Moving trucks arrived at the Lagoon Pond drawbridge Monday morning as the state took the next steps in a plan to raze a home tucked under the bridge that is owned by a longtime Vineyard summer family.
The home, owned by Charlotte Holloman, is slated to be demolished to make way for the new bridge project that begins in the fall.
Dukes County sheriff Michael McCormack confirmed that his office had issued a warrant of possession at the Holloman home, which is similar to an eviction notice.
“We’re gong to take possession of the building for the [Massachusetts] Department of Transportation,” the sheriff said. “We’ve had [the order] for a couple months and we were waiting for the final go-ahead.”
The go-ahead came last week despite efforts by the Holloman family to stay the demolition so they could have one last summer in the house they have owned since 1962.
A temporary drawbridge is now complete and construction on a new bridge begins in the fall.
The state has already taken the Holloman house by eminent domain.
In an interview with the Gazette last month Mrs. Holloman described a tangled decade-long standoff between her family and the state over whether they would be allowed to stay in the house, and if not, also over what is fair market value for the property. The state has appraised the property at $267,000. An appraisal commissioned by Mrs. Holloman put the value at between $1.2 million and $1.5 million. The town assessed the property at $447,000 in 2012.
On Monday two moving trucks from Barnes Moving and Storage were at the site, as well as a locksmith and representatives from the state. Packing supplies lined the driveway. A lone couch sat in the moving truck. Inside the house, folding lounge chairs were stacked in the living room and kitchen shelves were stacked with dishes.
Lieut. Linda Hanover, supervisor for the civil process division of the sheriff’s department, will oversee the removal of the contents of the home, Mr. McCormack said. “It’s more taking possession of it and turning the possession over to the state,” Mr. McCormack said. He said the contents will be kept in storage.
Mrs. Holloman, who was on the Island in late May, said she had not been notified that the house would be cleared of its contents on Monday.
Reached by telephone, she said her Boston attorney was planning to seek injunctive relief but was still waiting to hear back from an attorney for the state DOT.
“They seem really hot to trot and it makes me wonder what their actual motives are,” Mrs. Holloman said. “I have done everything I could possibly do to protect myself.”
The new bridge is estimated to cost $44 million, according to transportation department spokesman Michael Versekes. Construction is expected to begin August 14.
In an email to the Gazette, Mr. Versekes wrote that the transportation department opened bids for the project on Wednesday; a contract will be awarded next week.
Construction of the 350-foot-long bridge will take three years and be completed in three phrases. Mr. Versekes said demolition of the Holloman home is slated for two years from now.
The home may be used as a field office for construction, he said.
The Hollomans bought the house in May 1962 from Henry Cronig. Built in 1949, it sits on the site once occupied by the Betty Benz Tea House, a 50-seat restaurant that was destroyed in the hurricane of 1938.