By MADDY VITALE
In a move that saves a home that has stood on Wesley Avenue in Ocean City for more than a century, the Zoning Board upheld a decision to deny a demolition permit sought by its owners.
The empty home at 615 Wesley Avenue is in the heart of the city’s Historic District, an area that roughly stretches between Third and Eighth streets and Central and Ocean avenues. Over the years, it fell into disrepair, the current owners, a group called RJGVB LLC of Shippensburg, Pa., wanted to tear it down to make way for a duplex.
However, the city’s Historical Preservation Commission felt that the home, dating back to 1902, had historical significance and should be preserved and the Zoning Board agreed in its decision via Zoom on Wednesday.
“That house stands as much as the way it was when it was built,” said John Loeper, chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission, in an interview Thursday. “It would be a shame to lose a house like that in the Historic District.”
The four-story home, which at one time was a bed and breakfast, is in need of repair and neither side has disputed that.
The outside reflects neglect from its exterior to the overgrown yard and dilapidated fence.
Despite the need for some TLC, Loeper emphasized that the home can and should be saved.
“It is capable of being rehabbed and hopefully a new owner will come through and purchase it and do the right thing for the house, rather than demolish it because of neglect,” Loeper added.
On Sept. 1, the Historic Preservation Commission, which approves demolition, new construction or rehabilitation projects within the district, denied the property owner’s request to knock down the home. The city’s administrative officer also refused a demolition permit the following month.
Attorney for the applicant, Avery Teitler, could not be reached for comment. However, he argued that the home had mold and other serious physical and structural problems, while architect for property owners, George Wray Thomas, stated that the home has been altered dramatically through the years, limiting its historical significance.
The five-bedroom, 4.5 bath home on the market for $999,000 is more than 5,250 square feet of space, according to real estate records.