BY STEFANIE JACKSON, Eastern Shore Post —
The Cape Charles Historic District Review Board on Wednesday, Jan. 3, approved an application to move an entire house across town so a new bank can be built on the parcel.
The home, built in 1896, had been “butchered” and “modernized to the point that it is no longer historic,” said the applicant, Kerry Shackelford.
Since none of the original attributes of the approximately 1,150-square-foot, two-story home remain, moving it would not detract from the historic quality of the neighborhood, he said.
The house will be moved from its location at 645 Mason Ave. — near the intersection with the vehicle bridge overpass colloquially called “the hump” — to allow construction of a bank branch.
The name of the applicant for that project and name of the potential bank were unavailable at press time.
The process for moving the house will be the same as elevating it, except for placing wheels underneath it, Shackelford said.
The home will travel all the way down Mason Avenue toward Cape Charles Beach, turn right onto Bay Avenue, cross town, and make another right onto Washington Avenue, where the house’s destination is located.
The house will remain unmodified, with two exceptions: the new front steps will be built of wood instead of brick, and the side porch will be rebuilt, Shackelford said.
Chair Kathy Glaser noted that, according to historic district guidelines, moving a house should be done only as a “last resort” to save a structure from demolition.
Katie Nunez, Cape Charles town planner and zoning administrator, confirmed the likelihood that “if this was denied … tonight for relocation of this house, then the next application to be forthcoming would be the demolition of that house.”
She added that the project had been in the works for more than a year, including nine months to find the proposed new location for the house, at 602 Washington Ave.
Nunez added that, in addition to the approval of the Historic District Review Board, the property owners must obtain a permit from the Virginia Department of Transportation to move the house and a building permit to place the structure in its new location.
The Historic District Review Board application was approved in a 3-1 vote, with board member Patricia James opposed.
Nunez said the proposal for construction of the bank will be presented in approximately two months.