The Edgartown planning board Tuesday approved part of an application to move a Chappaquiddick house threatened by erosion.
The board got its first look Tuesday at plans to relocate a 5,500-square-foot house at Wasque Point owned by Richard and Jennifer Schifter, as well as a 1,150-square-foot guest house and a 1,140-square-foot garage. The Schifter property has been threatened by rapid erosion over the last year; the coastal bluff is now 50 feet away from a stone pool enclosure.
To make way for the house relocation, the Schifters purchased a neighboring house and property from the Leland family. An application also was filed to move that house to make room for the relocated main house. After about two hours of discussion Tuesday, the planning board approved the Leland house move as well as a property line adjustment.
“I think this whole issue is time sensitive. I recommend the town immediately approve phase one and get started moving the Leland property,” said planning board member Robert Sparks.
“They have to sit there and watch the sandbank erode on a daily basis,” he later added.
The board’s consultant, John Ramsey, and some board and audience members brought up several concerns, including changes to the view shed, the number of truck trips required for the project and how the traffic will affect the small community and the rural roads, soil testing, the elevation of the water table, and whether the main house could be moved without the basement.
As plans stand now, the house would be moved with the basement — which has a bowling alley and theatre — intact.
Mr. Schifter was on hand at the meeting, as were several representatives from International Chimney Corporation, the company that will execute the house move. Company president Richard T. Lohr explained the moving process to the board, detailing that after excavation, it would take about three or four days to actually move the structure, with jacks and beams providing support and the structure then jacked up and loaded onto about 20 small dollies, each the size of a small Volkswagen.
The planning board continued the public hearing about moving the main house to their next meeting on March 19.