Spa City may consider change to historic boundaries

According to city's assessment database, the house has full market value of $1.1 million. Its total assessed value is $891,000.

While the Riggi's intent remains uncertain, news of the possible demolition of the 1865 home sparked a public outcry, which was brought to the City Council at its Tuesday, June 2, meeting.

There, residents speaking during a public hearing on the demolition moratorium urged the city to take measures to halt the destruction of the building. One went so far as to suggest the city force the Riggis to tear down their own home.

The council tabled the moratorium that evening. Commissioner of Public Safety Ron Kim brought it to a vote on June 16, but it failed 3-to-2 because additional changes had been suggested earlier in the meeting that would necessitate a vote be put on hold until July 7.

The City Council did place an administrative hold on the issuance of a demolition permit for 23 Greenfield Ave. that will stand until July 7.

John Carusone, attorney for the Riggis, said that the moratorium is illegal. He argued a moratorium should only be enacted when "there is a threat to the community as a whole," and said the legislation is clearly intended to affect his client's property.

"This is targeted at one property. It doesn't affect the general welfare of the community," he continued.

According to the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, however, this movement is not based on a single case.

"We're probably starting to see the early trends of a tear down," said Samantha Bosshart, executive director of the foundation. "Twenty-three Greenfield is a building that most of the public can identify with, but there are other buildings that are at risk."

There is a list of "10 buildings worth saving" on the foundation's Web site. Bosshart named a home at 12 Vermont St. as an example of a historic building that has been demolished.

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