Historic Preservation Committee Meeting
December 19th 2016
918 Lemmon St
The Committee would like to make sure that no buildings are taken down without adequate community notice and input, and that the buildings be deconstructed rather than demolished, allowing the neighborhoods to use the bricks for other projects
The first question to determine is what exactly we need to ask for in terms of notice–when is the soonest that the neighborhoods can be informed about proposed demolitions?
Dan Rodenburg reported that he often got the impression, from his work with CHAP, that they had very little notice of buildings be demolished–he would get notice day before or the day of.
Jane asked about what the process actually was for deciding to demolish a vacant building. The Committee discussed the question and decided that there didn’t seem to be a clear process from their perspective. Sometimes buildings are demolished quickly, and sometimes buildings that are known to be dangers to the community sit.
The Committee also discussed the importance of knowing how buildings for demolition are identified–are they reported through 311? Do Housing and/or CHAP have lists that they work from? Are there plans or reports that drive decisions?
311 data is available from OpenBaltimore immediately, and can be searched by address, neighborhood, complaint type, and status. Dan M is willing to look into creating a search that can be run regularly and shared with the association presidents.
In order to understand the timeline of notifications we will need to know more about the process–in the meantime 48 hours may be a good notification ask.
The second question is whether there needs to be a location identified to store deconstructed bricks before sending the letter. Elizabeth will check with Second Chance to see if they would be willing to allow the neighborhoods to store their bricks at their location.
A letter will be sent to the neighborhood association presidents letting them know that the project is being developed and asking if they would need their own location for bricks taken from buildings in their neighborhood or if they would mind having the bricks stored in common at a single location. If the neighborhoods would like their own bricks stored separately, we would ask them to help us identify a location to store them.
The Committee decided that they would be interested in using 311 data, permit data, and neighborhood reports to develop a database of buildings that are of concern–being both historic and vacant and potentially in danger of collapsing or being taken down. Scott suggested using social media to elicit examples from the community. Once this database is collected, we can set up regular check ins with appropriate people at the city asking about specific buildings. One source of information that would be particularly useful is a condition report of all the historic buildings in the Southwest Partnership area, which the City should have.
Dan M suggested setting up multiple ways that community members can communicate buildings that they are concerned about–a phone number, email, and online form that they could fill out. The Housing Committee could also be a good source of information.
Historic Sign Project
The Committee discussed fundraising for the historic sign project. Michael Mellett had mentioned it at the Hollins Roundhouse Neighborhood Association Board meeting, and the Board seemed interested. He thought a $250 donation and a letter of support was a reasonable request. It seemed to make sense for Union Square and Pigtown too. Elizabeth will put together a packet of information about the program to send to the neighborhoods.
Poppleton Historic District
Poppleton and Mount Clare are the two Southwest Partnership neighborhoods which are not on the National Register of Historic Places. CHAP is interested in working with the neighborhood on submitting an application if Poppleton is interested. Dotie and Dan R will look into it and bring the information to Poppleton Now, and will let the Committee know if they need any help. The Committee discussed historic sites in Poppleton, as well as across the area.
Committee elections will be held in January at the usual meeting.