Basalt may ban demolition of old buildings to `buy time’ |

Basalt may ban demolition of old buildings to `buy time’

Basalt officials may ban the demolition of old buildings later this month to buy time to craft permanent historic preservation guidelines.

Councilwoman Anne Freedman asked the other board members Tuesday night to be prepared for a vote on the moratorium at their next meeting, Sept. 26. It would affect buildings 75 years old and older.

She proposed approving the moratorium until historic guidelines are in place or no later than Jan. 1.

Her proposal was spurred in part by the destruction of a Victorian home Friday at 128 W. Hillside Dr. The house was believed to be at least 80 years old.

The corporate owner, Colorado La Paloma, applied for a demolition permit shortly after the Town Council first discussed the need for historic preservation guidelines.

Those guidelines could have made it tougher to demolish the house. However, a representative of the owner, architect Raul Gawrys, said the timing of the demolition was long planned and coincidental with the town’s work on historic preservation.

Freedman has championed historic preservation because she believes some of the town’s old treasures will be threatened with demolition or extreme alteration as property values rise.

She said Tuesday that she doesn’t think the town will require a lot of time to approve new historic preservation rules. She anticipates mirroring the codes of other Colorado towns.

In general terms, the code would preserve structures with historic or architectural significance that aren’t falling down. The rules would apply to buildings at least 75 years old, she said.

Freedman said she didn’t think the rules would be as onerous as some landowners or developers apparently fear.

“I don’t anticipate every building over 75 years old being given landmark status,” she said. “In the meantime, I think we need to take steps so that no buildings are being torn down.”

Other board members commented little on the idea but agreed to vote on the proposal at the next meeting.

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