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Fate of Building to be Decided

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Ipswich - The Board of Selectmen called an executive session for Thursday, June 26 to discuss the fate of the Ipswich News building, which was severely damaged in a fire almost one year ago. The board had been discussing the building during regular meetings. However, Peter and Arthur Ross sued the Ipswich Historical Commission for instituting the Demolition Delay Bylaw on the building. Now, because there is litigation involved, the selectmen must discuss the situation in executive session.

The building is actually two properties. John Allen owns number 16 Market St., the portion that housed the paper store, Ipswich News. The Rosses own the other half, which is listed as 20 Market St. The Historical Commission has maintained that portions of the front part of the building should be preserved. The Rosses contend that the building is a safety hazard and that there is not enough left of it to make it worth saving. They want to demolish the building and rebuild.

John Allen also pulled a demolition permit after the building inspector ordered that the severely damaged and non-historical portions of the building be torn down.

The Rosses had appealed to the Board of Selectmen to overrule the Historical Commission, which the board is allowed to do under certain circumstances. But, the selectmen are hoping to get all the stakeholders together and hammer out a compromise.

The town has the authority to delay demolition under the bylaw but cannot prevent the Rosses from tearing down the part of the building that they own once the deadline has passed. The Historical Commission instituted the demo delay in January 2008.

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