Commission denies appeal of hospital demolition

The old Boulder City Hospital on Park Place is one step closer to being demolished.

On Oct. 21, the Planning Commission rejected the appeal, 4-1, from the Historic Boulder City Foundation that property owner Randy Schams’ permit was obtained incorrectly.

Commission member Schams and chairman Jim Giannosa did not vote because of personal interests in the matter.

The opinion of the commission now goes to City Council, which will make a final decision on the permit during its meeting Nov. 10.

Attorney John Hawley, representing the foundation, argued that the city didn’t meet five criteria required by a zoning ordinance for the permit application process to be considered legal. The city then has as many as 45 days to complete the process, which Boulder City completed in 21 days.

“The hearing (for Schams’ demolition permit) was held almost a month prior to the hospital actually being sold,” Hawley said. “What they did wrong with this procedure in the first place was having a hearing on a property that wasn’t owned by the person who requested the hearing.”

According to community development director Brok Armantrout, a permit may be obtained by a future owner with the current owner’s approval, which Schams had.

The foundation’s attorney also said the city needed to provide a written and photographic history of the building. Although the city provided the written history, it had citizens take and send in photos of the old hospital.

Armantrout said that citizens offering help to the city is legal, saying it’s “not in the code and not required” for the city to provide the history itself.

“We were perfectly willing and able to do it ourselves,” Armantrout said. “They were wanting to participate so they were allowed to assist.”

Another major reason why an appeal was filed against Schams’ demolition permit was naturally occurring asbestos.

The naturally occurring asbestos that would arise from the building as it fell would be harmful to all residents of Boulder City, not just the ones nearby, according to Hawley.

Armantrout said there are safety measures that will mitigate the amount of asbestos that would come from the building and site.

The city encouraged Schams in person and through a letter not to tear down the building, according to Armantrout, and made Schams aware of possible economic incentives he could get for leaving the building intact.

On the contrary, Hawley and the foundation say that the city didn’t try hard enough, as was evident when the city finished the permit process with 24 days remaining until deadline.

Both sides agreed that zoning ordinance 11-27-6 was rather vague in its attempt to dissect what must happen for a historic building to be demolished, and said the code should be looked at in the future.

After formal arguments concluded, members of the public were allowed to comment.

Most of those attending the meeting were outraged, going after the city publicly and personally when taking the stand.

After 45 minutes of public comment, the board made its decision, and Schams was granted the demolition permit.

Commission members Fritz McDonald, Cokie Booth, Glen Leavitt and Paul Matsuka approved the permit while member John Redlinger voted against it.

— Contact reporter Randy Faehnrich at rfaehnrich@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @RandyFaehnrich

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