Preservationist harbors no hard feelings
LISBON — If local preservationist Stevie Halverstadt was still sore about being thrown off the new village architectural and historical review board, she had a funny way of showing it.
Halverstadt attended Thursday’s meeting of the AHR board as a respectful spectator and even participated in some of the discussions. There was no indication of any lingering hard feelings over being unceremoniously dumped from the board by village council just two days before.
“I really care about Lisbon, and if I have to do it this as a member of the public I will do that,” she said, following the meeting.
Mayor Joseph Morenz recommended Halverstadt be removed from the board for sending a letter without formal permission from the five-member board and failing to have the letter first reviewed by the village solicitor.
The letter was sent to JN Leasing, the company that purchased the home on North Beaver Street next to Numbers Brewery, which it also owns. JN intended to demolish the home as part of a planned expansion of the microbrewery and applied for a village permit to do so.
Halverstadt, who served as board chairwoman, and fellow board member Dennis “Doc” Roberts believed JN had to go first through the board and then discussed the issue with Morenz, who disagreed. He believes the board first needed to revise the 1988 law that created the AHR board since there had never been any board until now to enforce the law. Morenz also questioned whether the original map defining the boundaries of historic preservation district included the area where the 180-year home was located.
Believing she had Morenz’s support and the verbal support of the board majority, Halverstadt sent JN a certified letter telling them any planned changes would need board approval. After receiving the letter, as well as the demolition permit through Morenz’s intervention, JN’s Julie Vrable decided to move immediately rather than try to work things out with the village. Demolition began Tuesday and was completed Thursday.
While Halverstadt still believes she was treated unfairly and upset about never being given an opportunity to present council with her side of the story, she said it would be counterproductive to harbor a grudge.
“That’s just the way I am … I thought about the whole thing, and I’m not going to stop caring. I’ll just find other ways to help the village,” she said.
This was only the second meeting of the new AHR board, and the board took its first official action by granting the county Democratic Party permission to apply a fresh coat of paint to the face of the party headquarters on East Lincoln Way.
Party chairman Nick Barborak attended the meeting and told them they knew even before the latest controversy this was something that should probably go before the board. He learned this after a party member asked board member Gene Krotky at church whether the party needed permission to repaint the outside of its office.
Barborak is an attorney and he recommended the board undertake a thorough review of the 1988 law creating the AHR because it not only needs updated and clarified. “I think you have a lot of work that needs to be done and you need to sit down with your solicitor,” he said.
Board members told Barborak that is what they intend to do but they are just getting started.