Lexington – We are writing as dismayed residents of Precinct 6 to protest the demolition of what was a 100-year-old house at 31 Somerset Road. The property sold on Feb. 29, and two weeks later all 11 rooms were destroyed and carted away in a dumpster. Neighbors were given scant warning by the new owner, who has not decided on what will replace the elegant home. Ironically, the garage must stay because it is within a historically protected zone.
We live nearby, and have discussed the many positives associated with continuing to reside in Lexington as our families change and we eventually face the decision to downsize. However, the character and feel of the town is being threatened by teardowns gone out of control, and we have serious doubts about the availability of appropriate housing in the future.
What process allows such a quick demolition of a home of historic value? As a town, we have embraced anti-idling and tree planting initiatives. If the White House is (ever) rebuilt we’ll use green building codes. We have meetings ad nauseum on good ideas such as the use of Busa Farm and the Dana Home proposal. But where is the discussion about the overall character and ongoing values of our community? How can we continue to approve space-and-resource-wasting mansions to be shoehorned in where small ranch homes once stood? 31 Somerset does not fall precisely into that category of mistake, but it was a large, elegant home, and it was razed flat in a day two weeks after papers were passed. How utterly wasteful. Where is our sense of sustainability?
We don’t know exactly how this issue could be summarized and brought before Town Meeting, but it should be. Town officials must examine the process that gives so little opportunity for input to residents and neighbors. — Barbara and John Tarrh, Oakland Street, and Diane Garmon, Chandler Street