Clark House Owner, Armenian Church in Talks

Supporters of the pre-Revolutionary house seeks year extension of license to allow negotiations to continue to find a permanent home for 250 year old structure.

The owner and supporters of the Thomas Clark House, the pre-Revolutionary War house saved from the wreaking ball earlier this year announced that they were in negotiations with the board of directors of the First Armenian Church of Belmont on Concord Avenue to provide the historic house a permanent home next to the church in a proposed land swap with the town.

"It is not a done deal, but we are earnestly in discussion with them,” said Chairman of the Belmont Historic District Commission Michael Smith at a meeting of the Belmont Board of Selectmen Monday, adding that the final word on any possible deal will require the approval of the church's congregation.  

"Our goal is to keep the house in Belmont," Smith said, noting that he has been working with the Belmont Conservation Commission on working within wetlands regulations which applies to the possible property.

After the meeting, Smith told Belmont Patch that a possible development team working with Belmont architect Erik Rhodin would either transform the house – which would be located between the church and the Belmont Public Library – into a residential property or commercial office space.

The land is currently zoned for residential purposes and would require a zoning change for a commercial use.

Sean McDonnell, whose organization, the Architectural Heritage Commission, is the legal owner of the house and Smith came before the Selectmen Nov. 19, to request a one-year extension of the license that allows the church to remain at its temporary location across from the Underwood Pool on Concord Avenue.

The Selectmen unanimously agreed to the extension with Town Administrator David Kale reiterating the town's position that expenses from a second move will not come from town coffers. 

If talks with the church are successful, the house built in the 1760s which was moved with much fanfare in mid-February from its original location on lower Common Street to its present resting place next to the White Field House on Concord Avenue will be once again be on a town street but this time only for a few hundred yards to land between the church and the library.

Yet Smith would not give a possible time frame on when a deal could be hammered out and the relocation take place.

"We needed a year (extension of the license) because it will take time for the congregation to vote and then all the legal issues to be resolved," said Smith after the meeting. 

"Like I told the (Selectmen), I don't like using the word "likely" because we are still in negotiations but I am quite hopeful


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