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Fate of Hillsborough’s Colonial Inn Still Uncertain

By Danny Hooley Posted July 13, 2014 at 12:58 am

The fate of a historic Hillsborough building will be discussed Monday night at a meeting of the town Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners and citizens will get updates on the status of the 175-year-old Colonial Inn, located at 153 West King Street.

Francis Henry purchased the property at auction in 2001. Since then, Henry and the the Town of Hillsborough have waged a back-and-forth legal battle over the building.

The Town wants to preserve its architecture as an historic feature.

“It’s a very important building in Hillsborough,” said Town of Hillsborough Planner Stephanie Trueblood. “It’s got a very long and significant history in this town, and the Historic District Commission has the authority under state statutes to deny a demolition request for that building because that building has been granted statewide significance by the State Historic Preservation Office.”

But Henry has applied to the town to demolish the building.

Neighbors began complaining about the run-down condition of the Colonial Inn a year after Henry bought it. Since then, the town has repeatedly taken action against Henry for non-compliance with repair orders.

Trueblood walked through the site along with Henry, a fire marshal and some Orange County building inspectors back in September 2011.

Here’s what she found there:

“A few electrical issues, some structural issues, and some fire safety issues as well.”

The Town declared the building uninhabitable in 2012. Over the recent Fourth of July holiday, the Fire Department was called to investigate a reported natural gas smell at the Colonial Inn.

Officials are now considering measures to cut off utilities at the building.

Tonight’s discussion at the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners Meeting will be an information session led by Town Attorney Bob Hornik.

The meeting takes place at 7p.m. July 14 at The Town Barn, located at 101 East Orange Street. And you are invited.

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