City regulators have little or no legal authority to force the owners of Old City Hall to clean up the historic building after a ruptured water pipe flooded parts of it last week, City Manager Eric Anderson told city council members Tuesday.
During an update on Old City Hall’s situation at the council’s study session, Anderson assured council members the city is doing all it can to ensure the privately-owned building doesn’t go the way of another downtown landmark: the Luzon Building.
“We want to make sure we are doing everything we can do to avoid losing the building,” Anderson said.
But Anderson added: “We can’t just go into a (private) building and clean it up without an immediate public danger.”
Unlike the 118-year-old Luzon, which the city razed last year after 30 years of neglect and private restoration efforts failed, Old City Hall does not represent a public safety hazard, Anderson said.
“It’s not in imminent danger of collapse,” he said.
On a hypothetical scale of 1 to 10, with 10 posing an immediate threat to public safety, Anderson described the 122-year-old Old City Hall building as closer to a 1.
But at least one council member disagreed with Anderson’s assessment.
“I’d put it closer to a 5,” said Councilman David Boe, an architect by trade, “just because of the insidious nature of water in a wood-framed structure.”
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