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30 hours later and no trace of the house

The final touches of the removal of the burned house are underway. There's not even a hole.

This is what looked like when StreetView was there last year:

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Maybe they thought it was a structural hazard to the surrounding buildings and the sidewalk?

When I walked by yesterday and a cop asked me to move on he mumbled something about gas - so perhaps there was a gas leak somewhere (the cause or an effect?) and they had to deal with that. And they did dig up the sidewalk and a bit of the street in front of the house.

Could be! Now, with the house gone, the lot is now worth a bazillion dollars? How long before someone erects a McMansion?

The zoning regulations may prohibit anything from being built because the lot size is too small, and there are setback requirements as well. Of course variances can be obtained. I think this is one of those sections that is not zoned for business but there are some small businesses in it (this one was microscopic and dormant). I looked at the zoning maps, etc. and it isn't actually clear how this is zoned - one map said it is zoned as BA - but the zoning regulations don't describe BA. I went to a meeting about this very subject and it was pointed out that part of the Bread and Circus / Whole Foods store in in a residence district and that could impact adjustments to the building as well.

If my house burned down, its replacement would have to be set back from West Place and thus would only be allowed to be about 20 feet wide instead of the 28 that it is now. It could go back over the parking area in the back and part of the garages as well. The front set back is pretty close to legal except for the front porch. It could be a bit taller. I did have to get a variance to do the third floor dormers in 2001 because of non conformity and then I had to get an inclusion of permission to overextend the dormer guidelines as well. SInce I talked to all the neighbors ahead of time and no-one objected there was no difficulty in getting the variance approved. BTW our garage in Gloucester is about 1 foot too close to the neighbors property.

When we lived in Massachusetts, dunkelpig was in our local elected Town Meeting. She was grousing to me one night about zoning arguments, and this was the result. Here's the first verse and a link in case you want the rest.

My Grandfathered Plot

words by thnidu © 2000
to the tune of My Grandfather's Clock, by Henry Clay Work

My grandfathered plot was too small for a house
To be built in the spacious back yard.
I scrolled through the laws with my keyboard and mouse
But construction was totally barred.
Then my wife asked me, "Why don't you go down to the li-
Brary? All the world's knowledge have they."
And the ref- 'rence -- librarian told me how
To appeal to the ZBA.

Ninety volumes of zoning laws. (Flip, flip, flip, flip.)
Three more on the sublet clause. (Flip, flip, flip, flip.)
The ref- 'rence -- librarian told me how
To appeal to the ZBA.

What a loss, it looks like such a cute house.

There was a sign on the house next door saying he'd gone to visit relatives in Florida but would be back. There was an email address of someone to contact and sent a sorry message and that he shouldn't worry about the garage rent (which he always pays on time).

Can you image what it must be like to lose everything you own AND be 92 years old?

I have been thinking about that guy ever since you first posted about the fire and losing everything that way at 92 is exactly what I've been thinking. Wow.

I'm sad about the loss of that cute house but I just cannot imagine what it would be like to have to start again at 92. Or maybe it's a relief not to have to worry about all the stuff.

Keep us posted on him, plz.

On the one hand, devastating. On the other, though, he's 92 and knows he can't take it with him. I'm glad he's okay.

Edited at 2008-02-22 12:05 am (UTC)

I remember my neighbor in the house next door (who died in bed at home having requested to be let out of the hospital and die at home - I was there as it turns out) at the age of 82 a bunch of years ago. She had lived in that house her entire life! As she was nearing the end several months before she said lets get rid of more stuff; why should my relatives have to deal with all this junk. She lived independently and that was the only acceptable way to live (her husband had died a few years before).

and that he shouldn't worry about the garage rent

Especially since he is the only one of the four garage tenants who ever pays rent at all. (As you can tell, folks, the rental of those garages is vital to our financial well-being.)


Such a pity, a waste.

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