WINCHESTER — A judge has denied a request to stop the demolition of a 200-year-old building in the town’s historic district.
The plaintiffs, composed of five residents and local grocery store Kulick’s Inc., filed for an injunction in December.
In October, the town’s zoning board agreed to allow the demolition to make way for a new Dollar General store. The plaintiffs first appealed to the zoning board to rehear the issue, but it denied the request.
They then filed action in Cheshire County Superior Court, requesting the court invalidate the decision and send it back to the board for further review.
In court documents, the plaintiffs argued the board held illegal, secret meetings to make its decision and did not properly consider the effect of the building’s removal.
They also argued replacing the house with a Dollar General would “undermine the historical, cultural and architectural value of the Historic District.”
The building at 71 Main St., called the Wheaton-Alexander House, was built about 1810 and was home to prominent doctors in the community.
Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire ruled April 25 there was no evidence of secret meetings, an argument that the application had regional impact wasn’t valid and the plaintiffs had no direct stake in the fate of the private building and were not eligible to receive a judgment. McGuire also wrote in her decision that the case only involved the building’s demolition, not any plans for the Dollar General.
A Cleveland development company, the Zaremba Group, had applied to demolish the house at 71 Main St. and replace it with a Dollar General store. The Historic District Commission denied the application in July. Since the house is part of the town’s historic district, Zaremba needed the commission’s approval to remove it. Zaremba appealed to the zoning board, which approved the house’s demolition. However, it left the decision on the future building’s design in the hands of the Historic District Commission.
A date for that decision has not yet been set.
The plaintiffs have made a motion to reconsider, and the judge’s ruling on that is expected soon.
Garrett Brnger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1436, or firstname.lastname@example.org.