Historic Saratoga building safe from demolition, for now

The historic Winans-Crippen House at 66 Franklin St. in Saratoga Springs is safe from demolition, for now.

On Monday, April 11, Supreme Court Justice Thomas D. Nolan, Jr. issued a permanent injunction preventing the demolition of the circa 1871 structure without approval of the City's Design Review Commission or an order of the State Supreme Court.

This decision of the court affirms the role of the Design Review Commission in protecting our city's historic buildings. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation applauds the decision and believes it accurately portrays the process set out in the city's ordinance and New York State law, said Samantha Bosshart, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation's executive director. "We hope that the owner of 66 Franklin St. will complete the pending DRC proceeding and let the DRC make its decision."

The Preservation Foundation said it would like to see the building repaired so it can continue to "tell the unique story" of Saratoga Springs' architectural history.

The building on Franklin Street is one of the few surviving building designed by Saratoga Springs architect John D. Stevens, who also designed the United States Hotel and the Grand Union Hotel, two resort towns from the 19th century that once existed on Broadway.

According to information from the Preservation Foundation, 66 Franklin St. is listed as a contributing building to the West Side Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building's owner, Joe Boff, instituted a demolition proceeding before the DRC in November 2008, and after hearings on the matter, the DRC required Boff prepare an Environmental Impact Statement outlining the proposed demolition's effect on the "historic and cultural resources" of Franklin Square.

To date, Boff has not submitted the requested statement and according to Bosshart, in September 2010, the city's Code Enforcement Officer issued a citation to which Boff agreed to demolish the structure, with City Court issuing an order requiring demolition.

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