It will be very interesting to see how the board ducks and dodges around the Pleasant Street precedent when presented with the plan to build a Wright Home & Studio visitor and education center. Both cases involve demolition of structures in a historic district that are not, in and of themselves, architecturally significant. If Wright gets approved after Pleasant was denied, that's a lawsuit even I could probably win, and I wasn't a litigator.
The test in my view should be not whether one can demolish a structure that is not in and of itself significant, but what sort of structure can one replace it with. That is how the board should have approached the Pleasant Street issue. That is also the right approach, in my opinion, from a public-interest perspective — let's promote the building of forward-thinking structures that the next generation will look back on with pride.
The Wright plans, from what I have read, seem to fit that idea. It's entirely possible that the Pleasant Street plans would fit that idea too, but by all appearances the board never got to that question. They denied demolition without regard to the proposed replacement plan.
Answer Book 2019
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