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City orders demolition of downtown property
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A renovation effort at 307 N. Spring Street has come to an end, as far as city officials are concerned. Demolition is being ordered.

“The last time we conducted a building inspection and evaluation of the property, the property was in bad shape but not to the point of imminent potential collapse,” said Community Development Department director David Baird. “We have done a subsequent inspection of the property. It has deteriorated substantially.”

An update on the property was given to members of McMinnville Regional Planning Commission on the morning of Tuesday, May 10.

The building is now in imminent potential collapse and precautions have been taken to protect the public, says Baird.

“We asked McMinnville Public Works to barricade the sidewalk so you cannot walk on the sidewalk in front of it,” said Baird. “We have placed a fence around the back portion of the property to prevent access. There are real concerns about safety. We have told the property owners and I will be sending, actually today, a demolition order. They can appeal. It will go to our Board of Buildings Appeals. That’s a rarely used body.”

Bringing the property under scrutiny was a recent effort to renovate the building so it could be used as residential and commercial. In April, a request to reclassify the property from Residential-2 to Residential-5 was received by the city’s Regional Planning Commission. Members gave initial approval, but some expressed concern for the building’s condition.

Baird continued, “At the last inspection, the back of the building was still intact. The back of the building has fallen, at this point. There is debris below. The whole building itself has not fallen. The back of the building that supports the multi-layer floors has fallen down. It is being held up by a number of 4x4s that, if were knocked out inappropriately, could cause the whole building to collapse. It is a substantial, substantial issue.”

The property was inspected by Municipal Inspectors Partners, a third party that works with city and county governments throughout Middle Tennessee.

“They sent a master code specialist and in his analysis, after looking at it a second time, was that he believes it cannot be repaired,” said Baird. “That it is, basically, unsalvageable. When we reach that point where it is unsalvageable, that’s when we move forward with a demolition order. Based on his expertise, saying there’s just no way to bring this building back, that’s when we make that determination to order demolition.” 

At the time of this meeting, McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen had yet to consider the commission’s recommendation to approve the rezoning request. However, it was on the agenda for the evening of Tuesday, May 10.