Douglass House demolition prompts news conference about historic buildings

A news conference has been called for Tuesday to discuss the process of demolishing historic buildings in Macon in light of the recent demolition of the Douglass House.

The event will be held at 1 p.m. at Steward Chapel AME Church, 887 Forsyth St. It was called by state Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, who will be unable to attend because he is out of state with an ill relative.

Last month, the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission denied a demolition permit for the Douglass House at 873 Pine St. But the owner of the house, businessman Lou Patel, obtained an engineer’s report that stated the house was unsafe, beyond repair and needed to be demolished. Patel is building a Dunkin’ Donuts on adjacent property.

Tom Buttram, director of Macon-Bibb County Business Development Services, which issued the demolition permit, said last week that planning and zoning “is the design arm; we’re the safety arm. Building codes have nothing to do with aesthetics.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.