SHPO used an earlier assessment, commissioned by the state's preferred developer for the property
The previous property condition assessment from 2012 of the state-owned
"In their current state, the subject structures cannot be made available to the public with a warranty or guarantee of their future structural performance," states the 2012 assessment by national environmental and engineering consulting firm
Forrest said in an email Thursday he had not seen the new assessment but that he was aware the
"This provides even greater incentive to extend the assessments to the remaining historic buildings on the campus with the hope that they, too, can be feasibly adapted to new use and preserved for future generations," he wrote in the email.
The nonprofit historic preservation trust commissioned
"We're advocates for preservation, and we understand fully that the project was going to be a complete replication, which adhered to the Secretary of the Interior Standards, but we're really curious about the nurses' building," she said.
Steiner said in April that he planned to keep the nurses' building and turn it into an inn. He based his decision on findings in the recent assessment, according to Higgins. Higgins said Steiner was very cooperative when he agreed to the assessment.
The April assessment states that it was based on visual observations. The 2012 assessment similarly relies mostly on "secondary evidence" such as rust stains that may indicate corrosion of steel within walls, according to Forrest.
Neighbors of the Seaside property have called for the town to commission a new study by a different firm, out of concern that results of a study commissioned by Steiner might be skewed by his involvement.
Forrest said that, in his experience with SHPO, engineering consultants rarely turn out to be "hired guns," as they sometimes are viewed. He commented that skewing results to fit the needs of a client would greatly harm a firm's reputation.
Still, he said that the town should hire a different firm if it commissions an additional assessment so as to stoke public confidence in the findings.
"There are important decisions to be made in terms of what should happen on that property," he said.
He said that there is nothing wrong with the GZA report and that it could be used as a guide for finding what parts of structures require deeper analysis. He said it is common to use a visual assessment to inform a later, more in-depth, assessment that involves radar testing or lab testing of samples.
The town has expressed interest in state grant funding for a new assessment, Forrest said.
Waterford Planning Director
The text amendment application is a part of Steiner's application to change the zoning regulations of the
"What is relevant to the current application is ensuring the language within the regulation is appropriate for the
Goderre requested the 2012 assessment from Steiner in May but had not received the assessment from Steiner as of last week. The assessment states that the roofs of all four historic buildings and roughly 15 percent of flooring, excluding the basement floor in the main hospital building, should be rebuilt. The report also cites structural problems with walls in the hospital building and superintendent's house.
"This structure should not be occupied and the public should be kept at least 100 feet away from the structure as failure of the load bearing exterior walls may occur suddenly without warning," the assessment states about the superintendent's residence.
The April assessment reports minimal roof leaking in the nurses' building and states that the floors are in good condition. It points out some cracking and loss of mortar in exterior walls but concludes their general condition to be good.
Steiner could not be reached to comment this week.
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