Carrie Baniszewskiis the SWP’s new Project Manager for Physical Development. Carrie will be the new staff member for the Historic Preservation Committee.
Historic Buildings in Poppleton
Committee is not clear on agreements in the past to ensure the preservation of historic buildings in Poppleton under the La Cite development. Walter had shared an MOA (memorandum of agreement) from 2006-2007, which was a ten year agreement with a 5 year extension.
Scott updated the Committee on what has been happening in the Poppleton neighborhood: presented the Committee’s letter to proactively state the Committee’s opposition to having habitable historic houses demolished. At the Board meeting there were questions about why the letter was immediately needed, and the Board decided to delay voting on the letter.
2 weeks later there was notice that houses on the 300 block of N Carrollton were going to be demolished. The houses were demolished.
The SWP Executive Committee approved a letter of support for the La Cite project in the last month. The letter did not go through the Board, and there are questions that need to be clarified at the next Board meeting. Scott will be looking to the Committee for guidance on how to navigate addressing the letter at the next Board meeting.
Jane asked how many historic structures remain in Poppleton? Unknown–the houses demolished are houses that the Committee would have fought to save, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were actually legally historic.
Eric: CHAP also frustrated with where they are with this Poppleton development. Looking at the MOA has an expiration date of December 2021–extended after the first 10 years. One of the things that they did get out of it was the nomination of the Historic Hollins Roundhouse District. There was an agreement to create a park across the street from the Poe House, preservation of the Boss Kelly House, and the Sarah Ann St Houses. Even in 2003-2004 the neighborhood lost some of its historic integrity.
There have been a lot of problems with La Cite, which resulted in a lawsuit that La Cite won in court. There are questions about the capacity of the developer in doing the project. Eric has emails out to people in HCD and HABC asking questions about land disposition.
Eric has some questions so he can go back with next steps–would like to find out why buildings are being demolished (because they are part of phase 2? Are they condemned?), and do a walk around survey to identify the historic buildings are left. If the SWP and the Preservation Committee, the planner, and HCD, HABC representatives go out could get a sense of what’s left and some pressure to preserve it. Need to figure out what we’re going to do. Also need to figure out who can come and talk to the Committee. Found a digital file of a lot of reports and notes from 2004-2006.
A question the Committee has is why are houses being demolished now? Houses most recently demolished were mostly habitable.
If the agreement outlining what needs to be preserved expires in December 2021 does that mean it’s the end? Yes. It can be extended if the City goes to get new state or federal subsidy. If it does get extended having a plan for preservation would be very helpful.
Walter is not convinced that the document is the tool–it is a Section 106 Document was triggered in order to provide mitigation for development that impacts existing historic districts. Need to think strategically about the right tool to get the leverage necessary to impact the change needed. One step might be to figure out what we want.
The agreement that expires in December 2021 is not the development agreement. It is a list of requests that need to be completed. Scott asked what has been completed. For example, the nominations were filed by La Cite but weren’t followed through by the relevant historic organizations (National Parks, MHT).
Scott asked if any imminent demolition was planned? Could write a letter asking for a moratorium on all demolitions that are not an absolute emergency. City Council representatives could also be involved.
Jane asked if the MOA could be used to get money for the projects that were never done? Eric and Jane discussed what the development plans were and the ways in which the agreement may or may not have been fulfilled.
Plan was for all the mitigation activities to be done in the 10 year time period, but the agreement was extended, and if the developer doesn’t have the funds they may not do the mitigation activities.
Maryland DHCD required Baltimore HCD to fulfill the terms of the agreement in order to receive funding through the Community Legacy Loan Fund.
Nicole: a lot of research that she’s been doing–there’s a rich history here, and would benefit the area as a whole if some pieces of Poppleton were preserved. Happy to help and assist in any way. Jane sees the act of preserving the history is an act of reparations.
Jane asked if the MOA expires in December does that mean that there’s no longer any protection for the Sarah Ann St Houses? Eric thinks that if there’s not an agreement in place they would be able to demolish what they want to.
The Committee voted to:
- Organize a walkthrough to identify historic properties in the next 2-3 weeks
- Write a letter requesting a demolition moratorium (as the SWP, a request of the Board)
- Write a letter asking that the developer be held to the terms of the mitigation agreement, and that the agreement be extended until the terms have been completed (as the SWP, a request of the Board)
March 27th at 2pm UMBC students will be presenting their research as well as having some storytelling about the history of the neighborhoods.
Committee reviewed previously discussed BRNI/CORE projects. Union Square is working on 8-12 S Calhoun, 1400 Hollins had sold. Bif would like 1300 Hollins to be a priority.
Scott would like to see applications for the Lord Baltimore Theater to focus on opening the store front spaces in front. Roger–would be a good idea unless its a construction problem.
Jane, Scott, Carrie, and Amanda will discuss exploring whether St Luke’s should be a BRNI/CORE project.