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On Cape Cod, the demand for ocean-view real estate has always been high, and older homes on small, nonconforming lots are a fact of life. That combination can lead to some creative language on permit applications, where the words “substantial alterations” can be stretched to cover almost anything. In some cases — like this remodeling project in the town of Harwich — the real challenge lies in finding a way to save the old house for long enough to destroy it.