Cville Planning Commission Takes Steps To Declare Landmark Hotel Unsafe
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -
This week, the city of Charlottesville is taking steps to declare the skeleton of the unfinished Landmark Hotel unsafe.
Charlottesville City Council will make the final decision on what to do with the Landmark structure after hearing from the planning commission.
In front of the commission is a report that recommends the city either tear the structure down or make it safer until the builder can complete the project.
Charlottesville's Neighborhood Development Services office says the concrete eyesore has become an unsafe blight on the downtown mall.
“A blight issue means the building is in disrepair or unsafe,” says Jim Tolbert of Neighborhood Development Services. “Under the blight code, you can tell them to remove the structure or cure the blight.”
The city says the building's latest owner has taken little to no action to make the perimeter safer.
A preliminary report to the planning commission recommends declaring the property blighted.
“The number one responsibility of the City, especially with zoning and why we do zoning is public safety,” says Charlottesville planning commissioner Lisa Green. “If access is gained to upper floors, things can be thrown, off things may fall below and fall on someone.”
The report offers the commission two options.
One includes steps to better secure the property, such as building a higher wall held to the ground with concrete, adding additional fencing around the staircases to prevent access to the upper floors, or installing security cameras.
The city can take a lien against the Landmark property to pay for the cost of the work.
But fixing security isn't the only option. The other is to tear down the structure.
“It’s right in the staff report,” Green says. “Anyone who reads the staff report [sees] option two reads demolish.”
The planning commission will vote on the specific recommendations to make to City Council.
A final decision from City Council is expected in February.
The planning commission meeting begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
It is not known whether the hotel's owner will attend.
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Thursday, July 24 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:06:07 GMT
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