business in Windham through its Mesiti Indian Rock Road LLC, has presented no plans for the property, 21 Indian Rock Road-Route 111, to the town, Community Development Director Laura Scott said.
Mesiti only has applied for a demolition permit, Scott said.
Town ordinances provide for a 30-day demolition delay that gives the Heritage Commission the opportunity to weigh in on the proposal, but not block demolition.
The hearing is intended to let the commission discuss with the developer options other than demolition, or ways to preserve a structure or its architectural features.
If the developer doesn't want to retain any particular feature, the commission can encourage the developer to consider donating items or offering them for sale.
The Heritage Commission has scheduled the hearing "so people can understand what's going on with it," Pynn said.
Mesiti did not respond last week to requests for comment. The company's website said Mesiti is involved with both commercial and residential projects.
The residential projects range from retirement communities to luxury homes. Commercial projects include malls and Weathervane restaurants.
"Unique to Mesiti Development Corporation is its uncanny ability to choose projects that cater to both present and future generations," the website said. "Can we predict the future? Most likely not. But we can build toward a better one."
The company's mission statement says it "aims to create a positive environment for the inhabitants of its communities."
Fellows House is named for the last family known to occupy the property.
A report on the property prepared for the Heritage Commission in 2007 by New Hampshire-based Bedard Restoration concluded the house could be used for "light public volume," such as offices, and the least expensive form of preservation would be a re-use right on the site.
Moving the building could result in the loss of many beams that are part of the history of the house, the report said.
The house is eligible for inclusion in the National Register as "a well-preserved farm complex," according to the study.
Pynn said residents who can't attend the hearing tomorrow, but have information or thoughts to share, can hand deliver letters by 4 p.m. tomorrow to the Heritage Commission, in care of Town Hall at 3 North Lowell Road and request they be placed in the historic mailbox.
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