A local developer's plan to move a historic house on Judson Road so he can build a house on the site was put on hold for a year at a Preservation Commission meeting last week. The Preservation Commission voted 5-0 to impose a 12 month demolition delay on razing the historically significant residence located at 1 Judson Road, at the intersection of Bartlet Street, according to chairman Karen Herman. The meeting was June 11. "We hope that an opportunity to move the house will happen, with the added condition that the Commission review the house plans for at least one lot prior to the completion of the 12 month delay," Herman wrote in an email to the Townsman. She said demolishing the historic 1860 Leonard Wood House, which is located in the Academy Hill National Historic Register District, would be terrible for the neighborhood. "That would be a consequential loss to the surrounding neighborhood and the Town of Andover," she wrote.
A number of neighbors filled the meeting room and spoke in opposition to the proposed demolition. The neighbors are concerned about what would replace the historic home and had concern for their neighborhood and how to protect it in the future from this type of intrusion, Herman wrote.
Developer Douglas Ahern of Andover recently bought the historic house from Phillips Academy Trustees for $850,000. He filed a request with the town to move the house so he can build a house for himself. He now lives on Argilla Road but wants to be closer to downtown.
Ahern has said he understands the historic value of the house and would be willing to pay to move it somewhere else in Andover. He hopes to work with the town to find a new location for the historic home while his new home on the lot would fit the neighborhood. He could not be reached for comment after the meeting.
Herman is hopeful that a new location in town will be found for the historic house.
"We do not know if the building will be moved. We are hopeful that an appropriate lot can be found. If not, the building will be razed after the delay period has expired," she wrote.