Targeted buildings fall in Sherburne’s historic district

SHERBURNE – Stewart’s Shops based in Saratoga Springs is still interested in the Sherburne Inn at 2 South Main St. and the adjacent building at 4 South Main, former home of the Sherburne Big M and is currently being used as apartment housing. If Stewart’s acquires the properties, it plans to demolish both buildings and construct a new convenience store and gas station on the site.

Both the Sherburne Inn and the former Big M buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, as they are both situated in Sherburne’s historical district and have been labeled contributing buildings to the historic district. Often, the construction of new buildings in historic districts are strongly encouraged to adhere to a design that maintains the character of the district. Any demolition or construction in Sherburne’s historic downtown must follow the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, enacted in 1975.

Although a building may be listed in the National Register, from a federal standpoint, property owners can still do whatever they like with their property unless federal monies have been invested in the property, according to the National Register website, If federal monies have been used on the buildings, then the property owner must allow an Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to have a say in the project.

Presuming Stewart’s project moves forward, it will become clear at a later date whether or not any government agencies beyond the local level will need to become involved in the process. If during the course of Stewart’s building plans it becomes apparent that federal monies have indeed been attached to the two properties at any point in the past, it will trigger the involvement of federal agencies.

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