Judge sets meeting on damaged building Historical structure at center of debate

January 05, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel Circuit judge wants lawyers for the Historic Annapolis Foundation, the city and a Main Street property owner to try to straighten out the legal morass brought on by the fire that destroyed 184-186 Main St.

Judge James C. Cawood Jr. has scheduled a meeting with the lawyers and building owner Thursday in his chambers.

Last week, Ronald B. Hollander, who owns the building gutted in a five-alarm fire Dec. 9, asked the court to review two city decisions that prevent him from demolishing the remains of the 1899 structure.

The week before, the Historic Annapolis Foundation sued to prevent Hollander from razing the facade before an evaluation and without approval from the city Historic Preservation Commission.

Cawood issued an order Dec. 23 forbidding Hollander to tear down the building and, at the same time, recommending that city officials decide quickly whether the charred brick ruins ought to be saved.

City public works officials had declared the building unsafe and said it could be demolished, but the officials backed off after fierce opposition from preservationists and denied Hollander's request.

Hollander filed a demolition request Dec. 23 with the Historic Preservation Commission, which must approve the work before public works officials can grant a nonemergency demolition permit in the historic district. It is not clear, however, whether the commission will add that request to the agenda for its Friday meeting or hold a separate hearing.

The next commission meeting is Feb. 10.

Demolition requests to the Historic Preservation Commission are supposed to be accompanied by architectural plans for a replacement structure. The commission could allow demolition with the condition that the landowner submit plans within a specified time, said Aliki Kulukundis, Historic Annapolis Foundation's director of preservation outreach.

City contractors have shored up the building at a cost of about $30,000. City officials say they will bill Hollander for the work, but Hollander has said he shouldn't have to pay for work that may have to be undone.

Pub Date: 1/05/98

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