Demonstration of 2 buildings from the Easthampton Historical Commission OK at the Tasty Top site

EASTHAMPTON — Following the demolition of the former Tasty Top ice cream stand, the city’s Historical Commission reluctantly approved the demolition of two other “historically significant” buildings on Northampton Street on Wednesday evening.

The buildings were remanded for review by the commission, as required by the city’s demolition delay ordinance, as they are both over 50 years old.

During the public hearing, Easthampton attorney Donald Abel Jr., who represents Tasty Top Development LLC, described the buildings as a “security risk” and said any historical significance had since been lost. long time.

“This was land under contract with Stop and Shop for several years and the owner continued to use the facility for the Tasty Top and driving range, but the rest of the property remained vacant,” said Abel. . . “And I think the last time anyone was there was in 2008.

“You can see… there’s vegetation growing in there, the ceilings are open, the structural supports are in poor condition… I think that poses a significant public safety risk as well. If, God forbid, security officials needed to enter this structure, it would be extremely dangerous for them.

Commission member John Bruner said it was important for people to understand that the commission did not favor those who have to turn to demolition as a result of negligence. He said it is the owner’s responsibility not to let people in and out of the property as they please.

“That’s no excuse to come back and say, ‘Well look how terrible that is. What a corrupt space it is to be demolished. We are working very hard to ensure that it is no longer an easy thing for anyone to do,” he said. “And I just want to say that because we’re really, really offended that people are just waiting for it to be so decrepit…it has to go down.”

Abel said his client, Tasty Top Development LLC, which is registered with Frank A. DeMarinis, owner of Sage Engineering & Contracting Inc. of Westfield, purchased 93-97 Northampton St. from Dennis Courtney for $2.2 million. dollars on April 11.

“I understand that, but I wanted to say it,” Bruner said. “What we want is for people to trust the system. And just like the Tasty Top building, I hope that in the future people will believe that the commission is working in the best interests of the city.

Over the past week, people have expressed their anger that the old Tasty Top building was demolished last Friday. Several Facebook posts generated over 100 comments and over 500 reactions to the announcement of Tasty Top’s end.

Members of the commission also expressed concern over the disappearance of the old ice cream stand building.

“May I ask you why you took off the Tasty Top?” said member Beverly Wodicka.

An engineer linked to the Tasty Top development said the building was nothing that could be used in the future redevelopment of the site.

The development representatives also indicated that it was still premature to give details on the use of the site.

In January, the commission held a hearing on the future of the sales office/golf shed which was located on what was listed by city records as 93 Northampton St., because just like the two buildings at 95 Northampton St., the structure falls under the city’s demolition delay ordinance because it was over 50 years old.

In this case, the commission said the golf shed “did not need historic protection.”

And although the Tasty Top building, located at what is described in the Easthampton archives as 97 Northampton St., was built in 1950, the commission did not have the chance to intervene. Instead, the city issued a building permit to demolish the Tasty Top building. May 3, according to Deputy City Planner Jamie Webb.

Webb said she doesn’t know why this happened, but noted the city will likely post new addresses for new venues in the future.

She noted that the original 33-acre parcel had multiple addresses attached to it, adding another level of confusion.

The property previously contained six buildings, including the two-story barn, a one-story garage, a two-story residential structure with a stone foundation, an enclosed gazebo structure and a sales office/shed for the golf driving range. ‘Easthampton, according to a description contained in a 2006 Asbestos and Regulated Materials Survey of the structures on the property.

The buildings are the last two on the property which was previously 103 Northampton St. They are southwest of the old Tasty Top building.

Prior to the $2.2 million sale of the land at 93-97 Northampton St., a portion of that property was set aside for the future construction of a 2,217-square-foot Starbucks with 33 parking spaces. The Planning Board approved a special permit in March for the construction and operation of this plot, which sits between Burger King and the former Tasty Top.

Ultimately, commission chairman Michael Czerwiec said the condition of the buildings was not conducive to restoration and agreed with Bruner’s sentiment that the commission did not prefer to accept demolition. of historic buildings due to neglect.

In a 4-to-1 vote, the commission approved the demolition of a two-story residential structure and a two-story barn at 95 Northampton St. Member Nora DeJasu opposed it.

“With the caveat that we never want to do it that way again,” Bruner said.

Emily Thurlow can be contacted at [email protected]

Aurora J. William