Excerpt from MyEasternShoreMD:
Another building on Cannon Street is about to be taken down.
At the Chestertown Historic District Commission meeting, Wednesday, March 2, John and Pam Cambardella of Church Hill were given permission to demolish the building at 336 Cannon St., which they have owned since 2007.
The Cambardellas bought the building as an investment, they said. “We thought it was a great location,” said Pam Cambardella. But their plans went on hold with the arrival of the recession in 2008.
John Cambardella said the economic downturn “froze me,” and the problems with the building got worse until they finally decided to go ahead with the demolition.
The single-story building, constructed in 1961, is in “abysmal” condition, the owners said. It was inspected last October and determined to be uninhabitable and dangerous, Pam Cambardella said. She said there are holes through the siding into the interior and no insulation.
On the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website, the value of the building is assessed at $2,500. The 26-by-102 foot lot on which it stands is assessed at $120,600.
The structure, apparently a modular building, was originally at 310 Cannon St., the owners said. It was moved to the current site in 1998 as part of an urban renewal project. It became vacant when the former inhabitant, an elderly woman, was relocated because of health issues.
Town Manager Bill Ingersoll said the building was gifted by the town to Calvin Frazier, who owned the property next door. Frazier’s plan was to use the building as a social club, but he never followed through on the idea, Ingersoll said. The building, already in poor condition, continued to deteriorate.
The Cambardellas, in their application to the HDC, said they propose to remove the building and its foundation, to terminate and remove overhead and underground utilities, and to grade the property and seed it with grass. The removal of the building would “raise the eye appeal of the neighborhood,” Pam Cambardella said.
Commissioner Nancy McGuire said she was disturbed by the removal of a second building from the block, which was once a center of the town’s black community. She said two vacant lots close together would ruin the rhythm of the street. She said the HDC’s guidelines require the panel to look at what will replace a structure being removed.
Kees de Mooy, town zoning administrator, said the demolition “isn’t closing the door to something else going up.”
Ingersoll said he thought the lot would be attractive to future buyers who might want to build there. He said the land is too valuable to leave vacant.
McGuire “reluctantly” moved to grant the application to demolish the building, and the vote to approve was unanimous.
To save on the cost of demolition, the owners said they would coordinate with the owner of nearby 328 Cannon St., which the HDC approved for demolition earlier this year.
De Mooy said in an e-mail that the demolitions will probably not take place until summer.
In Other Business:
• The commission approved replacement windows for the third story of Widehall, at 101 N. Water St.
Jay Yerkes, the contractor on the project, said the existing windows are about 10 years old and are in poor condition. Also, he said, they are casement windows that are not authentic to the building. The replacements will be custom built in a style appropriate to the structure, he said.
• The commission approved exterior lighting for Sultana Education Foundation at 200 S. Cross St. The lighting is on the historic building at the corner, once a printing office. It replaces the existing lighting with dark sky compliant LED fixtures.
Drew McMullen, president of the Sultana foundation, said the existing lighting fixtures on the building cannot be made dark sky compliant.
• The commission approved modifications in the fence, curb and landscaping behind 113 and 117 S. Cross St. to improve handicapped access to the two buildings.
• The commission approved signs for three businesses: Fish Whistle at 98 Cannon St.; Create LLC at 113 S. Cross St.; and Art on High at 200B High St.