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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dunedin commissioners tentatively okay razing of Fenway Hotel



Dunedin commissioners this month preliminarily approved an ordinance that would let historic structures such as the Fenway Hotel be razed and rebuilt because of their poor condition, because they aren't in compliance with current building and fire codes, or due to their location in the floodplain.

Under the proposal, the developer would be required to replicate the demolished structures' historic look.

City planning director Greg Rice said being able to start from scratch is a more attractive, cost-effective option for developers. He said it's also much safer for the Fenway, an all-wood structure that is caving from water damage, lacks hurricane and fire protection devices and sits in a velocity zone.

Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski said she's sad the original structure can't be restored. But she echoed Commissioner Ron Barnette's comments that the city needs to find a "clear balance" between history, visual appeal and building safety. She said the city has no choice but to approve the ordinance.

"It is sad seeing an old building go away. But when you could probably huff and puff and blow it down, it's probably had its better day," Mayor Dave Eggers added. "It is degrading quickly. And we'd certainly like to bring that historic use back in some way."

A second public hearing and final vote is set for Jan. 9.

[Last modified: Monday, December 30, 2013 10:59am]


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