Back in January, the Historic Preservation Review Board ruled that the doors of the Cleveland Park Firehouse—-which has been closed since fall of 2010, awaiting renovations—-were too historic to be changed for the 21st century’s wider fire trucks. Much gnashing of teeth about putting historicity over neighborhood safety ensued.
As I noted, though, the board was basically acting within its purview as a body that’s supposed to obey the letter of the preservation law. The next level of appeal, the Mayor’s Agent, is the one who can consider mitigating circumstances like economic hardship, the requirements of an especially awesome project, and public safety. This one passed muster easily on the grounds of “special merit,” waiting only about five weeks to get its decision.
This is also J. Peter Byrne‘s first ruling; several other cases are pending, including another firehouse in the Palisades.