Demolition ordinance

See a slide show that illustrates local properties at risk of demolition (Quicktime).

JUNE 2005 City of St. Augustine Demolition Ordinance Modifications Overview

How do these changes differ from the existing ordinance?
These modifications further define what constitutes historic buildings and define which buildings would be considered to be of exceptional significance. The Historic Architectural Review Board will be able to outright deny the demolition of exceptionally significant buildings if its demolition will be detrimental to the historic and architectural character of the city. Currently this is done in other Florida cities such as Jacksonville, Miami, Miami Beach, Key West and other cities across the country such as Charleston, SC; San Antonio, TX; New Orleans, LA; Santa Monica, CA and Phoenix, AZ.

What happens to the current 12 month delay period?
Currently a demolition denial only carries a 12 month delay. The board will still be able to delay demolition to consider alternatives to demolition be considered, such as relocation. After a 12 month delay applicants would be required to reapply for demolition after which the board may delay the demolition for another 12 months if alternatives have not been fully considered by the applicant or circumstances requiring a further delay still exist. After both 12 month periods have been exhausted, the applicant will still be able to demolish the building if alternatives have not been found.

Are the application procedures different?
The requirements for an application for demolition of a building over the age of 50 years remains the same with additional information that may be requested by the board to make an informed decision. This information will be provided by the applicant at their expense, such as a report from an experienced preservation architect or engineer regarding the soundness of the structure and possible uses of the building.
All demolition applications will require the Planning and Building Department to post a sign on the property and to notify all owners within 150 feet of the building requested to be demolished 10 days before the meeting the demolition will be discussed. Application fees will be raised to cover part of this increased expense.

What if I cannot afford to rehabilitate the building and it cannot be used in its current condition?
There will be an economic hardship clause added that allows for the finances of the owner to be taken into account. Currently economic hardship cannot be considered at all. The owner must provide information showing this economic hardship.

How does the change to the timeframe for an appeal affect anything?
Currently the timeframe for appeals is 30 days except for the Historic Architectural Review Board, this change will bring the appeal timeframe into line with the rest of the citizen board appeal timeframes. If approved, appeals to the Historic Architectural Review Board can be filed within 30 days of the board’s actions.

What difference will be made by the addition of the words “exceptional significance or” into the enforcement code regarding buildings falling into disrepair?
Currently only owners of buildings in the historic preservation zones are prohibited from allowing their buildings to fall into disrepair due to the deleterious effects this would have on the historic districts. The added words will expand this responsibility to owners of buildings of exceptional significance regardless of their location in the city.