Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Home in Winchester historic district approved for demolition

This is what happens when you put the fox in charge of the hen house and just about everything else in town .. Shame on Gus Ruth and Dennis Murphy and the rest of the so-called Historical District Committee .. If this house was so bad when she bought it, why wasn't she made to improve it like every other person in town has to, to keep up their properties ? .. oh that's right, she was handed Leroy's duties by the BOS and became the code enforcer with no training and  then rented out the place. If was so bad and falling apart how did she get away with that and how come 4 years ago when it was looked at inside there were no signs of what she claims now?
Now she's joined by her husband on the town's payroll, someone who's going to tell you if your property is up to codes and if you can rent it out...  This woman is a blight on the community and I hope several of you challenge this decision and force her to do what anyone else would be forced to do .. bite the bullet and fix it or sell it, not raze it. Why should she be allowed to do what others can't in this town?

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff

WINCHESTER — The historic Main Street house at the center of a demolition controversy four years ago is on track to finally come down. The Historic District Commission voted 4-1 Monday night to approve the demolition of the roughly 200-year-old structure at 71 Main St., which is owned by Margaret A. Sharra and her brothers, James S. and Michael P. Shannon.
Commission member Julia Ferrari was the dissenting vote.
Anyone affected by the ruling has 30 days to appeal the decision, which came after a roughly hour-long public hearing, to the Winchester Zoning Board of Adjustment, according to state law. If the decision’s not appealed, the siblings can move forward with razing the house.
The vote count Monday was identical to when the commission decided in 2011 not to allow the developer of a Dollar General, whose officials wanted to build a store on the site, to raze the house.
At the time, Sharra and her brothers, who bought the 4.5-acre property in 2008 with the intention of turning it into a bed and breakfast, had planned to sell it to the Cleveland-based developer. The sale never happened, and the property has remained on the market since.
Sharra, who is the town’s land use administrator and zoning code enforcement officer, told historical district commission members Monday the house is plagued with problems that make it unsafe and beyond repair.
The building’s four exterior walls and roof appear sound, but inside at least six of the 10 support beams holding up the house are either rotted out or cut, she said, and the floors are caving in.
Those conditions existed before Sharra and her brothers bought the house, and have likely gotten worse, she said. Besides the roof, the items holding up the house include concrete- and wood blocks, stones and even a car jack, she said.
Further, she added, three contractors who looked at the house said they’re concerned it could implode with or without renovations.
She presented these contractors’ reports to the commission.
It would cost more than $600,000 to repair the house, according to Sharra.
“There is no reasonable cost. And even at any cost, there is no guarantee the house can be salvaged,” she said. “I think it is in good faith that the historical commission approve the demolition.”
She said if someone wanted to repair and renovate the house, they’d have to be a “filthy-rich millionaire who’d want to do it as a labor of love.”
According to Winchester’s Historic District ordinance, most construction, repair, alteration, moving or demolition of structures in the town’s two historic districts can’t be done without approval from the commission.
Commission members asked few questions of Sharra Monday, with the exception of Ferrari who inquired about specifics such as how long the property had been for sale, where it had been advertised, the asking prices, how the asking prices were set and by whom, the level of interest in the property and if it is a tax burden.
Ferrari also referenced a report from 2011 to support her position that the federal-style home is historic and should be saved.
The report, by historical preservationist Lynne Emerson Monroe, says the house isn’t a candidate for official designation on the National Register of Historic Places, but it makes a “substantial contribution” to the Winchester Historic District.
However, when Ferrari tried to bring up the report to other commission members, Chairman Denis V. Murphy 2nd said it couldn’t be discussed because it wasn’t submitted as evidence during the hearing.
The two-story house was built in 1810, and has had additions put on it through the years. There is very little historical significance left inside the structure, Sharra said.
Earlier in the meeting, Sharra asked Ferrari to voluntarily recuse herself from the discussion and vote because of the actions she said Ferrari took in 2011 to prevent the house from being demolished. They included working with others to get it on N.H. Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save list, Sharra said.
Ferrari refused to recuse herself and defended her actions, saying she was “acting as a representative of the citizens of New Hampshire,” and did her due diligence as a board member.
When it came time to vote on the demolition proposal Monday night, Ferrari voted against it, saying “given the historic nature of the building” she believes it needs to be preserved.
Some residents and business owners at the hearing spoke in support of Sharra, saying the house is an eyesore and detriment to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Winchester.
“In the interest of the town and its people, I think it’s time for it to come down,” said Robert Patton-Spruill, who owns properties on Main Street including the New England Sweetwater and Farm Distillery.
Patton-Spruill said he’s “personally invested” in the character of the town, and doesn’t believe the loss of the house will affect that.
Resident Joan Gratton, a member of the Winchester Historical Society, spoke against demolishing the house, saying the commission shouldn’t approve it just because the owners didn’t do their homework when they bought it.
“We’re not looking at whether I should have known better,” Sharra countered.
She said she and her brothers have many ideas about what would look nice on the property for the town after the house is demolished, but had no sketches or drawings finalized.
However, when that time comes, they’ll be back before the historic district commission to get approval, she said.


What's next? said...

Its not so much if the house comes down or not, but we all know that when the Sharra family purchased this property they were never going to restore it, it was an investment. It also comes as no surprise that they finely got what they were after. The uninformed voters of this town voted to do away with the budget committee, what's next, get rid of the select board and give the sharra's complete control?

THE TRUTH said...

There original intent was condos, and she wasn't bashful about telling it around town.

Anonymous said...

Some one should let Mr. Mikes know that's its OK to go ahead with there expansion plans. I can see a lawsuit coming from that CO. and who can blame them.

Anonymous said...

You guys clearly know nothing about anything. When she bought this house it was in poor shape too. She had every intention of turning it into a B&B but when it came down to it not many people have 700,000 dollars just to put into something. Also even if she did hire someone to fix the house there is no guarantee that house would make it through the repairs without collapsing and seriously injuring someone. The house is too far gone and was when it was purchased. If anyone else had bought this house they would have the same issues. The house was bad 4 years ago and it's even worse now. The house is being held up by a carjack and has been since she bought it. Do your research before you critique someone who is trying to bring business to the town and to better it.

fed up with Sharra said...

It is you who does not have his facts straight and you're quoting her figures from the meetings 4 years ago shows just how biased you are for her attempts to make a huge profit by declaring the house uninhabitable after she has been renting out space in it since she bought it. This was her plan all along. Several other people expressed interest in the home when it first went up on the market and she quickly schemed to get them to drop interest by telling them that the BOS wouldn't okay any increase in septic hookups because our plant was so bad.. I know this for a fact as I was with Leroy when she told a certain business owner this right in front of us. Even Leroy said that that was bs. The facts don't bear out her story at all that this house can't be saved. She has schemed to do this from the day they got together to buy it. She's got all of the players on the boards she needed to get her okay this time. Murphy and Ruth, what more do we need said.
It's past time to put this disgraceful, deceitful woman in her place and send her a loud message that she does not run this town as she thinks she does.

Linder said...

fed up with Sharra, GREAT POST!………..I feel your frustration and disappointment with Sharra’s actions many of us like Mike Towne and the Informer for sometime have waved this red flag about Sharra dishonesty, Leroy Austin, the selectmen, Gus Ruth and now this Knuckle-head Denis Murphy (who is a moronic fool with significant learning difficulties and impaired social skills) who feel they have absolute rules over the people, who exercises their power grab with cruelly and unjustifiable rules for everyone but themselves.

It is beyond belief a town could elect a Knuckle-head like Denis Murphy to such a town’s most important and authoritative position in any town. The town moderator is allowed to make the rules in any town meeting that effects fair and just elections. WTF are you people thinking electing this Knuckle-head?

This town’s people has sat on their hands to long while these gang of hoers who we have allowed ourselves letting them get away murder. Yes! “MURDER”! Has everyone forgotten our neighbor and friend Gary Chaste? A while back I had a long discussion with the assistant attorney general office about this gang of hoers. These people have taken an oath to uphold town values and rules for everyone not just themselves. These hoers “are nailing their own coffins from the inside“. $hit is going to rein down on their heads.let

disgraceful & deceitful + said...

If the 12:07 poster is correct, and I have my doubts, didn't we just hire the same guy to inspect rental property that must have gone through the sharra property before it was purchased?

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding, we hired someone that couldn't tell if a property is solid enough to save, to inspect rental property for the town. Select board, how in H--- do things like this happen? No wonder people laugh when they find out you live in Winchester.

just more of the same said...

Things like that happen in this town time and time again because a select few think they are so much better than everyone else and can do whatever they feel. While most of the town turns a blind eye to stuff like this, the rest are in their pockets getting a benny here and there to keep them in power. The few honest and intelligent people in this town who have been pushing for change get no support and are trashed or ridiculed and called liars. Winchester deserves better, but until people actually give a rats azz, nothing will change and you'll keep seeing the same people pull these shenanigans over and over, lining their pockets as they pull off one scheme after another. For those of you who doubt all you have to do is read this blog or read back issues of the paper, the names are the same year after year every time their is controversy or a lawsuit filed. Like the poster above said, is it any wonder this town has such a bad name and is a running joke around the state?

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if this will give Teo Salema ideas. Perhaps we will get a Dunkin Donuts sooner rather than later. I am certain that Ms. Shara can show him how to beat the system. I just wish that in this case Mr. Plifka would stop causing the town to spend dollars that do not need to be spent. Is he afraid of the competition?

This my friends is the next chapter of business for the town.

Anonymous said...

If Ms.Sharra can get the school to create a job for her daughter, she can probably give Teo a helping hand, if his hand has something in it.It pays to be in a power position, understand Selectman Berthiaume's wife needed a job also.

Anonymous said...

Makes me sick to read this................ She knew what she was up to when she purchased it back then. Condos and restoration. B.S. She had Dollar General in the wings. Now this!!!! And how is it legal to have her hubby on the job????? This is material for Concord. And yes how easily people forget Gary Chase and the horror they put him through and his death. SHAME ON WINCHESTER. What's next Margaret???? Love to see your plans!!!!??? I am sure they will be crooked and profitable for you but not what Winchester people want.

Linder said...

Thanks for your post Anonymous. Yes let's get mad that's what it will take.......WE will never be a town until we get rid of Sharra, she has blocked many businesses from setting up shop in town (unless your a racetrack, gravel pit or junk yard]. The whole town hall are all guilty of what they did to Gary Chase. We must never allow them to forget it! This March 2016 let's send them packing one at a time including Berthuime. No one has lined his pocket more than Berthiume and his baby factory on Main Street across from the T Bird. We have to remove the selectmen and start electing responsible people that will support Jack Marsh.

it never ends said...

I agree, she has been a blight on this town for quite some time and her attitude towards us folk is awful. She really thinks she is someone above the rest of us and in reality she's nothing but a self centered snobbish woman, pitiful really; but she has really influenced the the direction this town has sunken too over the years. As for getting those phony people out of office, from what I have seen of the past dozen elections and longer, it won't ever happen. Too may people stay home and those that do vote are friends and relatives of town employees and their friends. That small group of about 4-5 hundred has kept this town the way it is and unless there's a drastic change in attitude, those few people who hold several key spots in our town gov't will remain, Ms. Sharra included and now her husband and daughter are part of our problem. I also hear that Mrs, Berthiume was just given a nice cushy position at the school doing nothing but standing around in our lunchroom. Sure must be nice to have friends in high places.

Fact check said...

First of all, if you're going to insult people, at least have the decency to spell their names correctly.
Secondly, I wasn't aware that there IS a T-Bird in town, Linder. And if you mean Mr. Mike's, well the property across the street from that is not owned by the person you implied. Look in the Town Report if you don't believe me. Oh, right. Sorry, I forgot that you don't check facts before spewing your rants.
Finally, the topic of this post is about the demolition of the house on Main Street. While I have some questions about the purchase (the Land Use Officer didn't check a building's foundation? And it didn't come up on a pre-purchase inspection? Really?), and I would tend to agree with Julia Ferrari's concerns and comments at the last meeting about this issue, Ms. Sharra won this round. Whether right or wrong it's a done deal. No need to bring other topics of who may or may not be benefiting from their association with town leadership into this discussion. Start another discussion for that.

Get out the vote said...

Ms.Sharra won this round, Like she told a decenter at one of her meetings a few years ago," this is my turf". This gang mentality shouldn't be tolerated, so lets get out the vote.

Linder said...

Sorry Fact check........Did I offend a friend of yours, sorry I mentioned the wrong store and missed spelled your friend, but "a defrauder by and other name is still a defrauder". Sorry you have such a short memory and attention span, it was intended to be a history lessen not a rant, but Berthiaume was given over $100,000 tax free with no repayment clause. A grant to fix up the old Winchester Pharmacy building from the town's federal grant money for town development.
With his windfall (your tax dollars) was awarded to Berthiaume who sold the building for one helluva profit hence the "baby factory was born!

Yes you people in this town remind me of the three monkeys, hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil!

"When people love lies more than they care about the truth then they will fall just like in the parable of the man who built on sand instead of the rock foundation of truth"!

May as well rename the town if these pass said...

Heads up folks - there's a Planning Board meeting coming up on January 4 at 7:00 to decide if ordinances should be amended to allow offsite/rooftop/hanging signs in ALL districts. Do we really want billboards cluttering the landscape here? It won't do anything to add to the "small town New England charm" that proponents are claiming to want to enhance. At the same meeting, there will be a Site Plan review for an "alcohol beverage business park". Do we really need to increase the alcohol consumption in this town?

Anonymous said...

Really nothing new. Since Sharra came to be PB Chair and now the so called land Use Administrator, she has completely gutted all of the safeguards that had been put into place to protect the town and govern development in Winchester. Her and her cronies on the PB, Beamon, Hill and a few others have made this town a cesspool and have profited from all these changes. Check it out yourselves, see just how many rewrites have been implemented in the past 5 years and what they have allowed to come into town. Add in all the lawsuits files because of her and her agendas, this town is spiraling down the drain. But who cares? Not the people of Winchester, they're too busy sitting at the VFW or passing a blunt to give a sh$t.