Final month, a demolition allow request for the property at 2708 Scenic Drive got here in entrance of the Historic Landmark Fee. The house, which was inbuilt 1952, has fallen into disrepair, however as an alternative of granting the allow, metropolis staffers and the fee initiated the historic zoning course of – a course of that got here to a halt this Monday.
At this week’s assembly, the fee modified its thoughts and granted the demolition allow, siding with the candidates within the opinion that the property has fallen too far into disrepair.
Based on metropolis documents from Could, the push for historic standing got here from the constructing’s age and construction, in addition to its historic affiliation. Initially constructed for legal professional Robert McGinnis and philanthropist Ethel Clift McGinnis, the house was designed by Roland Gommel Roessner, a professor on the College of Texas and an influential architect of the twentieth century.
Talking in Could, applicant Linda Sullivan made the case for demolition by noting the home had not been well-maintained over the previous 30 years. She pointed to the overgrowth of bushes on the property, an absence of gutter upkeep, water injury, rodent and bug injury, and a rancid scent all through the property.
Sullivan advised the fee that in an inspection she “walked via the home with a masks on and nonetheless had a reasonably extreme headache” by the point she left. Nonetheless, the fee took up metropolis staffers on their advice, unanimously voting to provoke the historic zoning course of as an alternative of granting the proprietor’s request for a demolition allow.
Commissioner Carl Larosche, who motioned to provoke the method, stated the house represented “very distinctive structure for its time. In trying on the property, I’m inspired by the potential for rehabilitation and adaptive reuse.”
This month, nevertheless, each metropolis staffers and the fee reversed course and ended up granting the demolition allow.
Chatting with the commissioners on Monday, Historic Preservation Officer Kalan Contreras stated that, “regardless of our early optimism, additional analysis confirmed employees sufficient inconsistencies in constructing integrity that we sadly can’t advocate additional motion in the direction of historic zoning at the moment.”
One other growth that’s taken place since Could is elevated neighborhood help for the demolition. Final month, one citizen remark was submitted in favor of the demolition. For the assembly Monday, there have been petitions, letters from neighborhood teams and submissions from particular person residents in favor of releasing the allow.
Peter Pfeiffer of Barley Pfeiffer Structure despatched a letter to the fee giving his opinion as a licensed architect. He famous that, whereas he’s conversant in the work of Roland Gommel Roessner, the Scenic Drive residence isn’t an incredible illustration of his work attributable to its deterioration and low development requirements.
Pfeiffer’s letter goes on to say that the house “has been an eyesore” for the neighborhood and assures the fee that “neighbors would don’t have any issues ought to this residence get replaced.”
Earlier than formally releasing the demolition allow, the commissioners supplied extra perception as to why they initiated the historic zoning course of within the first place, saying it was extra a precautionary measure within the broader mission of historic preservation.
Chair Terri Myers advised the fee, “We didn’t wish to simply get rid of a Roessner design with out some consideration.”
Commissioner Ben Heimsath stated he felt the fee had a considerate “dialogue in regards to the situation of the home and what its deserves is likely to be,” however it wasn’t price pursuing historic standing any additional, particularly if the house owners would quite demolish the property.
With little extra dialogue, the fee voted unanimously to launch the demolition allow with the completion of the documentation bundle.
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