Friday, October 3, 2008

To be or not to be - a landmark?

Picture an acre of ground on North Seminary in Woodstock. Imagine a lot that is 43,560 square feet. An area that is 208 feet by 208 feet. That's 2/3 of a football field on each side.

About a mile from downtown Woodstock. About a mile from the County's headquarters.

What's it worth? $325,000? $7.46/sq. ft.?

Now put a 7,300 sq. ft. building on it. Not new, but in usable condition. In fact, in business use right now. Still $325,000 - total?

Oh, wait. You can buy the building for $1.00. It's for sale. Really? Is there a sign out front? I didn't see one, last time I drove by.

The catch? You have to move the building. How much would Woodstock Christian Life Services pay you to move the building? Maybe a sign out front should read, "For Sale. Nice brick building. Will pay you $200,000. Take it. You can't leave it."

Is there some relationship between the owner's beating a quick path back to the City Council to try again to get its project approved (including demolition of Grace Hall) and this Monday night's meeting of the Woodstock Historic Preservation Commission?

Will the City Council have the "intestinal fortitude" to postpone further consideration of the WCLS Project, pending testimony, investigation, review and any recommendation of this Commission?

Or will it decide that a City Commission, staffed by volunteer residents handpicked by (guess who? - the City!), is merely a figurehead?

Who are the members of this Commission:

Tim Art, Chairman
Don Frick
Beverly Ganschow
Merida Johns
Lucia Matlock
Allen Stebbins
Erica Wilson

We have numerous commissions in Woodstock. If this Commission decides on Monday night to take up serious consideration of designating Grace Hall as a landmark, the City Council must defer any decision on demolition until receiving the final report from the Historic Preservation Commission.


DownByTheRiver said...

See my comments under "Gold Rush".

As a contitutional Libertarian, I believe that should anyone wish to preserve a part of "history", that the rightful owner does not wish to indulge, those wanting preservation should crack open their wallets and step up to the window. Anything else is theft, pure and simple. PERIOD.

There are 2 areas in which costs can be determined, and should be paid.

First - what is the property's value as offered (owner's valuation) and as contemplated (City, Civic Organization)? As you have 2 disparate interested parties, this value would be subject to negotiation, and (gasp!) would be suject to free market principles.

Second, there is an additional area of valuation to be considered. The difference in value between what the WCLS would have realized had they been able to develop their proposal fully with the demolition of Grace Hall, vs. what value can be realized should they need to develop around the property.

Not to mention the fact that as a religiously-chartered organization, they likely have additional weight in arguments of Constitutional standing and public sympathies. At least to the extent that what the WCLS can recover is, in excess of anticipated litigation costs.

Also recognize too, that due to their "moral" mission, they likely would enjoy free or greatly reduced legal costs via their congregational membership or sympathetic supporters.


what the woodstock nuisance meant to say said...

You are surprised that the City fills spots on a City commission? Who do you think should do it Santa Claus?