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HDC_11 02 1995Minutes Little Rock Historic District Commission Public Hearing November 2, 1995 5:00 PM The meeting was called to order at 5:00 PM by Chairman Bush. A quorum was present -- Julie Wiedower, John Bush, Tommy Jameson, Carl Menyhart and Bob Roddey. City Attorney Anthony Black was present. Neighborhoods and Planning staff Tim Polk and Shawn Spencer were present. Chairman Bush asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the October 19, 1995, meeting. A motion was made by Commissioner Wiedower to approve the minutes as received. Commissioner Menyhart seconded. Motion carried. 5 ayes. 0 noes. Item # 1 Applicant: David A. Couch Location: 615 East Capitol Request: Demolition of existing structure Mr. David Couch was present and explained the application. Mr. Couch represented the Trust that currently owns the property at 615 East Capitol. Mr. Couch stated that he wanted to make two legal points. (1) Since the Tates had owned the property prior to the creation of the Historic District, the property should not be subject to the Historic District's guidelines because the Tates have a vested right in the development of the property. (2) The Historic District's guidelines are unconstitutional because of the economics of the restoration precludes the owners from making any reasonable use of the property. Mr. Couch then explained the owners attempts to sell the property over the last four years, during which no offers had been received. Mr. Couch went into further detail about the cost and feasibility of rehabilitation and the economic restraints on the owners. A discussion between the Commission and Mr. Couch then followed. Chairman Bush asked if anyone else was present in support of the application. None were present. Chairman Bush then asked if anyone was present in support against the application. Mr. Jim McKenzie, representing the Quapaw Quarter Association, was strongly opposed to the demolition of the structure and asked the Commission to deny or defer the request for demolition. Chairman Bush stated that all letters pertaining to Item #1 had been received and read by the Commissioners. Mr. Charles Marratt, principal of Marratt Associates, was opposed to the application. Mr. Marratt gave examples of deteriorated structures that have been rehabilitated in the Historic District. In each of the examples the original owners could not afford to do the rehabilitations, but buyers were found that had the economic ability to restore the structures. Mr. Marratt then told the Commission that he felt that the property could be sold and rehabilitated if an aggressive real estate agent was employed by the owners. Mr. Richard Butler Jr., resident of MacArthur Park Historic District, spoke in opposition to the application. Mr. Butler gave a detailed description of the historical value of the property and the surrounding area. Mr. Butler asked the Commission to pursue the use of the structure as a visitor center and not to become a barrier to the new use. Mr. Jim Vanderberg, representing Navy Reserve Seabees, spoke in opposition of the application. Mr. Vanderberg was responsible for asking the Seabees to secure the structure at no cost to the owners or to the city. Mr. Vanderberg gave the Commission a technical description of the possibility of rehabilitation from his experiences as an architect and as a Seabee. Commissioner Jameson stated that bringing forth the application for demolition had increased the interest in the property, which in turn created more opportunities for the owners. Commissioner Jameson made a motion to defer the application for demolition. Commissioner Menyhart seconded. Motion carried. 5 ayes. 0 noes. Staff informed the Commission that there will be a public hearing on December 7, 1995. Commissioner Menyhart stated the need for the Commission to inspect the vinyl siding at Poe Travel. Chairman Bush asked staff to include a site visit to Poe Travel on the December agenda. There being no further business before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 6:00 PM.