Concerned Buckhead residents packed out a meeting room in the Hyland Center at on Tuesday night to fight the possible demolition of the Randolph-Lucas House on Peachtree Road. The "Comments Only" hearing was part of the monthly meeting.
Attorney Hakim Hilliard of McKenna, Long & Aldridge was speaking on behalf of the Condo Association at 2500 Peachtree Street and told the zoning committee and those in attendance that his client has every intention of demolishing the historic home. However, they would prefer it be done on the grounds that it is an unsafe building, he said.
"The condo association intends to demolish this structure," Hilliard said. "We want to do it now because our engineer report says its unsafe."
Hilliard said should the Randolph-Lucas house ultimately be deemed safe, there is another avenue to travel legally that still gives the condo association a right to demolition.
The City of Atlanta did not agree with the condo association's findings that Randolph-Lucas is unsafe. Now, the condo association is appealing that ruling. Those in attendance at the meeting were given the chance to voice their opinion on whether or not the applicant's appeal should be upheld or denied. Everyone raised their hand when NPU-B Chair Sally Silver asked if the appeal should be denied. Only Hilliard raised his hand when asked if the appeal should be upheld, to which the crowd had a laugh about.
All members of the NPU-B Committee voted to deny the appeal as well.
While the vote at Tuesday night's meeting is not binding, those who support the preservation of the historic house think it will bring positive momentum when the issue is again brought up on .
"We hope the BZA agrees with us but regardless we are going to pursue the demolition of the structure," Hilliard said.
Representatives from the were at the meeting to speak to the of the Randolph-Lucas House and plea for coming up with a creative solution to the problem.
Executive Director said that the condo association has not accepted their offer to have an independant contractor investigate the safety of the structure, which was last deemed safe in 2009. Additionally, Danylchak said the condo association did not properly apply for a demolition permit of a historic building.
Buckhead Heritage President Wright Mitchell said that since there is now no way to legally compel the condo association to preserve or maintain the Randolph-Lucas House. Even if the demolition permit keeps getting denied, the house will continue to slowly deteriorate and fall down on its own over time. Mitchell's hope is that all parties involved can come up with a way to preserve the home and find a way that the public can also enjoy it.
Hilliard did say that the condo association is interested in looking at options to relocate the property but that they saw no way it could be used in its current location. If the condo association is able to acquire a demolition permit, he said that they will wait 30 days before moving forward to see if there is a way that the structure can be relocated, even if that means it has to be dismantled to be moved.
"We don't believe that there is an alternative that involves saving this structure as an adaptive reuse on the site."
Bill Murray of NPU-B encouraged all parties to start fresh on this issue, regardless of what happened to get to this point — a statement that brought applause. Silver said that she has taken it upon herself to actively pursue finding a suitable location for the house, as well as the best way to relocate it. While she has taken the initiative, Silver said she still wants to see those that support the preservation of Randolph-Lucas to step up.
"Put up or shut up. Let's save this house. if you are serious about it we are gonna do some fundraising and ask for your letters of support. Lets make it happen," she said to more applause. "If you don't put your money where your mouth is, it means nothing."