UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH officials had hoped to avoid razing the more than 100-year-old Pennell House at 5-7 Middle St. in Brunswick, rear, offering it free for the taking as long as the new owner moved it to another location.

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH officials had hoped to avoid razing the more than 100-year-old Pennell House at 5-7 Middle St. in Brunswick, rear, offering it free for the taking as long as the new owner moved it to another location.

BRUNSWICK

There have been no takers on the offer of a free house, so Planning Board members tonight will consider a request for its demolition.

Unitarian Universalist Church officials had hoped to avoid razing the more than 100-year-old Pennell House at 5-7 Middle St., offering it free for the taking as long as the new owner moved it to another location.

IN THIS JUNE 6, 2011 PHOTO, Brunswick Universalist Unitarian Church member Carter Ruff of Bath looks over the damage from an overnight fire. Unitarian Universalist Church officials had hoped to avoid razing the more than 100-year-old Pennell House at 5-7 Middle St., offering it free for the taking as long as the new owner moved it to another location.

IN THIS JUNE 6, 2011 PHOTO, Brunswick Universalist Unitarian Church member Carter Ruff of Bath looks over the damage from an overnight fire. Unitarian Universalist Church officials had hoped to avoid razing the more than 100-year-old Pennell House at 5-7 Middle St., offering it free for the taking as long as the new owner moved it to another location.

The site used to house congregational offices and Sunday school classes. But after a fire in 2011 burned the rest of the church building flat, the old house now is more a hindrance to reconstruction and compliance with building codes.

There have been no offers for it, presumably due to the expense.

“People have called the number, but there have been no credible offers,” said Mike Heath, chairman of the church’s board of directors. “A lot of people didn’t understand what was involved in moving a house.”

Planning Board members will scrutinize the church’s proposed building plan for the first time tonight. Previous plans had been submitted to staff, Heath said, but ultimately were withdrawn because they proved to be too expensive.

A final budget is still unknown, much of it dependent upon the board’s reaction to the proposed plan.

After the Planning Board approves the project, the church’s congregation will meet and vote on a final design, sometime in early May.

“We’re hoping that the final numbers will meet the funds available,” Heath said. “After the budget is finalized and we know how much the construction is going to cost, we’ll schedule the demolition with construction to start almost imme- diately afterward.”

Smith Reuter Lull Architects, of Lewiston, was hired to draft the new building’s site plan.

Worshipers have worked to raise money to build a new 8,652-square-foot structure in the former building’s place; however, incorporating the old house into the new church’s design proved just too expensive. Before construction can begin, the Pennell House has to be knocked down and removed.

The Planning Board is scheduled to review the building plan and act on the demolition request during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. in Brunswick Station.


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