UCC designates Halberstadt House landmark

At the conclusion of the Urbana City Council’s regular Monday meeting, a motion carried to continue the conversation regarding the designation of the Halberstadt house, 104 N. Central Ave., in Urbana, as a landmark with consideration of the long-term plans of Canaan Baptist Church, the property-owner.

A deadline was set for a resolution to be complete within the next seven months, and it was suggested that a taskforce subcommittee be formed, involving staff, representatives from the Historic Preservation Commission and petitioner Brian Adams.

Several unanswered questions prevent council members from full debate on the situation, which is why the delay was considered necessary. Main questions that arose, restated during the end portion of the meeting by Charlie Smyth, council member-ward 1 , included what is in the floodplain, what can be built where and what the implications are of the liquor store in terms of where the church can build a school.

As a result of this case, city council members, including Diane Marlin, council member-ward 7, said the historical landmark designation ordinance’s language needs to be altered. Marlin added that a lot of hard feelings could have been avoided if it were not for the vagueness of the text.

Julian Gorski, resident of Normal, Ill., voiced his opinion during commentary at the meeting. He had expressed concerns two years ago about this exact issue.

“We got here because you have failed us,” he said. “It is your body that has determined what should be in this ordinance. We are all part of this problem.”

Along with further discussion leading up to an eventual decision by what is tentatively said to be aimed for next spring, there will be dialogue about revising the ordinance to be more specific in guiding situations such as this.