BALANCE SHEET BLOG – HOLLYWOOD, FL


Historic Preservation
February 26, 2008, 1:16 AM
Filed under: City Staff, Historic Preservation

City Staff Need Training

February 26, 2008

The owners of a 2,000 square-foot single-family home on the SE corner of Tyler Street and 13th Avenue want to demolish the house which dates from 1944.  Their goal is to build instead a two-story 5-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home with loft, office, and access to a three-car garage from 13th Avenue.  Hollywood’s regulations require a total of seven on-site parking spaces for a dwelling of this magnitude.

Background

Back in 1995-96, the City of Hollywood designated this home a “contributing property” in the Harrison and Tyler Street Historic District. A contributing property is one that adds to the historical integrity or architectural qualities that make the historic district significant.  This 1944 home was found to contribute to the Tyler Street historic district, while a non-contributing property such as a newly built home-loft-office-garage, would not.  If we remove contributing structures, we eventually have no support for a historic district.

Hollywood used to have a historic preservation officer on staff but we have had no one in that position for several years.  This lack is nowhere more evident than in the staff memo dated February 26 on the subject of this property. Contrary to fundamental tenets of historic preservation law concerning contributing structures, the memo, which contained several errors, put forward the notion that the proposed new home would be equally compatible with the area.

Hollywood has taken some progressive steps over the years to preserve our city’s special historic character.  We have designated the historic downtown business district, the Tyler and Harrison Street historic district in Hollywood Lakes, and most recently the Broadwalk historic district on Hollywood Beach.  We need to train our staff to uphold these earlier actions rather than undo them one by one.

The Planning Director wisely decided to pull this demolition request from the Historic Preservation Board’s February agenda.  Before rescheduling it, we urge staff to review the existing Historic Designation Report on this property and provide a solid legal base for its findings and recommendations.

Further, we urge the City Manager and the Planning Director to seek sufficient funding so that at least one member of the planning staff can receive additional historic preservation training. Does it make sense for Hollywood, after spending money, time, and effort over many years on designating several historic districts, to lack sufficient historic preservation competence on its planning staff to protect and enhance these districts?

Update 3/28/08

The City’s Historic Preservation Board voted March 27 to recommend denial of this request for demolition.  That recommendation will now go to the City Commission for a final decision, probably sometime in April or early May. Several members of the Hollywood Historical Society attended the Board’s March 27 meeting and spoke in support of preserving the home as a contributing structure in the Tyler Street Historic District. The Board agreed.

 

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