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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Comments

Glenn

The city should be able to use eminent domain to seize these properties.  A property that is important to the city and is a historically recognized property both locally and nationally should be protected from development speculators by any means necessary

September 12, 2013 at 10:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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thackerspeedRegistered

It is possible to imagine that enemies of Tacoma could form coalitions for the purpose of buying historically significant buildings. The intent of the coalitions might involve strategic cultural and moral degradation—incitement of confusion, frustration, and conflict within Tacoma’s boundaries.

September 13, 2013 at 7:30 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

drone strikes against derelict building owners should be option on the table.

September 14, 2013 at 8:54 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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thackerspeedRegistered

The watchword with drone strikes is “Patience.” If the Russian or Chinese Navy were to send an aircraft carrier to Commencement Bay, then I think such an indirect approach to negotiations would signal to the owners of Old City Hall that the international community, not only City of Tacoma, does consider this leaking roof matter with the utmost gravity.

If the City of Tacoma were to take a unilateral approach and confront the building owners without the support of the international community, then the legal implications would only be compounded by the possible loss of credibility in terms of moral legitimation.

There is no question that the City of Tacoma has the manpower and weapon systems to seize Old City Hall. The unknown factor is the unintended consequences to Tacoma-at-large. Do we have enough intell at this time to insure that a calculated risk/forcible takeover of the building will settle the matter of the leaking roof, without a backlash of violence from extremist groups? Can we say with certainty “Peace Through Strength?” Should we say the drone option is not off the table? This the level that we need to debate this problem.

September 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

this is about sending a message…  love letter !

September 15, 2013 at 7:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published author Fred Davie

Let’s take the funding that the city council has previously declared it doesn’t have for maintaining the streets and use that for maintaining private property.

September 15, 2013 at 5:50 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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