Thursday, April 13, 2017


The lovely historic home at 32 Grenada Street will be preserved by mediated settlement, subject to City Commission approval. KUDOS to the participants in today's successful mediation before Terrance Edward Schmidt, including Lee Geanuleas, U.S.N. (Ret.), Melinda Rakoncay, Trey Asner, B.J. Kalaidi, St. Augustine City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E., Assistant City Attorney Denise May, Planning and Building Director David Birchim, Historic Presevation Director Jenny Wolfe, 32 Grenada Street (now called WISTERIA HOUSE) building owner Louis John Arbizzani and lawyer Sidney Franklyn Ansbacher of Upchurch, Bailey & Upchurch.

The St. Augustine Record was not there. So much for its bragging Palm Sunday house ad, in which it claimed to cover the news in City Hall, while attacking blogs.

I was there, taking copious notes (almost half a legal pad) and helping our City secure the victory for historic preservation.

WISTERIA HOUSE, will be preserved and moved one lot to the south to a lot where the current building has an authorized demolition permit. There will eventually be town homes built on the adjacent lots. The City will not pay to move WISTERIA HOUSE.

The marathon seven hour session was anxiously awaited by local residents who say, "enough is enough" when it comes to preserving and protecting our history and nature in St. Augustine, Florida.

It takes a village to save what County Commission Vice Chair Henry Dean has called "our village."

Today we saved a building.

Each of the 63+ public interest victories here since June 2005 represents a tribute to the character of our community, and the cooperation of people who love St. Augustine. Like any good diplomats, we will not take "no" as if it were an answer.

From this day forward, our City officials know they are empowered to declare buildings local landmarks, and halt the damn demolition derby perpetrated by the likes of FLAGLER COLLEGE, FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF AND BLIND, and assorted sordid "developers" (read: speculators).

(more later, perhaps -- check back later)

32 Grenada Street, declared a local landmark after LOUIS JOHN ARBIZZANI demanded to demolish it

Special Magistrate Terrence Edward Smith

Building owner LOUIS JOHN ARBIZZANI (left), with Kristy Weeks and Len Weeks (SAR)

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