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One-Year Reprieve

Future of 'yellow house:' sale or demolition?

After a year of meeting with engineers, contractors and architects to find to most cost-effective way of utilizing the "yellow house," owners Chris and Cathryn Adams have put the house on the market.

In January 2003 Adams' application to the Herndon Preservation Review Board for a demolition permit to tear down the house and replace it with a parking lot was deferred to February, when the application was rejected. They appealed the rejection and lost, giving them one year to decide what they wanted to do with the house.

"We looked into other ways to incorporate it into the business, like less expensive ways of storage ... we studied with architects to see if we could move it," said Chris Adams, owner of Adams-Green Funeral Home. "We didn't want to rush into the decision because we had 12 months."

Adams said the vacant house, that sits behind the funeral home along the W&OD Trail, was put on the market April 1 listed at $775,000, through McGrath Real Estate Services.

The house, commonly known as the "yellow house," was built in 1874 and once housed the Herndon School and the Fortnightly Club library, according to a brief from a survey of the town's historical structures and their heritage conducted in the late 1980s by Frazier Associates.

Henry Bibber, Herndon's director of community development, said the house has to stay on the market, at a reasonable price, for the next year before further actions can be taken.

"If it doesn't sell for the year it is up for sale," said Bibber, "then they can demolish it."

Tim McGrath, Realtor for the house, said the ideal situation would be someone purchasing the house, but so far he has not seen any interest.

Bibber said there are two options for the house. One would be someone willing to move the house to a residential spot where it could then be renovated, or a buyer willing to purchase it at the current location.

Adams explained he and his wife decided to put the house on the market because the current parking at the funeral home is not up to code, is inadequate and inconvenient for their patrons, and that although they tried many options to incorporate the house into their business, it did not work.

Bibber said that although he does not know of any parties interested in the house at the moment, "if anyone is interested in moving the house, that is something the town would encourage."