Extreme Home Demolition Makeover

Speaking of the council getting back to work, it looks as though the city is trying to speed up the process that allows the demolition of properties within historic districts. In about half an hour, the city council's Public Safety Committee will meet to discuss, among other things, the streamlining of the process that will rid neighborhoods of structures deemed "an Imminent Threat to Health or Safety."

Right now, the process is rather complicated, as far as Theresa O’Donnell, director of the city's Development Services, is concerned, as it involves code enforcement, the City Attorney's Office, stops in municipal court or at the Fire Marshall's office, then final approval with the Landmark Commission. Development Services wants to cut the Landmark Commission out of the loop -- as in, "NO CERTIFICATE OF DEMOLITION IS REQUIRED FROM THE LMC" -- as it figures the process already "provides adequate review of the need to demolish historic properties" without its involvement.

Katherine Seale, president of Preservation Dallas, is out of town and unavailable to comment; Victoria Clow, PD's board president, was unaware of the proposal when reached by Unfair Park this morning; and the Landmark Commission is in its regular application-consideration meeting this morning. But the council doesn't seem to think much of the Landmark Commission anyway: According to its roster on the city's Web site, five of the positions are vacant, among them those designated for a historian and a landscape architect. --Robert Wilonsky

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