Who says houses are expensive in Morristown?
You can have a three-story cream puff on DeHart Street for $1.
That’s right. A hundred pennies. Four quarters. One buck. Cash.
Okay, it’s not move-in condition. Move-out condition is more like it. As in, move the house out of here. Immediately!
“If someone were to say they wanted to take the building, it would be free. Well, $1,” Brian Fahey, attorney for brothers David and Billy Walsh, said on Thursday.
If a home cannot be found for this 122-year-old home, and pronto, the Walshes are prepared to knock it down to make way for a restaurant at 10 DeHart.
They thought they had a taker in Morristown realtor Kathryn “Kit” Godby. She planned to move the vacant structure to a nearby lot on Catherine Lane, in the town’s “Little Dublin” neighborhood, and convert the house into three apartments.
Neighbors there were not too happy about that, however. The lot is zoned for single-family homes. After much back and forth, the town zoning board in October gave Godby permission for two apartments instead of three.
But after thinking it over, Godby concluded those economics would not work. Rents would be too high, explained Fahey, who also is representing Godby. Earlier this week, he withdrew her approved application from the zoning board, he said.
Finding a new taker seems “decreasingly unlikely,” said David Walsh.
So a date with the wrecking ball once again looks imminent for a house that already moved once, from Pine Street in 2002. Over the years it has been a private residence, an office building, a salon and a deli.
WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?
On Thursday, it appeared the house also might wreck plans for the restaurant.
When the town planning board approved the project back in February, Fahey told the board that the house would be relocated.
Did that statement amount to a condition of the approval? Would failure to move the house nullify permission to build the restaurant?
By a 5-3 vote on Thursday, the planning board decided relocating the building would not be required of the Walshes.
“We never asked for it. They threw it out there,” board Chairman Joe Stanley said. The Walsh team must return next month with paperwork stipulating they are not committed to moving the house.
Joe Kane, who voted no along with fellow board members David Gilliham and Dick Tighe, served on the board when the house was moved 15 years ago.
The discrepancy over relocating the house again should have triggered new hearings on the restaurant project, he contended.
“It did not seem like an insignificant change,” Kane said. “I thought it was significant enough for them to come back and ask for an amendment to the site plan.”