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20200809 Simpson Demolition Correspondence 12-8-20 12/8/2020 Zimbra Zimbra jennifer.merriman@saratoga-springs.org 65 & 69 Phila Street Proposed Demolition From : Barbara Lombardo <blomba9096@aol.com> Tue, Dec 08, 2020 01:03 PM Subject :65 & 69 Phila Street Proposed Demolition To :jennifer merriman <jennifer.merriman@saratoga- springs.org> ' d FE.] Cc : barbaralombardo54@gmail.com, sbosshart@saratogapreservation.org, marketa halova DEC 0 8 2020 <marketa.halova@yahoo.com>, rnahill2@aol.com, aubree kammler <aubree.kammler@neric.org>, jane By--. weihe <jane.weihe@gmail.com> Reply To : Barbara Lombardo <blomba9096@aol.com> CAUTION: This email originated outside of the City network. Please contact IT Support if you need assistance determining if it's a threat before opening attachments or clicking any links. The request to demolish 65 and 69 Phila St. should be rejected. The owners should not be rewarded and allowed to profit from their intentional neglect. They have owned these adjacent properties for more than 15 and 25 years, respectively. Early on, the city denied their request to turn these two lots into three, and the owners continued to neglect the two houses even as they continued to buy and own other vacant houses in the city. They have had multiple opportunities to sell the Phila Street properties, as documented by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, which even underwrote a structural assessment for serious buyers. The Phila Street buildings should be reviewed in accordance with the Historic Review Ordinance and the demolition request denied. Sincerely, Barbara and Jim Lombardo 35 Park Place Saratoga Springs httnc•/Im caratnna-cnrinnc_nrn/h/nrintmassana?ir1=1144038.17=America/New York 1/1 302 Nelson Ave. Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (703)608-0624 Dece 8,2020 City of Saratoga Springs e tg, lli$1, Design Review Commission SaratogaCity l-474 Broadway Springs,alS r ngs, New York 12866 �� ��� ®�Zu2 By email to: tennifer.merrlman@saratoga-springs.org RE:Subject requests for DRC Meeting on December 9,2020: - 20200809 Simpson Request for Demolition—65 Phila Street - 20200852 Simpson Request for Demolition—69 Phila Street To the DRC, I am writing in opposition the above requests. I also am writing to express my wish that the Commission work diligently to press the relevant authorities in our City to enforce the applicable codes and to levy fines against the property owner until compliance is attained. I beg your indulgence to read the entirety of my letter. My wife and I are new to Saratoga Springs, having purchased a property in December 2018 and moved here in July 2019. We studied the city and its historic areas and boundaries when we began our home search in July 2018. We purchased an 1861 house that is not in a historic district but decided to invest a great deal of money to rehabilitate the home over the first months of residency to respect its history as if it were in a historic district. We expected that there were functioning enforcement mechanisms in the historic districts and we did not fear them—we were unable find a home in a historic district and were fortunate to find the house that we did ultimately purchase. During our many walks down Phila,we noticed these two properties and wondered "how is this possible in a functioning city with defined historic districts?" We came to Saratoga Springs with the belief that historic preservation was a fundamental asset to this community. As you are members of this committee, I am sure that you agree. I'm also sure that you, more than I, understand that enforcing preservation is a heavy lift for those empowered to do so. For that, I am greatly appreciative of your continued service. My wife and I were on the Board of Directors of our Homeowners Association for 14 years(2005-2019) prior to moving to Saratoga Springs from suburban Washington, DC. That community was a townhome community with extremely strict covenants enforceable by deed and state law. I was a homeowner there for 15 years before I came to understand the covenants which I had received and never read. Issues arose when,in 2005,our twenty-year old community began to suffer due to the lack of maintenance by homeowners. The community was awakened, numerous people wanted to be on the Board,and the Board engaged the community to take action to enforce the existing covenants—the answers were already written and codified-and just waiting for people to engage. We were greatly aided by the fact that the community cared about their property values and also did not want to live in proximity to homes that were not being maintained. Ultimately,we succeeded in making homeowners aware of the existing covenants and fairly enforcing those covenants, including the assessment and collection of fines. And we succeeded in improving and maintaining our community appearance and home values. My point is that I understand how very important it is to enforce covenants so that the objectives of the historic district covenant are realized. I would hope that both the DRC and even the applicant would have to agree that applicable historic covenants and laws(NYS Property Maintenance Code) have not been enforced in regards to the subject properties. Legal methods exist but are failing to be used because people are failing to do the hard work of engaging these methods. Back to this situation. Thanks to excellent public records, I have studied the history of actions and inactions on these two properties and I am saddened that we find ourselves at this point. Clearly,the property owner,an LLC, has a right to seek profit from its asset. But the property owner has responsibilities to maintain the property per NYS Property Maintenance Code and to adhere to the historic district design guidelines,which have clearly been ignored. The NYS Property Maintenance Code provides outstanding detail and numerous professional inspections have been completed on these properties producing an exhaustive list of actions that have neither been implemented by the owner nor enforced by the city. The same gaps and actions exist to bring the properties into compliance with our city's Historic Review Ordinance. The property owner is clearly testing the strength and resolve each DRC member and,in fact,the strength and will of City Commissioners who hold the authority to enforce corrective actions and levy fines. I expect it is not hyperbole when I say that there may never be a better test of the city's will to support its historic districts than it does with these two houses. And now this property owner wishes to be financially rewarded for 18 and 26 years of neglect(65 and 69 Phila, respectively) by demolishing these historic buildings and putting up new revenue generating or profit-making houses in their place ...when their initial purchases required respect for the buildings they now wish to destroy. Each of you would reward this property owner by voting to grant demolition and further by not working to insist that the city take action to enforce corrective actions and to levy fines. It is not too late to put these properties on a path to meeting the goals of our Historic Districts. Given the facts,I request that each member of the DRC: 1. Deny these requests with prejudice. The requests have no merit and I would hope that the commission's decision is unanimous. 2. Draft and agree a DRC resolution to present to the City Council requesting that the Council a. enforce actions to bring these properties in alignment with the NYS Property Maintenance Code b. enforce actions to bring these properties in alignment with City of Saratoga Springs Historic Review Ordinance c. levy fines against the property owner to the fullest extent of the law As a member of this community, I pledge to do my part to actively support the DRC and City Council to take the actions specified above. I expect the DRC and the City Council to act. Respectfully submitted, f 41/ ' 1 p fit` . Mitchell E.Cohen