A Dutchtown Landmark at Risk Saved!

 

We believe Zoning & Preservation laws should be equally

applied to all individuals, companies and organizations.

 
 

 


Virginia Mansion Has Been Sold!

9/11/2005: Last week a developer purchased the Virginia Mansion from Our Lady's Inn.  Unlike OLI, this developer took a very pro-active stance and approached those of us that had fought to save the building.  We met last week to discuss their plans to convert the building into four condos. 

OLI has moved on by purchasing a 4-family in April of this year in the 41xx block of Michigan.  Based on their August 2005 newsletter it, "will be  ready to house four OLI families in the next several months."  At the first meeting regarding their proposal to raze the Virginia Mansion,  in February 2003, we had suggested they consider purchasing one of the many nearby 4-family buildings.

It should be noted the Dutchtown South Community Corporation did not act to support saving the Virginia Mansion.  By remaining silent it was left to a small group of determined individuals to do the work that you'd expect a neighborhood non-profit to do.  However, a couple of the Dutchtown  Board Members were part of the lawsuit to save the building. 

Virginia Mansion to be Sold

4/4/2005: Rumor mill has it that OLI will list the Virginia Mansion for sale later this week for $90K. 

Judge Dowd: No Demolition!

1/2005: Judge Dowd has ruled that the Virginia Mansion cannot be demolished.  Two years of hard work to save the building from demolition has paid off.  Now the work to get the owner to sell and to get a suitable buyer. 

Brief's filed in zoning case...

7/29/2004:   We have filed our Reply Brief in Circuit Court -the document can be read below.  At this time we do not have the brief filed by the other parties in PDF format.    Oral arguments are set to begin on 8/9/2004.

Our Reply Brief filed 7/29/2004, PDF.

Preservation Board Decision
Friday July 9, 2004 The Preservation Board of the City of St. Louis issued their "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" as well as their "Decision and Order." from the June 28, 2004 hearing in which the board denied the application for demoiltion. From the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law document:

"That after due consideration of all the testimony and evidence in this matter, the board finds the Petitioner's testimony of Professional Engineer Bill Hummel against the weight of the evidence and not credible.  Specifically, the Board finds the testimony of Professional Engineer Bill Hummel regarding the unsoundness of the building not credible." 

Click here for complete decision in PDF format.

Brief Filed in Lawsuit.
Thursday July 8, 2004: Our attorny Elkin Kistner filed the brief in Circuit Court regarding our case against the City and the Board of Adjustment over the variance they granted in March 2004.  From the brief referencing Matthew v.Smith, a 1986 case heard by the Missouri Supreme Court:

"A zoning regulation imposes an unnecessary hardship on a landowner only if the subject property cannot yield a 'reasonalbe return' from any permitted use.  Moreover, reasonable return does not mean 'maximum return'. To the contrary, unnecessary hardship is nonexistent unless the landowner can show that it would be deprived of all beneficial use of the land if it were forced to comply with the zoning code.   Id. Matthew, 707 S.W.2d at 417." 

Our Brief from Lawsuit (Filed in Circuit Court 7/8/04)

The Interventor's (Our Lady's Inn) Brief is due July 19, 2004.  Our "reply brief" is then due by July 29, 2004.

Demolition Permit Denied!

Monday June 28th the St. Louis Preservation Board denied the application for a demolition permit, citing the Cultural Resources staff report.

"Staff inspected the building on March 5, 2003 and again on June 10, 2004.  During the March 5, 2003 inspection, staff was joined by an architect for the Housing Development Section of the Community Development Agency.  That assessment revealed that the building was structurally sound upon exterior inspection.  During the June 10 examination, the exterior of the building appeared essentially sound, especially compared with most buildings the staff views each week, however it is begining to suffer from lack of maintenance.  The front and rear facades need tuck pointing where the porches have been removed, and the site apears abandoned and minimally maintained." 

Click here for PDF of Cultural Resources  report to the Preservation Board (1.1mb).

At this point we do not know if the owner, Our Lady's Inn, is going to appeal the decision or seek alternative solutions to meet their needs.  Needless to say, we were pleased with the decision.

City Property Owners file suit to block spot zoning
On April 12th, 2004 eleven St. Louis City Residents & property owners filed a suit in Circuit Court to review a variance granted to applicant Our Lady's Inn to construct a new 7-unit transitional housing project on the site of the Virginia Mansion.  The area is zoned "B" Two-Family Dwelling District.  The case is pending in St. Louis Circuit Court at this time, oral arguments are expected in early August 2004.

 

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We are asking for donations of $25-$100 (more is great but any amount you can spare is appreciated) to help offset the huge legal debt we incurred to save this building.   You can donate by Visa, Mastercard or your checking account using PayPal.  All donations will be paid to our attorney.


Or you can mail a check directly

to our attorney:

Elkin Kistner
7700 Bonhomme Ave., Suite 200
Clayton, MO 63105

Please reference Cause

#044-01149 on your check.

Sorry, at this time your donations are not tax-deductible.  However, they are greatly appreciated!

 

Email

 

Virginiamansion.org