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Town Council adopts demolition regulations

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By Amber Marra-amarra@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- If someone wants to knock down any historic properties in Woodstock, they'll have to go through the Town Council, concerned residents, and civic organizations first.

The Town Council unanimously adopted administrative regulations pertaining to the demolition of historic structures at a meeting Tuesday night.

The passage of the administrative regulations symbolizes a process that began in November with the demolition of the Effinger House at 201 N. Main St. The building was once owned by John Ignatius Effinger, who was George Washington's bodyguard, according to the Woodstock Museum. Portions of the home also contained logs that came from the church Peter Muhlenberg attended.

After the house was torn down, a surge of residents angered by its demolition expressed shock that it could be destroyed so abruptly. It was later found out that in the case of the Effinger House only the Public Words Department was informed of the plans to ensure all of the utilities were disconnected, according to Geary Showman, a building code officials with Shenandoah County.

In any other case, town officials should be alerted when a structure is up for demolition. It also did not help that the owner of the home, Page-Shenandoah Newspaper Corp., was unaware of its historic significance and felt that it needed to be brought down due to its dilapidated condition.

So down the home went in late November, and two months later administrative regulations have been drafted to ensure no such event occurs again.

"This will be the procedure in Woodstock in an effort to prevent the total loss of any more historic structures without allowing the people of the community at least the chance to salvage it," said Councilman Frank Haun.

The regulations state that once an application for a structure in Woodstock is received by Shenandoah County, Town Manager Larry Bradford will be alerted and will look into the property from there to see if it is in the historic district.

If it is not, the town manager will then gauge the effect of demolition on the town in terms of "water and sewer service, traffic control, etc." according to the administrative regulations. If the building is within the historic district, the mayor, Town Council, Shenandoah County Historical Society, the Woodstock Museum, adjacent property owners, and the media will all be notified so that, should they wish to step in as a last saving grace, the opportunity is there.

The town manager will then take up to 30 days to further review the property and the effect of its demolition.

1 Comment

Bravo Town Council for your insight to the preservation of the Historical District in Woodstock!!! Bravo to the organizations and concerned citizens for the preservation that is vital and necessary... People pass on, but structures will remain to remind us of the hardships and the perserverence that our forefathers established and maintained... I remember when I worked for Vepco and we were doing electrical upgrades to these historical homes within the city, I would stand in awe of the historical value and workmanship of the structures... Remember, there were no electrical tools in those days, and everything was done by hand!!! Reggie Arno Danville VA, (formerly from Woodstock)...

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