The Lakewood Planning Commission voted Thursday to hold off on a decision that would make the Heideloff mansion the city’s first residential “historic landmark” in Lakewood under the city’s ordinance.
The commission made the decision without nearly half of its members in attendance.
About 20 neighbors of the property did show up, and many of them tried to convince the commission to pass the designation Thursday to keep the 98-year-old mansion at 13474 Edgewater Drive from being demolished.
The neighbors, not the property owners, submitted the paperwork to make the mansion a historic landmark.
At odds is historic preservation versus private property rights.
A law firm representing the Semaan family, which owns the property, had asked the city to push back the ruling to “afford us to compile information.”
“The Semaans did not imitative this process but now have to play catch-up,” according to the request from the Baker Hackenberg and Henning law firm, noting the property requires testing for asbestos contamination.
After receiving notice that the home was under consideration, Michael and Stacey Semaan, then proposed to demolish the home.
The city’s architectural board of review is considering that proposal.
Jeff Weber, a neighbor who presented the historic designation plans, pointed to the architectural and historic significant value of the home — as well as the dwindling number of remaining waterfront mansions.
“This designation would not stop Semaans from building their dream home on the lake,” said Weber. “Of the lakefront mansions that once graced our community between W. 117th Street and Summit, only three — arguably four — still exist.”
Three of the seven planning commission board members (Ruth Gillette, Tamara Karel and Patrick Metzger) were absent.
That factored into the remaining commission members’ decision to defer.
Jim O’Leary, an attorney representing the Semaans, said the family would like to “determine the hardships and other costs” that would be involved.
“It’s certainly no harm to the community to wait an additional 30 days to address this issue.
Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said that the city couldn’t approve the demolition until the Semaans have a redevelopment application.
Commission member Hannah Belsito said it’s a difficult decision because there are “so many homes in Lakewood that would qualify.”
“If I had to pick the most historically significant residential home in Lakewood, would this be the first one I’d pick? I don’t know.”
The historic landmark ordinance is written as a two-step process: First the planning commission must decide whether a property is eligible for the designation — which it did earlier this month.
The commission will rule next month on whether the property at 13474 Edgewater Drive should receive the designation as Lakewood’s fourth-ever historic landmark.