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Historic Preservation - No Demo Permit Needed To Partially Remove Building During ‘Restoration’

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A neighborhood association improperly interpreted the term "demolition" in isolation, an appellate court ruled. Developers did not need a demolition permit to "restore" a historical landmark by removing a third of the building. The sections the developer sought to remove were not part of the original building or appearance.

Facts: The River Road neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas became a designated "Historic District" in 2010. A year earlier, a group of developers bought a property in the neighborhood, on Lindell Place. The house on that property was originally built around 1950. Since then, numerous additions and changes had been made to the house, including an addition, a patio, a wraparound porch, and a swimming pool. These non-original features were generally inconsistent with the architectural style of the house. Many of these features also suffered from "basic poor workmanship."

The developers---Five Aces/SA, Ltd., Reilly Brothers Property Co., LLC, and Asher Reilly---applied for a "renovation and new construction" permit from the City of San Antonio’s Historic and Design Review Commission (Historic Commission). In the permit application, the developers explained their plan to "renovate" the existing residence and add a two-story building containing six apartment units.

The renovation plans included "alter[ing] the existing structure by removing each of the ... non-contributing elements"---i.e., the various additions made after 1950. The developers also planned to replace the existing shingle roof with a standing seam metal roof, which wasn’t original t[...]

 
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