2007-12-28 / Letters to the Editor

An enhancement to the historic district

As members of this community whose roots go back generations, we would like to voice our opinion concerning the Clancy Design Studio on North Main Road.

With all due respect to Mr. Anthony, Mr. Wright and Ms. Enright, we find ourselves on the opposite side of the issue. We do not believe that this 1.9 acre property surrounded by hundred's of acres of protected property is any threat to the so-called "windmill hill historic district." In fact, we believe it to be an asset both to the "hill" and to the town in general.

As a former board member of the Jamestown Historical Society, I find it appalling that certain members of this group have acted with so much hate and intolerance toward the Clancys. And, speaking of hate, the woman who physically and verbally accosted the Clancys at the recent Town Council meeting might want to get to an anger management class before she ends up in jail.

The historical society had the chance to buy the miller's house in 1996 when it came on the market, but failed to do so (so much for protecting the "hill"). The Clancys bought the miller's house, restored it and changed it to suit their needs as was their right. The barn studio was constructed by Andy Shrake, the same man who restored the windmill. The barn is a post and beam structure which was painted to match the windmill. The Clancys have kept the rural character of the area and at the same time have made the property uniquely theirs.

Jennifer and David Clancy are hardworking, talented artists who are trying to make a living producing beautiful handmade art glass. They are a fine example of young poeple preserving the historic craft of glassblowing. With a little research, I discovered that glassblowing began in America 400 years ago in, ironically, Jamestown, Va. We have on "Windmill Hill" our own piece of living history. The magic, mystery and artistry of glassblowing continues on.

Retail sales are not new to North Main Road, nor to other parts of Jamestown outside the commercial district. Retail items are sold at the farms, at the bait shop and at museums. As far as we know, customary home occupations are defined in the Jamestown Zoning Ordinance. The Clancy studio is not a retail outlet. The only saleable merchandise is what they have produced in their studio-nothing from China, all American made.

Recently, three members of the Jamestown Zoning Board agreed to allow retail sales on a limited basis from the Clancy studio. The studio would be open for sales from June to December, with limited hours. The Jamestown Town Council voted unanimously to support the decision of the three members. However, four zoning board members votes were needed for approval so the issue goes back to Superior Court for the judge's decision. In the meantime, the historical society continues to oppose the Clancys and I assume it pays for legal representation.

We see no reason why the historical society cannot live in harmony with their neighbors. This is a wonderful community - we don't need the hate.

One other thought: The Clancy house and studio could have been something very different, if the property had been purchased by someone else. Just think of a Florida or California house next to our precious windmill.

Anyone interested in viewing the Clancy home, workshop and story may go to the following Website: http://www.projo.com/ home/content/projo_20041128_ glass28.1259cd.html.

Sue and Bill Brayman

Jamestown

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