- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A proposal heading to the City Council could prevent the demolition of some older Omaha homes until officials can determine whether the homes merit chances to remain standing.

Councilman Chris Jerram wants to make the city review applications for permits to demolish any building that’s at least 75 years old. As the proposal is fine-tuned and reaches the council for final consideration, that figure could be lowered to 50 years of age, according to the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/1UCLESV ).

The proposal was prompted by concerns raised after demolitions in the Dundee neighborhood of houses that appeared to be well-preserved and worth saving, Jerram said. They were torn down so the owners could expand their yards.

Dundee-Memorial Park Association President Adam Langdon said Dundee’s historic architecture and design diversity are a big part of what make it a great neighborhood. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places as a neighborhood, but most of its buildings are not designated as landmarks.

Under the proposal, historic preservation planners would have to determine whether a building was on the city’s demolition list for disrepair and whether the building had historic significance. If the building had historic value, planners would prepare a recommendation for the Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission.

The commission would have to cite specific reasons for concluding that the building had historic significance and would have to pursue a local landmark designation. If the permit were denied, the matter could be appealed to the Omaha Planning Board and City Council. The whole process could take up to four months.

“It slows (the process) down to consider alternatives to demolition, if it’s not on the code enforcement list or in peril because of fire or storm or decades of neglect,” Councilman Jerram told the commission last week. “It’s too easy to tear something down even if it’s been well-maintained.”

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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