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Lawrence neighbors protest church
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The church has filed for a City Hall permit to demolish the home at 1508 Vermont St., which is just west of the church and its parking lot. But neighbors, and now the Lawrence Preservation Alliance, are trying to convince the church to rethink those plans.

鈥淲e understand the concerns but we cannot afford to fix it or maintain it,鈥?said Larry Grant, chair of the church council. 鈥淚t has become a liability.鈥?
For years the church-owned house had been a rental, but it has been vacant since July. Grant said that selling the property isn鈥檛 feasible because part of the church鈥檚 parking lot is actually on the property that goes with the house. He said the church would have to lose a significant amount of parking if it sold the home.

Jim Connelly, who lives next door to the house proposed for demolition, said the home鈥檚 condition is too good for it to be torn down and removal of the house would create instability in the block.

鈥淥ur main concern is it would be a huge empty space, and then what do they do with that space?鈥?said Connelley, who said he has about 30 signatures on a petition opposing the demolition. 鈥淒o they put a playground in there, or do they put a parking lot in there?鈥?
Grant said the church doesn鈥檛 have any immediate plans for how to use the space. It simply would allow the property to become green space for the foreseeable future. Grant said the church is just trying to figure out a way to relieve itself of maintenance costs without losing its current parking.

The leader of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance said he thinks there is a way to save both the house and the parking. Dennis Brown, president of the LPA, said there are variances and other City Hall approvals that could be granted that would allow the house and the parking lot to co-exist. He said the LPA would take the lead in helping the church win approval of those variances.

Brown said the LPA also is looking for possible buyers that could move the house to another lot, but he said the LPA doesn鈥檛 prefer that option.

鈥淒emolishing or relocating the house really would hurt the stability of that immediate neighborhood,鈥?Brown said. 鈥淲hat is aggravating is that it is not a dilapidated structure.鈥?
Brown said he believes $5,000 to $10,000 of work could be done to the house to make it a perfectly fine rental.

鈥淪omeone could be living in it right now,鈥?Brown said.

Grant said the church has seen maintenance costs rise with issues of a leaking basement, wiring issues, heating and cooling issues, and several other items in need of repair.

Grant said the church has agreed to meet again with the LPA. He said he hopes to have a resolution for the property by May.

City Hall officials are responsible for issuing the demolition permit, but since the house isn鈥檛 listed as a historic structure or isn鈥檛 within the environs of a historic structure, there generally are no city regulations that would prevent the demolition.

wotoadgi 2015/09/01(Tue)10:21:40 編集
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