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City making progress on demolition ordinance

City making progress on demolition ordinance

September 25th, 2017 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

Jefferson City is working to establish a tiered demolition review process for properties and has sent a draft bill to two city commissions for recommendations.

During last Thursday's Public Works and Planning Committee meeting, Senior Planner Eric Barron presented a tiered structure for reviewing demolition proposals. The proposed bill established two processes: a demolition clearance and demolition review.

Under the historic preservation demolition clearance, the Jefferson City Historic Preservation Commission could approve or deny demolition permits for buildings older than 100 years if the commission bases the reasoning on findings of historic significance.

Property owners who receive denials could appeal to the Jefferson City Council. Public hearings would be held at both the commission and council meetings.

Barron said structures in locally designated historic districts would go through the same process as structures 100 years old or older, regardless of age.

The historic preservation demolition review process would be similar to the current process and would impact structures 50-99 years old. A property owner would submit an application to the Historic Preservation Commission, and the commission would make a recommendation to city staff on whether to to approve the demolition permit. The commission would not be able to deny a permit, but the denial recommendation could involve waiting periods so other options could be explored.

There would not be a public hearing or notification with this review process.

Property owners wanting to demolish a building less than 50 years old would not be required to go through a demolition review process.

The commission would consider historic criteria that currently exist for National Register nominations, as well as criteria relating to the visual impact on the streetscape or other historic properties. If the property is considered a "notable structure," the commission would be have to consider other criteria like deterioration of the building, location in a redevelopment area, similar structures in the city and plans for preservation of certain building elements, Barron said.

In June, city staff presented the tiered system for the demolition ordinance, but staff said they wanted to do more research before taking the ordinance to the Jefferson City Council.

The draft bill was sent to the Historic Preservation Commission and the city's Planning and Zoning Commission for discussion. The bill will be discussed independently, and the Public Works department will review any recommended changes from those commissions.

Several committee members said they also would like to hear more public comment about the draft bill before they vote.

The ordinance was first introduced to the Historic Preservation Commission in 2015 by the Historic City of Jefferson, a local nonprofit group. The commission approved its version of the ordinance in February after working on it for 18 months.

In April, the city's Planning and Protective Services Department heard comments from the public about the proposed ordinance — 34 in favor and 12 against. Some local real estate agents said they had concerns about the previously proposed ordinance because of uncertainty about whether properties are in locally designated historic districts.

The ordinance was sent back to the Public Works and Planning Committee after a City Council work session in May.