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City May Act to Repair Old City Hall Roof
The City of Tacoma is asking the current owners of Old City Hall to allow access to the building in order to perform emergency repairs to the historic structure's failing roof before the rainy season begins.
According to The News Tribune, the City is working a couple channels simultaneously. A formal request for access has been sent to property owners, Seattle-based Stratford Company. A hearing to determine whether the City should proceed on the matter or leave it to Stratford. has also been tentatively scheduled for September 18.
The City would like to reach an agreement with the property owners before the hearing, allowing work to go ahead as soon and as smoothly as possible. If an agreement cannot be worked out, the City will ask the hearing official for the authority to enter and complete the work anyway.
Aside from the failing roof, other code violations were found at a recent inspection, including a leaning staircase, loose masonry, and disconnected power and water. The City plans to let those go for the time being, while dealing with the iminent threat of water damage through the roof of the building's northeast tower.
More than a month ago the 120-year old building was reclassified from derelict to dangerous, thanks in large part to a leaking roof. The "dangerous" building designation is significant, because under current rules it allows the City to act to preserve the building. All of this comes as an ordinance is being considered that would give the City greater leverage in dealing with neglected historic properties. This new proposal would classify neglect of a historic structure as a public nuisance, giving the City authority to intervene at an earlier stage.
If the City completes the repairs - whether with or without building owner consent - it would place a lien on the property to pay for the repairs. That sounds less than ideal, but so does the alternative of letting Old City Hall go the way of the Luzon. What's a city to do?
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