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Part of Ipswich News Store to be Demolished

Ipswich - A permit for demolition has been filed to remove non-historical parts of the Ipswich News building on Market Street.

The town manager's building permits report lists John Allen as holding a permit for demolition of his property at 16 Market St.

Following the fire in July, the proceedings began with the Historical Commission to implement the demolition delay bylaw as the buildings historical significance needed to be determined before any part was taken down.

According to Town Planner Glenn Gibbs, Building Inspector Jim Sperber ordered the owners to remove portions of the building that are non-historical and that were significantly damaged by the fire. The front of the property, which has been deemed the historically significant portion, will not be removed.

The other half of the structure is listed at 20 Market St and is owned by Peter Ross. That part of the building shares a roof, staircase and chimney with the portion owned by John Allen.

The Ipswich Historical Commission found that part of the Ross' structure is also historically significant. The Ross' have challenged that finding in court, specifically the authority of the commission to implement the demolition delay bylaw for that portion of the building. If the case is not decided in favor of the Ross', they have no choice but to wait a year before tearing down any historically significant piece of the building.

Calls to Historical Commission Chairman Peter Lampropoulos, were not returned by the Chronicle's press time. Calls to Building Inspector Jim Sperber, were also not returned.

After investigation, the fire was determined by the state to have been caused by improper disposal of a cigarette.

During the year delay allowed by the demolition bylaw, Gibbs said other buyers can be encouraged to look at the property.

Ultimately, the town does not have authority to prevent the Ross' from tearing down the building.

Gibbs said the Allen's have already begun some of the removal work.

The Historical Commission had said it would support demolition of the building if it was not salvageable. However, the architect that was hired to inspect the building concluded the historical part of the building was largely intact and could be preserved.

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