Land Use

Homeowner who got $200,000 Road Home grant not allowed to demolish double

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

In one of the more unusual exchanges at the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee’s Monday meeting, a homeowner seeking to demolish her South Saratoga Street property accused Councilwoman Stacy Head of calling her house under an alias, trying to convince the woman’s husband not to demolish.

If the owner decides to pursue demolition, the City Council will decide the fate of this building on South Saratoga Street. Photo by Karen Gadbois

Olivia Bartholomew said Head called using the name Stacy Singleton. By email, Head said she did no such thing.

Bartholomew admitted that she was granted more than $200,000 from the federally financed Road Home’s Small Rental Program for the property, but she said she wanted to tear it down nonetheless. Neighbors and a board member questioned her plan for redevelopment.

Committee member Conrad Abadie said that the price offered by the contractor was far higher than what he is paying for a renovation he is doing on similar home.

A few neighbors voiced concerns about the quality of construction as well as the compatibility in the historic neighborhood.

The committee couldn’t pass either a motion to allow the demolition or a motion to deny the demolition. That’s because the committee requires more than a simple majority for action.

If Bartholomew appeals, the decision will be up to the City Council. Head is the councilwoman for the district in which the house sits.

A leaning house located at 134 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway also came under close scrutiny. The owner applied to tear the house down.

Rhonda Lang of Demo Diva, who would be the contractor for the job, spoke on behalf of the owner, Bianka LeBeouf, who did not attend.

This building on South Jefferson Davis Parkway likely won't be around for much longer. Photo by Karen Gadbois

Miles Trapolin who lives a few blocks away, said LeBeouf purchased the property at auction and told him that she had never been inside.

A limited liability corporation called ICM purchased the property in 2008 for $58,000. LeBeouf is listed as the agent for the corporation on the Secretary of State’s website.

Lili LeGardeur represented the neighborhood and said that while the building is in terrible shape, the organization is concerned about LeBeouf’s plans once the building is razed.

The demolition was approved.

In other business, The Gem theater on Thalia was taken off the agenda and referred to the Historic District Landmarks Commission. And the former Popeyes on South Carrollton Avenue near Willow Street will be torn down and become fenced-off open space while the owner, dentist Mark Chaney, considers building a dental clinic.

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