After 8 years, the fate of the Jackling House is still up in the air. It is up to Superior Court Judge Marie Weiner to decide if the demolition permit which the Town COWncil issued at its meeting on June 23rd, complies with environmental laws. The Town COWncil has held quite a few hearings on this subject since their original approval of the demolition permit was invalidated by the Court.
See previous articles here and here see also here and here.
We were originally critical of the COWncil because they could not get the process right. The Court faulted the Council for not having substantial evidence on the record of the cost to build a new house to support its findings that various alternatives were economically infeasible. The Court did not say that the alternatives were feasible, only that the record was inadequate. The COWncil clearly wanted to allow the demolition and ignored the fact that not all alternatives had been explored.
Now it does appear to us that all kinds of mitigations were considered. Time is taking its toll and the mansion is in very bad shape. It does not appear that anyone wants to move and restore it. Ultimately, the COWcil conditioned demolition on an agreement that will salvage and reuse the parts of the structure that are salvageable. While the result is not historically satisfying, it seems to us that the alternatives are not feasible. A property owner should not be forced to rebuild a crumbling edifice nor should he be forced to sell his property.
The Judge has yet to rule on this matter. But, in our opinion, it is time to MOOve on.