Friday, July 15, 2011

Urban Conservators Meeting CANCELLED. Preservationists plan next steps

At 1:36 Thursday and blanket email was sent from the Urban Conservator office:

Subject Meeting Cancellation Notice: The Urban Conervators hearing scheduled for July 15,2011 AM in the Martin Grisel Room has been cancelled.

No reason was given.

Preservationists breathed a sigh of relief but what's next?

Obviously this is not simply going away. Efforts to contact the Attorney General's office regarding the notification issue and hundreds of emails flooding the city council may have actually paid off. The bigger issue is how do we slow this process down further as this was likely the 'opening salvo' of the county land bank which seems less about banking property and more about demoing property.

Several issues have not gone away. First and foremost that these properties were already declared a nuisance without the benefit. of proper Section 106 review. That review was critical PRIOR to an actual nuisance declaration as under Federal Section 106 guidelines , in the event a property were determined historic the city is required to do a finding of adverse effect and the city is required to perform a further evaluation and explore the costs of stabilization rather than demo and that evaluation would have to be part of the actual nuisance hearing before a nuisance board.

The question now becomes are those properties ALREADY DECLARED a nuisance actually, "legally" a nuisance and given by the city request for these 106 hearings should the original declarations be invalidated and  new nuisance hearings convened.

I believe they should and that is why I intend to send a request to the city attorney asking for legal justification for these nuisance declaration to remain on these properties and ask the city how they expect to deal with a proper notification issue since these properties were declared a nuisance without the benefit of the proper 106 review in the first place.  The legal owners of these properties were 'denied' a process, in this case the opportunity to present evidence of historic eligibility and as a result the nuisance declaration is now part of an "illegal taking" of a property, with the use of Federal CDBG funds..

Based on that all property currently under a nuisance declaration MUST revert back to a condemn status.
Section 106 review process must occur BEFORE the nusiance declarations take place.There must also be waiting period as preservationists if they disagree with the Urban Conservators position  and choose to file a review request with OHPO. This, of course, ONLY applies to properties over 50 year old.

I will be curious to see their response

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