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Demolition hearing set in Amherst on barn already destroyed

The commission decided in September that a century-old barn on Lincoln Avenue, which may have been used by Robert Frost, didn’t have sufficient historic significance to impose a year-long demolition delay.

Neighbors appealed the decision, but property owner You-Pan Tzeng of Longmeadow did not wait for the complaint to be resolved before demolishing the building.

The Zoning Board of Appeals reviewed the appeal in December and suggested the commission should have considered the significance of the property’s former owner, Warren Brown, who wrote historical accounts about Amherst and newspaper articles in the early 20th century.

The Historical Commission hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Room at Town Hall.

“We’ll proceed with the public hearing as if we’ve never done it before,” said chairman Michael Hanke. “We’ll come to it with an open mind.”

Hanke said he is not discouraged to go through the process again. “We felt it was probably a good idea to hold another hearing,” he said.

He said the reasoning is based on one property owner and abutter Patricia Stacey, of 280 Lincoln Ave., not being notified in advance of the first hearing, and the general public interest in the barn.

Hanke said the hearing will be formal, with those wishing to provide testimony being asked to give their names and addresses.

Hanke said his opinion is that Tzeng had the right to demolish the structure once the permit from building commissioner Robert Morra was in hand.

“This is the first time, to my knowledge, an appeal has been filed,” Hanke said.

But it’s unclear what could happen following the meeting.

Senior Planner Jeffrey Bagg said regardless of the decision, the case will return to the Zoning Board, which will consult with town attorney Joel Bard of Kopelman & Page.

Bagg said it is not known whether there could be financial penalties assessed to Tzeng or other requirements placed on him.

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