Preserving historic architecture

Statement at Sept. 3 meeting of Lakewood City Council:

After multiple hearings with input from neighbors and the community at-large, the Architectural Board of Review recently approved the demolition of a structurally sound 1923 home to make way new construction proposed by the property owner. I have been following this matter with great interest. While I appreciate the thoughtful changes that have been made to the new home over the course of multiple hearings and the responsiveness of the homeowner and builder, I remain concerned that the Lakewood Codified Ordinances simply makes it too easy for homeowners to take the path of demolition rather than preservation.

The unique character and high property values of our City are tremendously influenced by our historic and irreplaceable housing stock. LCO Section 1133.09 allows for the demolition of a residential ho me built before 1945 if its replacement is approved by ABR as consistent with the design of the neighborhood. However, the section also explicitly states that “the City encourages conservation, preservation, redevelopment, and revitalization of residential neighborhoods to preserve their unique environments and for the public welfare of the City.”

I perceive inconsistency in LCO Section 1133.09 and would like to open up this conversation more broadly in a committee of Council’s choosing.

– Meghan F. George