The plan has been proposed by Green Bay’s Historic Preservation Commission, which is an organization set up to help safeguard the future of the city’s cultural heritage. The idea is that owners of any property that is older than 50 years, will not be able to immediately demolish the structure. Instead, they will now need to wait for 15 days, for the chairman of the commission to consider whether or not the building has historic value, and whether it should be demolished or not.
If the plan goes ahead, the HPC will have the power to block any demolition attempts in the city, something which Roger Retzlaff, the commission’s chairman, has recognized as something that a great many older cities have.
Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing. There are city officials who do not support the new plan, believing that all it will do is add a whole new level of unnecessary bureaucracy to demolition applications, and that it will be a negative move for many property owners. This is partly down to the fact that, according to the Neighbourhood Development Supervisor Cheryl Renier-Wigg, many property owners submit applications when they’re all ready to go with the demolition, assuming it will be accepted. A 15 day delay could cause havoc.
There are also questions over what will happen with those who wish to do minor demolitions of walls themselves. An increase in availability of products such as HexArmor Gloves at Swift Trading means that it’s easier than ever for homeowners to do this.
The proposal is going to be reviewed further, and there may be an appeal process added. This would mean that buildings initially deemed as historic could still face demolition. The chances are that a great many proposals would be rejected under new rules, as almost half of all buildings in Green Bay are either 50 years or older. There are approximately 50 applications for demolition each year, which means that there could be a great many buildings saved.
Instigation of the plan is partly down to a 100 year old chancery in the Allouez area being knocked down three years ago, much to the disappointment of many residents. They therefore pushed for greater measures to protect such buildings. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission has actually faced quite a lot of resistance from those looking to make way for newer buildings. With a 15
day delay, it’s hoped that they won’t be caught by surprise when an historic demolition is planned.
To conclude, there’s a real split between those who are looking to make progress and build modern buildings within the city, and those who feel historic sites should be saved from demolition. Who’s side are you on?
Reuben Dickison is semi-retired freelance writer and blogger currently living in the United States. He holds degrees in Marketing and Public Administration with past jobs including consumer financial management, and private business management training and consulting. He has a passion for home renovation and construction and contributes to a variety of DIY publications.