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Batavia Historic Preservation Commission upholds building classification

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Over the objections of Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke, the Batavia Historic Preservation Commission has decided to stick with its recommendation to upgrade the historical classification of a building at 106 N. River St. from “contributing” to “significant.”

Commissioners Monday voted 3-2 to keep its recommendation in place. Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Phil Bus broke a 2-2 tie by voting in favor of the recommendation. Commissioner Cathy Searl abstained from voting because she has done work for the Larson Becker Co., which owns the property.

“The building is 100 or so years old,” Bus said. “I thought it represented the agrarian part of Batavia’s history.”

The commission’s recommendation now will go to the Batavia City Council Community Development Committee and then to the full City Council. Schielke voiced concerns about upgrading the property’s historical classification.

“There is no historical significance other than the signs on it,” Schielke said.

Schielke had given commissioners a history of the building and the surrounding area, explaining how the area previously was frequented by farmers to obtain feed and farming equipment and bring milk to the nearby creamery.

He is concerned that the proposed classification of the building could hinder potential redevelopment of the property.

“That is probably a prime site for redevelopment in the near future,” Schielke said.

The commission is doing a district survey update of historical properties. Some properties are upgraded in their classification, while others are downgraded.

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