After a historic house in Lebanon was demolished last week, there were far-reaching demands to change the city’s conservation policy. In the city council meeting on Tuesday, the city councils voted unanimously in favor.
The ordinance, approved by the city council, was drafted with the help of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and Historic Lebanon, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historic sites around the city.
It has established a moratorium on demolition of structures in areas that are being considered for listed districts and landmarks.
The reason for this ordinance was the demolition of Judge Nathan Green House at 607 W. Main St. This district has been designated a landmark of Lebanon by the Historic Preservation Commission. Several of the houses on this section of street and the surrounding offshoots date from the mid-19th century.
Unfortunately, the protection that the passage of such a proposal would have guaranteed was no longer in effect on September 25, when the house was demolished.
Via Lebanon City Hall, the HPC voted on September 14th to consider the property in the so-called West Main Street Historic District for preservation.
On Monday, the HPC asked planning staff to examine the Castle Heights campus, West Main Street and East Main Street, among other major landmarks for conservation, during a special session.
The regulation goes on to say that the city believes that such a change will “promote, protect and facilitate the public health, safety and well-being of the community through coordinated and practical land use and development”.
With the approval of the moratorium, the city council ensured that in these areas, listed buildings, would be protected by the measure until the end of June 2022.
However, a conditional clause in the regulation opens up the possibility of demolition in the event of a conviction or natural disaster, pending a decision with the building complaints committee.
During discussions at the September 28 Lebanon Planning Commission meeting, Councilor Camille Burdine proposed an ordinance aimed at limiting the number of auto repair and cleaning companies moving to the city.
An ordinance was drawn up that changes the permitted uses in general commercial areas so that car repairs and cleaning are excluded.
This would leave these two services to a conditionally permitted use.
The regulation states that conditional use “would provide a supervisory level to protect surrounding developments”.
These layers could contain buffers like landscaping to keep the businesses out of sight.
During the time for comment, several city council members gave their views on the matter, relating to a particular location and case. The Sunset Restaurant at 640 S. Cumberland St. is closing its doors this weekend, and councilors say a car wash is expected to take place.
Mayor Rick Bell specifically said that he considered the timing of such a measure to be questionable. He said that it felt like we know something is coming and we are trying to stop it.
Across from the demolished Judge Green house, Bell said, “This is an interstate restaurant, not a 200-year-old house on Main Street.”
The city’s senior planner, Paul Corder, said that with suggestions like this, there is always the possibility that the company may not get through and the deal may fail.
Burdine argued for the other side of the coin: “Our city as a whole has no property. Our only control is the zoning and codes.
Burdine said she was worried: “If we don’t draw a line, we may not have what we want in our city in 20 or 30 years.”
Councilor Tick Bryan made an amendment to the regulation that was ultimately approved by the Council, saying, “I think it (the regulation) is thorough. But there is no reason to do it now. “
Instead, he offered the solution of proceeding with the regulation but specifying a date for its entry into force in the future. On Bryan’s side, the council agreed to set a future effective date of January 2022.