Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Aldermen Refuse to Hear Shaw House Barn Appeal

Shaw House at 1701 E. Jackson Ave.
Shaw House at 1701 E. Jackson Ave.

The Board of Aldermen tonight refused to hear an appeal of a decision that left the historical barn standing on the Shaw House property, at 1701 E. Jackson Ave.
The original decision by the Historic Preservation Commission did not allow Brian Development to relocate or demolish the barn. It did give them permission to tear down a caretaker’s cottage, a modern duplex and a modern single-family home, and a concrete pad. That decision allowing demolition was later overturned by the Aldermen, who sent it back to the commission.
In his motion tonight, Alderman Jay Hughes said the barn appeal was outside of time limitations, because it wasn’t put forward before the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting. His motion continued, stating that even if the appeal was timely, the board still would have denied it.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion, and any further efforts on the barn demolition would next be heard in the court system.
Hughes said the burden of showing six findings on how demolition would affect neighboring properties laid with developers. Because they didn’t provide such evidence, he said, the commission was within its rights to deny demolition, without considering the six findings.
A side view of Shaw House.
A side view of Shaw House.

That is not the case for approved demolition work, which has a higher burden of proof. In the previous appeal that sent the approved demolition decision back to the commission, the board said the commission must consider the six required elements. One example of the six elements is a discussion of how demolition will affect neighboring property values.
At the beginning of this evening’s Shaw House discussion, there was some disagreement about whether the barn demolition was ever denied.
Historic Preservation Commission member Julie Spears approached the podium and affirmed that the commission did deny demolition or relocation of the barn. She continued, saying the board should return the barn decision to the commission for further discussion, instead of an appeal.
Tom Freeland, an attorney for Shaw House neighbors William and Polina Wheeler, said that sending it back would incorrectly overturn the decision and that the board should hear the appeal.
Mayor George “Pat” Patterson recused himself, because he owns property adjoining Shaw House.
– Gretchen Stone, associate editor,,