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Historic House Could Be C-Store Site

STAFFORD, Conn. -- The future of one of this town's historic houses rests precariously on four zoning variances, which, if approved, would allow it to be razed for a Cumberland Farms convenience store.

According to the Manchester (Conn.) Journal-Inquirer, the 1816 Victorian at 111 West Main St. has been a residence to some prominent town residents, housed the Maple Grove Inn, and most recently, served as the four-star French restaurant, Chez Pierre. It will now be the topic of discussion at the next Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Dec. 2.

Pending approval from local regulatory authorities, Canton, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms Inc., plans to purchase the property, demolish the house, and install a 4,100-square-foot store with gas pumps and a protective canopy.

Cumberland Farms officials did not return phone calls to the Journal-Inquirer on two occasions last week.

The company needs variances on the gas service and signage aspects of the project before proceeding with a formal site plan review.

A similar Cumberland Farms store already exists in the town on River Road.

The proposal is being met with organized resistance from the Stafford Historical Society, which says it is not against Cumberland Farms itself, but only the plan to destroy the historic home.

"It's one of our historic treasures, and we have an obligation to stop this from happening," Stafford Historical Society Vice President Edward Bareiss said. "Our goal is real simple: Make no enemies and keep the building from being torn down. This is a great piece of history and for us to stand by and watch it be obliterated for a gas station is ludicrous."

The 10-room, 5,000-square-foot-house is registered for sale with Northeast Realty at an asking price of $350,000.
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