The Martha’s Vineyard Commission will review the proposed demolition of a colonial-style home on Katama Road.
The historic structure, located at 189 Katama Road in Edgartown, is a 2½-story, 8,000-square-foot home built in 1916 that sits on Edgartown Harbor. Owners Stephen and Ellie Wise propose demolishing the structure to rebuild a new home in a style “consistent with other houses on Edgartown Harbor,” according to the commission’s staff report.
Due to being over 100 years old, the demolition triggered an automatic concurrence review by the commission. MVC staff scored the house as 8 out of 13, or not historically significant, on its matrix scoring for DRI demolition review.
While not part of the town’s historic district, the town’s historic district commission wrote a letter to the MVC detailing the historic nature of the home.
“It is viewed by this commission as a historically relevant property that sits in a commanding location on the harbor,” the letter reads in part. “The house, built in 1916, was part of one of the first land grants of the 1600s. The building contractor, William W. King, left his name and the date in the concrete foundation of the dining room chimney. This property remained in the original owner’s’ family for 104 years.”
A presentation of the home’s current condition showed well-preserved areas of the original construction intact, such as windows, doors, maple flooring, wainscotting, and some intricate plaster molding. Other photos showed extensive water damage, mold, and warped flooring. The Wises also stated in a letter to the commission there are issues with long-term leaks, asbestos, lead paint, no heat or AC, and one shower for nine bedrooms.
The Wises wrote they do not plan to restore the home.
“We believe investing our time and money in a new structure, one that will benefit the town and the harbor economically and aesthetically, is the best option,” the letter states. “The new home will provide energy efficiency that cannot be achieved with a renovation, and will surpass the goals of current building codes.”
The commission voted to make the demolition proposal a full DRI review. The final vote was 10-3, with commissioners Josh Goldstein, Brian Packish, and Ted Rosbeck voting to not have a full DRI review.