Historic house could find new home on Honey Hill Road

The 18th-Century home at 211 Hurlbutt Street could find a new home on Honey Hill Road — if the Zoning Board of Appeals approves a residential variance submitted by local architect and former Historic Districts and Historic Properties Commission chair Kevin Quinlan. A public hearing is planned for March 21.
“If the variance request isn't granted then the entire preservation effort will be lost,” said Quinlan.
“I am counting on the Zoning Board of Appeals being able to look at the setback relief as a simple variance request. It would be a shame to lose this preservation opportunity and the rich history inherent in the 211 Hurlbutt Street home.”
A 90-day demolition delay was placed on the property in November after the commission received a notice of intent to demolish the antique home. Through the fall of 2015, Honey Hill South LLC owner and historic commission member Peter Gaboriault expressed a desire to save and relocate the home’s original timber-frame and salvage and reuse its antique windows.

Following negotiations, an agreement was made to allow Honey Hill South LLC to dismantle and relocate the original portion of the home to Honey Hill Road.

“The main body of the 211 Hurlbutt Street house — the part containing the timber frame — will be moved to the small blank parcel of land on Honey Hill Road, across the street from the 94 Honey Hill Road house, and placed parallel to the street,” Quinlan told The Bulletin.

Quinlan said a new addition will be built behind the relocated 211 Hurlbutt Street home and “tee into the relocated house.”

The addition will be “a kitchen/family room addition with two bedrooms and a bath and laundry above,” he said, and “the 211 Hurlbutt Street portion of the overall house will become the entry hall and an office/study on first floor, and a bedroom and bath on the second floor.”

“Very rarely is a house able to be saved by a splendid cooperation between homeowner and builders,” said Quinlan. “The variance approval would be the final step in making this dream possible.”

Variance request

Quinlan submitted an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals in February, requesting a variance of zoning regulation section 29-5.D to allow “a front yard setback of 16 feet” and a “rear yard setback of 25 feet” at Honey Hill Road.

Section 29-5.D of Wilton’s zoning regulations requires minimum yard space for a single-family residence of 40 feet on the side, 50 feet in the rear and 50 feet in the front.

In his residential variance application, Quinlan points out that the front and rear setbacks for the zone are 50 feet and the property depth is less than 100 feet.

Because of this, he states, “front and rear yard setbacks cannot be complied with for the reason that they overlap one another.”

Other than the request for front and rear yard setback relief, Quinlan’s proposed site plan complies with all zoning regulation requirements, including those regarding septic and well design, site and building coverages and side yard setback.

211 Hurlbutt history

The five-room home on Hurlbutt Street — also known as the Jackson-Nealy House — contains three bedrooms, one bathroom, three fireplaces and an open porch.

According to the 1989 Wilton Architectural Survey, its historic name is the Andrew Jackson House — named after the first selectman of Wilton in 1883 and 1884, whose family built the home.

“The house has been owned by members of the Jackson [and] Knapp [families], and an Olmstead, who may have bought or rented the house at one time,” said Wilton Library History Room archivist and collection coordinator Scotty Taylor.

According to the 1989 survey, an 1855 map of Wilton shows 211 Hurlbutt Street as the residence of a Mrs. Jackson and according to Taylor, Andrew Jackson’s son Elmer, also a former first selectman, owned the home from 1897 until 1900.

After passing out of the Jackson family, the home was “refreshed in the Colonial Revival style,” according to the survey, “so most of its exterior fabric is 20th Century.”

The home has a four-bay frame, one-and-a-half-story cape with a central chimney and large six-over-six windows on the first level of the facade and side elevations.

“With preservation efforts reaching a fever-pitch in 2015 and continuing,” Quinlan said, the town is “fortunate that Honey Hill South LLC is committed to saving the 211 Hurlbutt Street house.”