By Theresa Knapp
When Chris McCue attended a recent Zoning Board of Appeals hearing and heard neighbors' objections to the proposed restoration of the historic Clark Tavern at 353-355 Main St., she knew she had to do something and, shortly thereafter, she started a petition for change.
She hoped to have 100 signatures before the next ZBA hearing on Feb. 26, within a week she already has more than 750 signatures.
"At the last Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on the Clark Tavern, ZBA chair Russ Hallisey* made it clear the board wanted to hear from more supporters, so after encouragement from others, I decided to launch an online petition as an easy way for others to speak up in favor of the Clark Tavern effort," said McCue in an email to friends encouraging them to sign and forward the petition.
*[Editor's Note: Russell Hallisey is serving as Acting Chairman for the Clark Tavern hearings. Stephen Nolan is Chairman of the Medfield Board of Appeals.]
"Here in Medfield and in my childhood home on the NJ shore, I’ve seen countless historic properties demolished, including a beautiful colonial-era inn and restaurant in a downtown area that was replaced by condos. It breaks my heart to live in a town that has so much rich history only to see it wiped out bit by bit by development. This Clark Tavern petition is my attempt to try and do something simple to prevent one more historic gem from being lost. Please know I’m doing this on my own, as a private citizen. No town organization or individuals directly associated with the tavern are involved with the effort," the message said.
Below is a copy of what the petition says:
The project would restore the historic structure at 353-355 Main St., circa 1740, to its original function, and provide significant long-term preservation, conservation and economic benefits to Medfield. The property sits at the gateway of town, adjacent to the historic Peak House.
Current plans call for an old-time tavern (similar to Sherborn Inn), function space, and a four-room bed & breakfast.
IF THIS PROJECT FALLS THROUGH, the chances are strong (based on past developer interest) that the Clark Tavern would be demolished and replaced by an less desirable residential structure or development. Nearby historic homes could also be at risk of being lost over time, intensifying that development risk. (One home is currently on the market, and another lot is up for sale.)
Supporting the Clark Tavern project helps protect the character of Medfield in the midst of increased development pressure in town. The tavern project provides a multitude of benefits to the entire community, without documented adverse impact to the town or neighborhood.
We urge the Clark Tavern neighbors to work collaboratively with the Linnerts and town boards to find common ground so that the tavern project -- and long-term protection of the property can become a reality for the good of the Medfield Community before it's too late.
(Note: this petition was started by a private, concerned citizen and not sponsored by any town organization, business or person with a vested interest in the Clark Tavern.)