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story.lead_photo.caption A notice sign is posted Tuesday outside a home damaged during the May 22 tornado at 406 Union St. The JC Historic Preservation Commission held a meeting for more than 15 demolition hearings on properties in the area that were recently purchased by the JC school district. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Historic Preservation Commission on Monday approved demolition clearance applications and reviews for 17 homes owned by the Jefferson City School District.

The properties are part of a group of more than 30 properties the school district recently purchased. All of the properties were impacted by the May 22 tornado and are near the Jefferson City High School. Due to tornado damage, most of the structures on the properties are in need of demolition.

The properties are in an area bounded by Stadium Boulevard, Jackson Street, Oberman Place and Adams Street near Adkins Stadium. A majority of the acquired homes are in the 400 block of Union Street and 400 block of Case Avenue.

The district hopes to use the properties to provide athletic fields for the high school. Frank Underwood, director of facilities for the district, told the commission many of the high school athletic teams currently travel away from campus to practice.

"We feel that bringing all that onto one campus is going to allow our students not to have to travel to these places to go and compete and bring the high school up to a more modern standard," Underwood said.

Five of the properties reviewed by the commission are homes that are more than 100 years old. Properties of this age have to go through a demolition clearance process with the commission before any other steps toward demolition can take place.

The Jefferson City Council approved the special process for older properties in August 2018 after several years of debate. It requires properties older than 100 years or located in locally designated historic districts to go through the demolition clearance process.

Through the process, the commission can approve or deny a demolition permit. The review includes factors like historical significance, whether the building embodies distinctive characteristics of historical architecture and location of the property within a redevelopment area.

The properties — 406 Union St., 413 Stadium Blvd., 416 Case St., 420 Case St. and 1225 Adams St. — were determined by city staff not to have any historical value, despite being built in the early 1900s, said Jayme Abbott, neighborhood services manager.

No one spoke in support or opposition of any of the demolition clearances during the public hearings.

The commission unanimously approved the demolition clearance, which means the school district can proceed with the rest of the demolition process.

The other 12 properties were before the commission for a demolition review, a process with slightly less criteria than the five older properties. Properties 50-99 years of age go through this process.

The commission reviews the demolition applications and then recommends approval or denial to city staff, who make the final decision.

The 12 properties subjected to the demolition review were 403 Union St., 407 Stadium Blvd., 413 Union St., 414 Case St., 415 Case St., 417 Case St., 417 Stadium Blvd., 418 Union St., 419 Case St., 422 Union St., 1217 Adams St. and 1229 Adams St.

The commission also unanimously approved the demolition reviews for all 12 of the properties.

Underwood said the district will work with the commission or Historic City of Jefferson if either group would like to visit the properties before demolition to search for salvageable historic assets.

During the meeting, commission member Donna Deetz, who is also president of the Historic City of Jefferson, said they plan to take the district up on that offer. HCJ started the HCJ Architectural Salvage Shoppe, selling items saved from historic homes, back in July.

Other properties purchased by the district may need approval by the commission for demolition in the future, depending on the age of the structures.

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