Monday, February 28, 2011

The Door in the Wall

Most people are in enthusiastic approval of the renovations to 34-36 South Second Street, which have been going on for more than a year now. The plans for the exterior renovations were granted a certificate of appropriateness by the Historic Preservation Commission several years ago, and as the restoration has proceeded, people who remember those plans have generally agreed that they were being adhered to. A few weeks ago, however, an aberration appeared: a door in the wall, accessing the sitting porch that was added to the north wing of the building. 

At least one member of the Historic Preservation Commission and others who recall the approved plans don't remember this door, so its sudden appearance--apparently cut into the wall to accommodate some perceived need of the interior design--raises once again the question of enforcement. City Attorney Cheryl Roberts has reminded the HPC on several occasions that they have no enforcement power. Once they approve a plan, it is the responsibility of the code enforcement officer to ensure that the plans are carried out as they were approved. An alteration of this nature should have come back before the Historic Preservation Commission for approval, but it didn't. So, if in fact this is a departure from the original plan, the question is: Has this door gone unnoticed by the code enforcement officer, or did he take it upon himself to OK it?      

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