The Auburn City Council was in the center of contention as the cost of relocating the historic Cullars home was discussed along with amendments to a student housing ordinance.
During Committee of the Whole, council members discussed the possibility of moving the historic Cullars house in order to preserve the building and refurbish it.
The lease for the property has been terminated, and a deadline of Sept. 30 has been set to determine whether the house will be moved or not, said City Manager Jim Buston.
“Bottom line is, we think that if the council is of the mind to move the house, it could be moved to Kiesel Park,” Buston said. “It would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of $700,000 to $1 million.”
To just move the house would cost about $100,000 to $200,000, but the costs of rebuilding the house and upgrading it to a usable state would prove much more costly.
“The moving part is probably a quarter of the expense,” Buston said. “They may have to cut the house in half. They will definitely have to cut the roof off.”
The city did contact the University to see if they would be able to aid in preserving the home, Buston said.
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“We got an email from facilities at the University that tells us that they were not interested in either moving the house or in accepting the house,” Buston said. “Something to the effect of that their experience with these older homes, that they’re very expensive to move and very expensive to renovate and maintain. We asked for an official word from the University and that was the official word.”
Because of the high costs of relocating the house, the decision was tabled until September, in order to give the Council time to speak with the public about how they want to proceed.
The Cullars house could be moved, purchased or demolished right now. The costs of outright buying the house would likely cost five times the amount of relocating it, Buston said.
Mayor Anders Expressed his appreciation of the Auburn community’s desire to preserve its history and said there is still time for private citizens to get involved.
“We strongly encourage those people in the private sector who are interested,” Anders said. “The window is still open and you can still participate in this.”
The City Council was divided on a proposed amendment to an ordinance regulating academic detached dwelling units.
The amendment to the ordinance was to not allow ADDUs to be built on properties that abutt properties in the historic district. The amendment also called for ADDUs to be built in the redevelopment district, RDD, on a conditional, case-by-case basis.
As the Council began discussing the issue, tensions continually rose and Council members proposed new amendments during the meeting.
“So the two amendments are, ADDU shall be permitted by conditional use approval in RDD city wide, and the other is ADDU shall not be permitted on parcels abutting the North College Historic District,” said Mayor Ron Anders.
The Council had two options Tuesday night. They could vote to change the current amendment before them or create a new amendment.
Council members chose to amend the amendment. They then voted on both the initial amendment and the one created during the meeting.
Both votes were the same, 5 to 4, and neither amendment passed.
During the public hearing, Auburn resident Nick Hayes voiced his concerns and displeasure with the new amendments.
“So roughly in May, we were up here to discuss the ADDU in RDD and other areas,” Hayes said. “I know it’s not personal, but it certainly feels that way as an attack by Councilman Griswold, on us as private citizens just trying to invest in the community. And certainly, having this come back before us for a third time after the staff said no twice, and it doesn’t feel like our rights are being protected.”
As the ADDU ordinance sat originally and still stands, ADDUs were allowed by right in RDD zones.
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