Pierceville back on town agenda

Published 12:33 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2016

By Allison T. Williams

Staff writer

Smithfield town leaders are discussing the future of Pierceville, a dilapidated circa-1730s property that is in violation of the town’s historic preservation ordinance, on Tuesday.

The historic manor house and outbuildings at 502 Church St. are on the agenda for the Smithfield Town Council’s public buildings and welfare committee.

Property owner Mary Delk Crocker has been pursued by the town and Isle of Wight County since 2009 to make repairs on the historic property, which is considered to be one of the oldest in Smithfield. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

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Earlier this year, the Smithfield Board of Historic and Architectural Review rejected Crocker’s offer to donate the manor house to the town, as long as she could retain control of the outbuildings.

Crocker’s deadline to make repairs to bring the house into compliance with town code and the historic preservation overlay district ordinance ended on July 17, according to Smithfield Planning and Zoning Administrator William Saunders.

The site has been eyed for development several times. Last year, Hearndon Development’s proposal for a 151-unit subdivision fell through. Since then, Suffolk architect Stuart Resor has drawn up plans for an 80-unit housing development called, “Smithfield Village Estates.”

Preserve Smithfield, the group that sprung up in opposition to Hearndon’s proposed development, wants to purchase the property for use as a Colonial-era working farm. The group recently attained its non-profit status from the Commonwealth and continues to seek the same from the IRS.

Neither of those plans has been formally submitted to the town.

The Pierceville property, located at 502 Grace St. in downtown Smithfield, is listed for $2 million, with the historic Pierceville house and outbuildings offered “as is.”   {/mprestriction}