Strasbourg City Council rejects the church’s request to demolish a historic house | Community news


When: Strasbourg district council, December 14.

What happened: Council sided with its Historic Architecture Review Committee when it voted unanimously to deny the First Presbyterian Church’s request to demolish the historic home it owns at 121 S. Decatur St.

Fund: Terry Sweigart, a representative for the church, and Rev. Bob Bronkema said they understood the value of properties in the borough, but their decision to want to demolish the house was tied to their long-term planning strategy for the future and the need to expand the main church building in the future. Sweigart said the house would be very expensive to repair and questioned whether it was historically significant just because it was old and within historical limits.

HARB side: Tom Lainhoff, chairman of the review committee, said the house was built 225 years ago and is one of eight historic one-story buildings built in Strasbourg and one of two that survive today . He said the house was in a state of deterioration when the church bought it 20 years ago and has not been properly maintained over the years. He said he was also worried about what could happen to a log home on the property.

Quote: “We take stewardship very seriously, as does the church,” Lainhoff said. “There is nothing more important to HARB than the historical vestiges of the past in Strasbourg. We are strongly opposed to it.

On the advice side: Borough Director Steve Echternach read a 2013 Zoning Hearing Commission decision that granted the church’s waiver request that allowed them to take ownership of the residences at 119 and 121 S. Decatur St. and to add it to their property at 101 S. Decatur St. The square footage requirement was part of the request, as they wanted the lots at 119 and 121 S. Decatur St. to be smaller than what was allowed in the historic residential area and the intention at the time was to sell the houses.

Budget adopted: The council passed the 2022 budget without a tax increase and passed a resolution to set the tax rate at 3.03 miles.

Other news: A conditional use hearing was held to review Strasburg Scooters’ plans to expand their business at 246 N. Decatur St. to the lot adjacent to 252 N. Decatur St. Owner Marc Crusemire said the expansion is needed to add more parking and to make the business more functional. A storage structure is proposed for the site, as well as landscaping, a new sign and sidewalks. He said there will be an area where customers can learn how to properly ride the scooters before they take them on the road. The expansion is not expected to increase traffic on Route 896, he said. Council has 45 days to make a decision and plans to do so at its January 11 meeting.


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