2320 Colfax Ave S
This morning, I voted with a large Council majority (11 to 2) to allow the demolition of the rooming house at 2320 Colfax in Ward 10. This was a difficult decision, so I wanted to take the time to explain my vote. See more below the fold.
I want to be clear that this was not a case of the City tearing down this structure, but of the Council having to decide whether to restrict the private property owner from tearing down the structure he owns.
The key question for me in this case was whether this house meets the standards in the ordinance for a historic landmark. The analysis of our professional Historic Preservation staff was that it does not. It has lost its integrity as a historic resource due to three fires, substantial rebuilding, loss of original windows and siding and more. Given that analysis, I did not see a compelling reason for the City to restrict the property owner’s rights.
I also want to add that some of the rhetoric that was used by opponents of demolition of this house – especially towards my colleague Lisa Bender, the Council Member from Ward 10 – was simply unacceptable. I realize that emotions run high on issues of preservation and development, but that is no excuse for the sort of personal attacks and vitriol that were leveled at Council Member Bender. I hope that the very clear majority on this vote will help folks recognize that using this sort of rhetoric is not actually helpful to one’s cause.