The fate of 723 2nd Street SW

Proponents of historic preservation were given a small 2 week window to show an adaptive reuse of 723 2nd street SW is feasible.  The city council had to answer 2 questions in compliance with the law.  RCO Chapter 19B.04

19B.04. Criteria for Recommended Designation of Heritage Preservation Sites. Subdivision 1. The Commission shall make its recommendations reflecting the following criteria:

  1. Its character, interest, or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the City, the State or the United States;
  2. Its location as a site of a significant historic event;
  3. Its location within and contribution as an element of an historic district;
  4. Its identification with a person who significantly contributed to the culture and development of the City;
  5. Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style period, form, or treatment;
  6. Its identification as the work of an architect or master builder whose individual efforts have influenced the development of the City or have contributed to the development of a nationally or internationally-recognized style or movement;
  7. Its embodiment of elements of architectural design, detail, material, or craftsmanship that represent a significant architectural innovation; or
  8. Its location, scale, or other physical characteristics representing an established and familiar visual feature or a neighborhood, a district, the community, or the City.

Here we concluded that the home was potentially historic because:

  • Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style period, form, or treatment;
  • Its location, scale, or other physical characteristics representing an established and familiar visual feature or a neighborhood, a district, the community, or the City.

The second question we had to answer was:

The state of repair, condition, and quality of construction of a structure recommended for designation as a Heritage Preservation Site must be such that maintaining its current use or establishing an adaptive reuse of the structure is economically feasible.

This question I answered, “I don’t know.”  A number of failed attempts to reuse the home were explained and I personally know that the home is in tough shape.  We can string out the owner forever in the hopes of a solution.

While we would have liked to have given preservation proponents more time to find a solution we did at least stop an attempt to immediately issue a demolition permit.  If this house is to be saved proponents will need to show a viable and funded plan by the April 21 meeting.

There were some claims that heritage preservation amounted to a taking or violated property rights.  The US Supreme Court has already protected preservation ordinances.  While preservation ordinances place constraints on property owners it is no different than zoning requirements which have the same effect.

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