NEWBERRY ‒ The Newberry Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) has approved a request by the First Baptist Church of Newberry to demolish a residence. On Nov. 7 the Board approved a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the residence located at 90 N.W. 255th Street, next door to the church.

The action came after concerns were raised that the building is a structure in the historic district and an example of a Craftsman architectural style. Initially, Newberry Principal Planner Jean-Paul Perez recommended against approval of the demolition, suggesting the church consider relocation of the single-family home.

Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe said the City has worked with the owner for three years to relocate the building to another property. Although some people showed interest, none were able to either find a property to move the building to or couldn’t afford the cost of moving the structure and rehabilitating it at another location.

Church representative Bill Martin described the lengths to which the church has gone in an effort to get the building moved. Martin said that the building has serious termite infestation observed around the windows and that the back part of the building has already collapsed. He said it was not structurally sound and the church had already begun to remove the windows and some of the doors to repurpose them for other projects. Martin said he wasn’t aware that they needed to apply for a permit to dismantle the building as the church owned the structure.

Upon learning of the prior efforts to relocate the building, Perez reversed his recommendation from denial to approval. Board members unanimously approved the application to demolish the structure. The church plans to use the soon-be-vacant property for additional church parking.

A second request for approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness in the City’s Historic District did not end as well when the Board voted to delay the action until Dec. 5. Pat Post applied to construct a single-family home at 144 S.W. 258th Street. An artist’s rendering of the 1,258-square-foot home was included in the presentation. Although the City was able to request certain embellishments to the home to make it fit in better with the historic feel of the neighborhood, Board members deemed the structure “cookie cutter” in design.

They unanimously voted to table the item to the Dec. 5 meeting to establish what the guidelines should be for new additions in that district. Perez informed the Board that they could vote to extend again at that meeting if necessary.

In other business, Perez updated the Board on the funded State Small Matching Grant for an Historic Resources Survey. Perez said the grant has been fully executed, and staff is working to issue a Request for Proposals. The City last conducted an historic survey in 2011.

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