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Monday, February 4, 2008

No matter what you call it...Cadley House a controversy

By James Tinley
Register Staff
MILFORD — Some call it a “dismantling” while others call it a “demolition,” but by any name, razing the historic Cadley farmhouse has become a source of political turmoil that will be hashed out at a public meeting next week.
Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, has announced a public meeting will be held Feb. 11 in City Hall at 7 p.m. He said he hopes the meeting will determine if the developer who bought the property broke a deal with the city. If the Board of Aldermen finds Westwood Ranches broke the agreement, whether the city should seek damages will be discussed, Blake said.
“I think it’s important to have this out in the public,” Blake said. “And a public meeting is needed to get a consensus of what direction the Board of Aldermen wants to go in.”
That direction may be to seek $200,000 that Blake said the city paid for the historic landmark to be preserved.
At the meeting, the Board of Aldermen will ask questions of Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr., the city’s chief building inspector and the city historian to find out exactly what happened.
Richetelli has maintained the Cadley farmhouse was meticulously dismantled after it was determined that the beams holding the house up were too rotted for it to be moved, as was originally planned. A replica of the house which will contain salvaged materials will be built on the same Old Field Lane site.
City Attorney Marilyn Lipton has also maintained that the developer has not violated the deal.
City historian Richard Platt wants to find out why the house was issued a demolition permit without his knowledge and in violation of a city ordinance mandating a 45-day waiting period before any house built before 1902 is demolished.
The Cadley farmhouse was built in 1790. It was dismantled in November, before the 45-day waiting period expired.
Building Inspector Tom Raucci has since admitted that one of his employees issued the demolition permit in error.
“I’m very much puzzled by what happened and would like to find out,” Platt said Friday.
“We can’t bring the old house back now, it’s gone. I would basically like to find out what happened and why, to prevent this thing from happening again,” Platt said.
The Cadley farmhouse was purchased by the city and sold to Westwood Ranches in a deal that left 3.6 acres of open space and required the construction of a replica of the house, using any materials that could be salvaged from the previous home.
The deal permitted 1.5 acres to be sold to Westwood Ranches and a $200,000 discount because of deed restrictions contained in the historic preservation covenant.
James Tinley can be reached at or 876-3030.



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