It was intended to be a partial solution to a nagging problem. Last November, the City of Mount Dora purchased property for $798,000 (including closing costs) to develop as a downtown parking lot to help reduce the parking shortage.
The plan was to tear down the unsafe metal barn, as well as two small historic homes on the property located at the intersection of Third Avenue and Baker Street and replace them with a parking lot to accommodate varied estimated of 43 to 60 cars and public restrooms.
On January 30, the proposed demolition of the historic homes and barn, all built between 1925 and 1927, went before the Historic Preservation Board which denied the request. The Board, comprised of seven residents appointed by the City Council, is responsible for all matters relative to historic preservation in the city.
From the outside, one of the houses appears in poor condition, but the condition of the other is more difficult to ascertain.
The city could have brought its plans to the board for a preliminary review as part of its due diligence prior to purchasing the property, but instead opted to bring the proposed demolition for review only after the hefty transaction was complete.
The matter is slated to go before the City Council on March 5 when its members will decide whether to uphold the historic preservation of the buildings or replace them with the parking lot. If the council supports the historic preservation, it will then have to decide what to do with its newly acquired property.
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