Thursday, August 18, 2016


We won again, today.  We, the People are being heard and heeded at last on demolitions.

32 Grenada Street

33 San Marco Avenue

At their August 18, 2016 meeting, St. Augustine Historic Architecture Review Board rejected four controversial demolitions.

Among them were:
o a retroactive demolition permit sought for 125 Washington Street (Russell & Anita Thomas, builder John Valdes);
o a demolition permit sought for two buildings at 33 San Marco Avenue, first built in 1865, contributing structures to the Abbott Tract National Register of Historic Places District (GPD, LLC, sought by architect Jerry Dixon); and
o a demolition permit for 32 Granada Street, built in 1880 (John Arbizzani, speaking for himself, with lawyer Sidney Franklyn Ansbacher and experts who never spoke).

The first three were denied outright. John Arbizzani's 32 Granada Street was set for a hearing on September 15th, subject to consideration of designating the Victorian home a local landmark.

I spoke in opposition to each of these demolition permits, and was delighted with the thought and effort by the Board and staff. Neighborhoods are being heard and heeded.

Arbizzani refused to sit down while public comment speakers spoke, standing in his portliness just behind us. I objected to this intimidation tactic.

Decisions are being made based on data, not political influence. Thank you, Mayor Nancy Shavr.

Influential good-ole-boys are no longer getting demolition permits at the drop of a hat.

Buying historic properties

Demolitions by neglect have fallen into disrepute.

A spirit is haunting our Nation's Oldest City -- a spirit of resolving problems amicably, while standing up to noxious nostrums emitted by history-destroying, wetland-killing, clear-cutting "developers" and their stable of whores and "testaliars" (as Professor Alan Dershowitz calls hired-gun expert witnesses).

UPDATE:  From George Gardner's St. Augustine Report:

35 San Marco AvenuePreservation rebuffs demolition   

   Preservation of historic buildings, and speakers for that preservation, won out over demolition of two historic properties at last Week's meeting of the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB).

Pat Merritt   John Arbizzani was in his sixth month of trying to get approval to demolish 32 Granada Street opposite the Lightner Museum when it was once again tabled "to determine if this building can be designated as a local landmark," board members agreed.
    Numerous speakers during public comment supported preservation of the building, which Arbizzani wants to demolish to build a single family home on the site and his adjacent lot, currently used for parking by agreement with the city.
   And Architect Jerry Dixon, speaking for new owners of 35 San Marco Avenue, was unable to convince the board to allow demolition for a new commercial/residential structure.
   Board member Paul Weaver said one of the two buildings "is a museum quality building."    Historic records date that building from 1865-85 while the second is 1899-1904. Both are hidden behind a long commercial storefront.
   Numerous Uptown Neighborhood residents spoke against demolition, resident Pat Merritt saying, "We are losing far too much of our own culture," while board member Catherine Duncan said, "That's a part of the fabric of the neighborhood." 

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