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home : opinions : opinions June 25, 2016

9/25/2012 10:18:00 AM
Historic Commission's conduct exemplary

To the Editor,

In regards to the letter about the perceived conduct of the Oak Ridge Historic Preservation Commission (ORHPC) being "out of line," I take extreme exception to the gross mischaracterization of the Historic Preservation Commission's Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) process in general and the Commissioners in particular.
As a business owner and the managing member of the LLC that developed the Oak Ridge Business Park, I am well acquainted with the procedures for being before the ORHPC. During my record 7 years as a member of the ORHPC I heard and participated in nearly all of the major cases to come before the commission from inception to 2010.
I attended both the first Crossfit hearing and the last meeting. If anyone was out of line at a hearing it was Crossfit. At the initial hearing, I witnessed one representative mouthing what appeared to me to be profanities as he turned his back on each commissioner. The representative treated the hearing as a joke, laughing, talking and making bizarre allegations against the ORHPC. The binding nature of the process was made known, and their representative gave detailed answers under oath in response to questions from the commissioners.
At the last meeting, Crossfit presented the argument that they wanted to build what was approved but could not due to both structural deficiencies and omissions of required items for health and safety in their original submission. These significant errors were self initiated. Then Crossfit blamed the Town/County planners, staff, and the process. Crossfit is the only petitioner to have had such problems with the ORHPC and its processes. All other petitioners have handled the COA in one or two hearings. The ORHPC has never absolutely turned anyone down and has always worked to find solutions.
The conduct of the commissioners I witnessed was exemplary. It was the petitioners who had to be ordered to sit down during the hearing while one irate woman rushed the podium to interrupt the debate. Steven Lantz had to threaten to close the hearing and deny the COA to compel her to retake her seat.
The commissioners are to be applauded for safeguarding our community.

Samuel K. Anders, CPA, MSA
Managing Member

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