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Local Zoning Regulations May Lead To Demolition of Oldest House in Cape Cod Town

February 1, 2020

Local government regulations controlling what can be built in a flood zone may lead to the demolition of the oldest house in Chatham.

The rambling farmhouse, the oldest part of which dates to 1698, has a beehive oven and a view of Pleasant Bay and Strong Island in North Chatham. The woman who owns it, in her mid-60s, can no longer afford to maintain it now that summer renters have stopped coming.

“They want air conditioning, granite countertops,” the woman told The Cape Cod Times.

Most of the potential buyers want to tear down the house and build a modern structure in its place.

One preservation-minded buyer says to make the deal work financially he’d have to build a second home on the lot. There’s enough room – the lot is 2.76 acres – but the town’s zoning regulations prohibit building a second house in on the land because about 90 percent of it is in a flood zone as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to The Cape Cod Times.

Some town and county officials say they are trying to find a way around the obstacle. A local demolition delay order expires in July.

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