The house that once served as the home of a popular nursery school in New Milford during the 20th century may soon be razed.

An application is before the town's Inland Wetlands Commission to demolish the structure at 34 East Street and build a 10,100-square-foot, four-story apartment building, with 36 apartments, in its place.

Built by John B. Marsh in 1861, the house was purchased n 1889 by State Sen. Andrew Mygatt and then became the property of the Barton family.

The Barton family operated a children's nursery school for many decades from the site. Later on, it was renovated to serve as a bed & breakfast by Ray and Rachel Barton.

It is commonly referred to these days as the Barton House.

The house is recognized as being in the New Milford Center Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

However, in 2008, the Zoning Commission approved demolishing the structure so a 12-office professional building could be built in its place.

No market could be found for the planned professional building, Paul Szymanski, P.E., representing the present property owner, Gary Romaniello, said in the recent Inland Wetlands application.

"A few alternatives were considered (for the property)," Szymanski wrote. "It was concluded the existing building could not be used... due to its structural limitations."

Rob Burkhart, president of the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation, is dismayed to hear of the latest plan.

"Slowly but surely, they are taking the history out of the historic center," Burkhart said of developers and land-use officials. "Zoning already approved the house's demolition for the medical building, saying there was no traffic issue."

"Well, there's certainly a traffic issue now. As it is, you can't get off of Whittlesey (Avenue) most times with the heavy traffic flow along East Street," Burkhart said. "Put a huge apartment building on that property and the cars coming and going will create a traffic hazard."

The proposed apartment building would sit parallel to the CVS pharmacy parking lot. Its driveway would run along that property line with parking behind the building.

When and if the Inland Wetlands Commission approves the project, an application would be submitted to the Zoning Commission.

Burkhart said he would fight approval of that application on the basis of traffic flow.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322