The development team that is now redeveloping the former Mt. Pleasant Garage went before the city’s zoning board last week to fight an October stop-work order.
The development team that is now redeveloping the former Mt. Pleasant Garage at 7078 Lincoln Drive went before the city’s zoning board last week to fight the October stop work order it got after knocking down the old stone walls without a demolition permit.
Michael Phillips, an attorney for developer David Mednick, argued that because the building did not have an intact roof, it didn’t actually qualify as a building – so they should not have needed a demolition permit. Mednick did get a zoning permit and a building permit, which gave him permission to build a four-story addition on top of a one-story structure.
The city’s attorney, Leonard Reuter, said that the development team failed to alert the city that trusses for a previously removed roof remained intact. As a result, Reuter said, the four walls actually counted as a building. And since the developer didn’t tell the city that it planned to remove the trusses in his zoning permit application, his building permit is invalid.
“Because the removal of those trusses would have then [been] considered [to be] a demolition of the property,” Reuter said, “a demolition permit would have had to have been submitted.”
Phillips described the four old stone walls, first erected on that site around the early 20th century, as a structure but not a building because the old roof trusses were not supporting anything. The trusses that had been visible from the street were supported by stone piers and steel columns, but were not attached to the walls, he said, so their removal should not constitute demolition under the city’s zoning code.
“We don't believe the city has satisfied its burden to show that there were structural framing members of this building that were removed,” Phillips said. “This is really just a grave injustice. There's no other way to put it.”
A vote is scheduled for Wednesday’s zoning hearing on March 22.