Burned Broad Street house set for demolition | TheUnion.com

Burned Broad Street house set for demolition

A historic Broad Street building struck by fire last month is set to be demolished.

The Nevada City Planning Commission voted 3 to zero Thursday to approve the demolition at 416 Broad St., finding the building to be “so damaged or dilapidated by fire that it is unusable and cannot reasonably be repaired or restored.”

Commissioner Stuart Lauters recused himself from the vote, and according to City Planner Amy Wolfson, Commissioner Nikiya Schwarz resigned, leaving a vacancy.

While there is no word on when the building will come down, applicant representative Richard Baker said they would work with the city to find the most appropriate time.

The building was scorched last month after the adjacent property at 414 Broad St. caught on fire. Authoritarians have not provided an update on that investigation after arresting Nathan Tomlinson on accusations of arson, burglary and trespassing just hours after the initial response.

Last August, the commission denied a request to demolish the building at 414 Broad St., despite an engineering report and staff recommendation finding the structure was too dilapidated to be reasonably repaired.

According to Baker, the building originating in 1881 would be rebuilt to a previous configuration rather than replicating the razed structure. A front porch similar to the neighboring building at 418 Broad St. and different windows would be added.

In the 1980s the structure was stripped of the vast majority of the interior finish and exterior siding, Baker said.

“Much of what you see there is a building that was completely made of ’contemporary materials,’” Baker said of the burned down building. “There was not a lot to it that still had the ancient structure.”

According to Commissioner Thomas Nigh, the ’80s renovation made the demolition decision easier.

“It makes it a lot easier and clearer to consider a demolition when there isn’t any historic material to preserve,” Nigh said. “(That) takes it out of the historic preservation context.”

The commission only considered the demolition at the meeting, as the replacement building proposal will return for an architectural review.

According to Baker, their insurance company is recommending removal of the structure down to the foundation, though they are not sure if that’s even salvageable.

While the plan has not officially been presented yet, Laurie Oberholtzer said she not worried about moving forward.

“I really like the idea and of course we know the Bakers always use all the real materials and all that kind of things,” Oberholtzer said. “I’m confident about what’s going to happen.”

According to Oberholtzer, while an engineering report is often used in demolition applications, this was an exception.

“I don’t think it’s necessary in this case, I think it’s pretty clear the building is gone.”

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

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