During this afternoon’s special meeting, council members also approved the pursuit of a local historic district that would encompass the threatened home and ten other historic structures in the immediate area.
The moratorium on demolition, alteration or moving of any of the structures will be in effect for 182 days as per city ordinance. During that time, the city will pursue the creation of a local historic district – a process that will include robust opportunities for public input, including public hearings before the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council.
The emergency measure was necessary because of the owner’s expressed desire to demolish the home in the near future to redevelop the property, which is on the northeast corner of Main Street and 2nd Avenue and is currently being used as a multi-unit apartment building.
“When it became clear that this historic home was in jeopardy, we had to move quickly to protect it,” said Mayor David Bieter. “Now that the structure is safe from the immediate threat, we will work to institute long-term protections for the whole area. We hope Boise residents will take part in this discussion as it plays out over the next several months.”
The new historic district, if ultimately approved, would include 11 contiguous properties on Main and Idaho streets near their intersections with 1st and 2nd streets (see map). This same area was proposed for inclusion in a local historic district in the 1990s, but it was never adopted. Since then, at least two historic homes in the area have been demolished.
While this area is part of a National Register Historic District, that designation does not protect the buildings from demolition. Local historic district designation requires historic preservation commission oversight of all “contributing” properties within the district, including demolition or any external modifications to existing buildings and design guidelines for new structures within its boundaries.
“This corner of Boise’s downtown is rich in architectural and political history,” said Boise City Council President Lauren McLean. “Today we passed an ordinance to prevent buildings from being demolished while we begin to develop a historic district to protect the neighborhood.”
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