Big Wrecking Balls: City, Yet Again, Considers How to Raze Buildings in Historic Districts
Turns out, all those negotiations may have been for nothing: At this very moment, the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee, part of the City Plan Commission, is meeting to discuss, among other things, "consideration and action on Certificates for Demolition in Historic Districts and other Demolitions of Substandard Structures." And, Unfair Park has learned, this morning's discussion deals with a city staff-proposed process that would, yet again, eliminate Landmark Committee from stepping in if the city wants to tear down a building in a historic district. Matter of fact, the City Attorney's Office would be given the authority to swing the wrecking ball at its discretion, with the City Plan Commission's OK -- and without any say-so from Landmark whatsoever.
Preservationists have long agreed that the city needs to be able to tear down "substandard" structures within historic districts -- say, a burned-out house with a negligent, out-of-town owner, or a building that presents a threat to health and safety. But several City Hall insiders with whom Unfair Park has spoken believe this new proposal, which they've read and which we'll get a copy of this morning, is aimed at getting rid of the vacant downtown buildings Mayor Tom Leppert called out last October. So perhaps that Statler shroud won't be needed after all?