Planning committee to look at demolition of downtown heritage property
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
The proposed demolition of a downtown heritage property will be discussed during the Planning and Environment Committee meeting on Monday (Sept. 24).
On the agenda during the meeting will be a staff recommendation for council to have no objection to a request by Farhi Holdings Corporation to demolish a building at 199 Queen St. The building is a Priority 2 heritage property. Staff is also suggesting no action be taken in regards to the demolition until an application has been made for the redevelopment of the site.
Staff is making the recommendations while noting there is a council policy that does not support the use of sites where a heritage property has been demolished for temporary surface parking lots.
The building is listed in the 2006 Inventory of Heritage Resources and has been recognized for inclusion in the Downtown Heritage Conservation District.
The report to planning committee says the owner, Farhi Holdings, recently acquired the property and is of the opinion that much of the heritage detailing to the building has disappeared as a result of previous renovations. As a result, it is being suggested further restoration would be too expensive, particularly around the need to make the property handicap-accessible.
In the report, prepared by Don Menard, the city’s heritage planner, it is stated Farhi Holdings has suggested removal of the building would allow for needed downtown parking spaces. Removal of the building, according to the report, would also assist Farhi Holdings in facilitating a larger redevelopment on lands, owned by the company, and that include adjacent surface parking.
While the committee could support the requested allowing for immediate demolition, it could also support it with the understanding a redevelopment plan for the site would have to come first. A third option would be to refuse the demolition.
Given what the report calls the imminence of a redevelopment application, staff recommend council advise the chief building official that it does not object to the request for demolition — pending the submission of a redevelopment proposal.
The issue will come to the planning committee as part of a public participation meeting. However, the discussion is a timed item that cannot take place before 7:30 p.m.
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