The board has been asked to reconsider a decision by the town’s Historic District Commission, which in July denied an application by a developer hoping to replace the 200-year-old house at 71 Main St. in the historic district with a Dollar General store.
The public hearing has been closed, and only zoning board members will be able to speak at Thursday’s meeting.
“Everything’s been pretty much said and done and it’s up to the board members to decide how they want to go from here,” Fox said.
Previous owners of the house have changed its exterior in a number of ways, eroding the building’s historic value, Zaremba Group of Cleveland argued in its appeal. The company further argued that the board’s ruling violated the property owners’ right to develop the property, which is in both the historic district and the business district.
Historic preservation activists in other parts of the state are following the case with interest, according to Linda Wilson of South Danbury, who retired from the N.H. Department of Historic Resources in June.
Officials within the state historic resources division as well as preservationists with the N.H. Preservation Alliance are “very concerned with the issues that come up with respect to zoning board review of historic district commission decisions,” she said.
Members of Historic Commissions are required by state statute to have expertise or experience in historic preservation, she said, that zoning board members are not required to share.
Wilson also argued against the idea that historic preservation is incompatible with economic development, and offered downtown Keene as an example of historic preservation money — put to use in the Chamberlain Block and Colony Block — working in conjunction with private investment to create a unique and vibrant commercial area around Central Square and Main Street.
The zoning board will meet on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Winchester Town Hall.