You Have to Watch Them Every Minute….
by Larry Janezich
There was a lot of back and forth between the owner of 326 A Street, SE, near St. Mark’s Church and the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) the past couple of years over a proposed renovation of this property. The bottom line was HPRB’s approval of a renovation entailing the demolition of a small attached structure at the rear of the house. Any other demolition was to have been only after a report detailing conditions and plans regarding dismantling, salvaging, and reconstructing the house using as much of the original material as possible, and with the stricture that the east elevation of the house should be retained.
However, once a contractor gets started, sometimes it’s hard for them to stop. The result is shown above: a demolition that goes far beyond anything authorized by the HPRB, with no possibility for salvage, the construction material already having been hauled off.
Once the extent of the work was called to HPRB’ attention, an inspector slapped a stop work order on the project – too late to comply with any HPRB attempt to preserve a contributing structure to the Historic District. The contractor was reported to have justified the virtual raze by claiming unsafe conditions at the site.
HPRB has mandated that work cannot resume until a revised building permit is reviewed and approved by that office and approved by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs – the forced delay apparently being the only penalty for transgressing HPRB’s license.
As they say, sometimes it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.