DONALDSONVILLE — The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to allow demolition of an abandoned Chetimatches Street house, overturning a decision by its Historic District Commission.
Voting for the measure were Councilmen Charles Brown Sr., Lauthaught Delaney Sr., Reginald Francis Sr. and Emile Spano. Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin cast the dissenting vote.
Patricia Cobb Routon, an heir to the property, told the council her family has tried for nearly two years to demolish the building, but has encountered issues with the commission.
Since the house is in the city’s historic district, the commission must approve any significant superficial modifications or demolition requests, according to the city code.
Commissioners voted last month to deny Routon’s request, Commission Chairwoman Liz Eure said.
Routon then filed an appeal to the council.
Routon said the commission suggested the family renovate the building, split the property into two tracts and sell the plot with the older house or sell the entire property outright.
Routon said her family cannot afford to renovate or move the house, and it would be difficult to sell the property if the building remained.
“It has no value to the city as it is,” she said. “It’s a liability.”
Council members agreed, with Brown calling the building “dilapidated,” and Delaney describing it as “an eyesore.”
Eure said the commission received an opinion from an area builder that the house — which Eure described as a historic Eastlake shotgun house built in the 1890s — could be salvaged.
Routon said in her own talks with the same builder, she was told the house could not be restored.
Eure said the commission did not have a chance to speak to the family before voting on the issue.
“We ask that the family look at other options before demolition,” she said.
Routon asserted she was not properly informed of a change in the commission’s meeting date from early September to late August, which she said caused her to miss the meeting.
After discussion, Spano moved that the council overturn the commission’s ruling, with Delaney seconding the motion.
Aucoin offered a substitute motion to delay action until the council’s next meeting. The motion died for lack of a second.
Aucoin said he voted in opposition because he wanted more time to review the matter.