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Monday, November 27, 2006

4485 Vista Decision Deferred

Today, without discussion, the Preservation Board voted unanimously to defer for six months consideration of the demolition application for 4485 Vista.

We have six months to find a better future than destruction. Ideas?

25 comments:

Urban Review said...

Yeah, that took all of 90 seconds? How is that possible without them all having discussed and agreed behind closed doors that they'd support the staff recommendation to delay a decision? Don't get me wrong, I am happy with the decision but concerned about behind doors discussion and decision making.

Anonymous said...

6 months plus how many months up till now?

How long has LRA owned the building?

How long has it been on the neighborhood's "radar screen" as a "problem property"?

What happens after the next six months pass?

While we wait around, are there other forces at work drawing lines on maps that would lead to a new housing development on the same site, presumably one with aldermanic and neighborhood support?

Would the Preservation Board forestall demolition at that point?

Did anyone testify in favor of the demolition at the hearing?

Did anyone express interest in renovating the building at the hearing?

Did one neighborhood resident testify in favor of saving the building?

Well, with the matter being decided in 90 seconds, there probably wasn't any public testimony.

But were they there?

Samuel McRee said...

While we wait around, are there other forces at work drawing lines on maps that would lead to rehabbed historical housing on the site, presumably with aldermanic and neighborhood support?

Would the Preservation Board's decision to forestall demolition be seen as precient at that point?

Barbara said...

Yes, several folks signed up to speak against demolition, myself included. We waited through 2 hours of Lafayette Square and Tower Grove parking lot stress, then the board made a decision to defer without acknowledging those wishing to testify.

Michael Allen said...

Who wasn't there: the alderman, a representative of the FPSEDC, the NSO, neighborhood residents.

Who was there: two former neighborhood residents who lived two blocks from the house and several activists who had ideas for marketing the house to developers (which LRA and the FPSEDC have failed to do).

At 4:00 p.m. on a Monday, Preservation Board meetings are unlikely to draw attendance from residents of the Adams Grove sector of FPSE.

Anonymous said...

Former residents? Outside activists? Sorry, these opinions don't compare to the current neighborhood director and alderman.

Small Mind said...

"Former residents? Outside activists? Sorry, these opinions don't compare to the current neighborhood director and alderman."

It's good to see the Mayberry mentality is alive and well in St. Louis. I was beginning to think the city was on the rebound.

Does the 17th Ward let the "outside" police department aptrol within its bounds? Or the "outside" fire department to answer calls there? And does it use the city's street department, funded through citywide taxes, for street repairs?

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

I love that everyone's going "WHAT DOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD THINK" and when Michael and I try to offer our viewpoints as people who lived there just over a year ago and who were active in neighborhood groups there, and as people who still talk to our old neighbors on that block, folks go "NOT YOU. NEIGHBORHOOD PEOPLE!"

I realize we moved, but it's just, um, extra funny.... Since hearing that waves of demolition of historic buildings (i.e. THIS ONE) were coming were one of the main things that drove us out of FPSE when we wanted to buy. My opinion as a neighborhood resident was that I had to leave because of the coming loss of structures like 4485 Vista.

To answer a couple of other points that were brought up, LRA has owned the building since 2001. However, I am wary because a large number of the LRA properties in FPSE were classified for a very long time as Class C, meaning that they were not on the list of LRA for sale properties available to yer average buyer (like me). I DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS PROPERTY SPECIFICALLY, but that may have been the designation for this one as well, in which case it not selling is not necessarily indicative of a lack of interest. In general, the restriction of LRA properties in the area discourages any investment from potential buyers overall.

Also, when I lived two short blocks from this house, it was not on my personal problem property radar (and believe me, I am the kind of neighbor who makes that stuff my business).

You know what could easily be torn down to improve this end of this block of Vista? Something that you could tear down with my 100% support? The cul de sac--tear it down and replace it with a real street. Those things cause more problems for that little isolated triangle of Adams Grove than any one building ever will.

Anonymous said...

"My opinion as a neighborhood resident was that I had to leave because of the coming loss of structures like 4485 Vista."

Not to be an a**, but how's ONSL working out for you? No demo there I suppose . . .

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who this person is that keeps posting anonymous comments about keeping out of his wards business and attacking Claire, but he seems to think that the demolition of this one house will save the neighborhood.

I really doubt that not demolishing this house will change the neighborhood much. It seems some street and sidewalk cleanup would go along way to improving its look.

If your worried about crime in the house, demolishing it won't help. The drug dealers will just find another.

After all the six month wait will give the house more time to collapse or burn!

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

Har de har har.... I almost responded to that line in my previous post here 'cos I knew it was coming.

ONSL's great so far. Yes there is demo every now and then in Old North, but overall the neighborhood group is pretty focused on preserving what we have left. Contrast that with FPSE, where Forest West just took down a couple dozen historic structures with the blessing of the Development Corporation and the alderman. Lord knows what Blairmont has in store for us Near North Siders, but still.... If the wounded Mullanphy Emigrant Home were located in Adams Grove, do you think it would still be standing?

And last anony, nice points.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, or not, this thread is providing an excellent comparison between two neighborhoods, and their approaches to development.

In ONSL, neighbors want preservation. They want it bad. They are undertaking herculean tasks to save buildings. They are working to preserve their historic district. It is a public- private partnership based on consensus.

In FPSE, south of Manchester, east of Tower Grove, there is no historic district. There is a lot of new construction. Neighbors aren't clamoring for preservation in this part of the area, like they are north of Manchester.

North of Manchester is a new historic district. Rehab is happening. Years of effort started by the local neighborhood development corporation is now attracting many private investors.

If it weren't for the efforts of the FPSE Development Corporation, you wouldn't see the likes of the Gills in the area.

ONSL would like to see similar results in their area: the attracting of all-private investment in fullfilment of a long-range strategy built on public-private partnership.

Anonymous said...

Correction---

that last post should have read "no historic district *west* of Tower Grove".

Yes, there's no historic district for the residential area in FPSE anywhere south of Manchester, but in this discussion, we are talking about the (I'm saying it...) *remote* and mostly untravelled southwest corner of FPSE.

Anonymous said...

"If the wounded Mullanphy Emigrant Home were located in Adams Grove, do you think it would still be standing?"

Well, the once 'wounded' Adams School is looking pretty good!

BTW - there seem to be numerous anonymous posts (maybe one of these times I'll just sign up). I greatly appreciate the Eco-Absence site and both Michael and Claire. Often I agree with their comments, sometimes I don't. I live north of Manchester in Gibson Heights, but I would like to see 4485 preserved because I am vastly underwhelmed by basically every new home built in the city these days.

Also, comparing Adam's Grove (south of Manchester and east of Tower Grove) to ONSL is not fair. You're talking about a 4x2block area. Looking at a Google map it's not hard to find several like-sized areas in ONSL that is nearly void of any structure at all. I just believe it's more accurate to compare all of FPSE to all of ONSL. There's good and bad, but as an ealier post noted, having the Gills and others in FPSE is something that ONSL is striving for (or something similar).

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

This is interesting.

Anony, if you feel that you know very well what Adams Grove residents want, but you consider me/us invalid opinion havers because we are "outside activists" and "former residents" then, um, well....where do you live?

Not that I think this should be a game of Who Is Most In The Club, but it seems like you think it should, and that makes me wonder.

Anonymous said...

"If the wounded Mullanphy Emigrant Home were located in Adams Grove, do you think it would still be standing?"

Yeah, that's just a bit silly - there's so much more still standing in FPSE than in ONSL. I do like ONSL more though - more impressive homes, clearer, more classic architecture.

Michael Allen said...

"In FPSE, south of Manchester, east of Tower Grove, there is no historic district. There is a lot of new construction. Neighbors aren't clamoring for preservation in this part of the area, like they are north of Manchester."

This is total hogwash. There have been efforts to promote preservation in that part of FPSE for years. Several preservationists lived there, but nearly all have been driven out by the FPSEDC's march to clear-cut Adams Grove.

There is not a lot of new construction in Adams Grove, either. What has been built is junk that middle class urban planners would never see fit to make their home, but seem eager to foist upon other people.

There may be no historic district in Adams Grove, but an architectural survey this spring determined that 65-70% of buildings west of Boyle and south of Manchester were very likely to be eligible for listing on the National Register. Then came the demolition package, which was a sure-fire way to forestall a historic district. It's pretty easy now to come in and say there is no historic district there. As they say, history is written by the victors.

I will also submit that there really aren't that may preservationists in ONSL. Out of over 1500 residents, only a few of us go to meetings and stand up for our history -- but we get results because we are better organized and have a better neighborhood group. The difference between ONSL and FPSE is that the ONSL neighborhood group represents all residents, is sympathetic to historic preservation and is not beholden to the alderperson.

Anonymous said...

"Anony, if you feel that you know very well what Adams Grove residents want, but you consider me/us invalid opinion havers because we are "outside activists" and "former residents" then, um, well....where do you live?"

Do you realize that you're probably talking to 3 or 4 different people? "Anonymous" isn't always the same person. Look, again, I think that you and Michael provide a wonderful, amazing, invaluable service to the city and its neighborhoods. This website led me to get more involved. BUT, I'm sometimes surprised at just how sensitive your responses can be. If you want a blog where people can post comments, that's just the way it is. If everyone must pick a name and E-mail address I'll probably just pick a different one each time.

I think these boards are great if everyone focuses on the message and not the person (annonymity helps this and is not something to fear). And, it's your blog, just delete a post if you really find it offensive.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of negative comments here directed at the Forest Park Southeast Development Corporation.

From the website, http://www.fpsedc.org/board.html, here's a list of the Board of Directors:

Forest Park Southeast Development Corporation Board of Directors

President
Phil Minden
At-Large Member-Resident
Term expiration: 12/31/06

Vice President
Guy Slay
Business Association of Forest Park Southeast
Term expiration 12/31/08

Secretary
Craig Nashville
At-Large Member-Resident
Term expiration: 12/31/07

Treasurer
Saundra Moss
New Boyle Improvement Association
Term expiration: 12/31/06

Sandy Cline
At-Large Member
Term expiration: 12/31/06

Daniel Corbin
Ranken East Improvement Association
Term expiration: 02/28/06

Rebecca Diekemper
Gibson Heights Neighborhood Association
Term expiration: 12/31/08

La’Rhonda Garrett
At-Large Member
Term expiration: 12/31/08

Brian Philips
At-Large Member
Term expiration: 12/31/06

John Saunders Jr.
Corporate Member
Term expiration: 12/31/08

Chip Schloss
At-Large Member
Term expiration: 12/31/08

Sonda Thompson
Neighborhood Association Member (Gibson Heights)
Term expiration: 12/31/08

Compared to many neighborhood based nonprofit organizations, the Forest Park Southeast Development Corporation appears to have a good cross section of neighborhood residents and real estate and finance professionals on the board of directors.

Guy Slay's a leader.

Sandy Cline's with Commerce Bank

Phil Minden is a development pro and long time neighborhood resident.

Saundra Moss is a staunch advocate for low income residents.

Craig Nashville is an architect and neighborhood resident.

Do people really think these individuals are trying do wrong by the neighborhood?

jasper said...

^

of course not.

but where is the adams grove rep?

the rep from the community council?

do these board members even know about 4485 vista? the letters to cro about demo are signed by ald. joe and lra.

Anonymous said...

FPSEDC Board member Saundra Moss has been a long-time member of the Community Council... and is a mortician of the barber-trained variety I believe...or is it the other way around?

jasper said...

^

is moss a current member of the community council?

and my point is that there is no one on the board specifically representing the community council. anyone can tell me that a current board member is also a community council member. fine...but that doesn't address my concern at all!

joe sr. would never tolerate the kind of circus his boy is running.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jaspar-

Is the Community Council protesting these demolitions south of Manchester?

Anonymous said...

Yo Jasper,

From what I've been told, Joe Sr. was one of the biggest, old-school, machine politicians in the history of St. Louis.

What part of young Joe's circus would Joe Sr. not approve?

Anonymous said...

To answer Claire's question, I have lived four different places in the city, each a different ward, but never FPSE or the 17th ward. However, if I lived next to this house, I wouldn't appreciate someone who has moved away telling me to just deal with it for another six months.