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Owner of 1913 Home Wants It Taken Off Historic Register

Owner of 1913 Home Wants It Taken Off Historic Register

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The owner of a 1913 home has asked that it be taken off the city's historic register so he can sell it.

The avenues home is owned by Michael Kearns, former publisher of the now-defunct Salt Lake Observer newspaper. It was built for Malcom A. Keyser, a prominent Salt Lake City businessman and politician, and was listed on the city register in 1978.

"In 13 years I've never been through this process, so it will be interesting," said Elizabeth Giraud, the city's planning staffer charged with overseeing historic preservation.

Members of the Greater Avenues Community Council said city staffers did not give them enough time to comment on the proposal.

On Thursday, city planners asked the community council to hold a hearing on the issue at this Wednesday's meeting.

"Six days' notice over a holiday weekend on an issue with long-term implications for the community is insufficient," council member Jim Jenkin said. "Taken with the news that the planning commission will hear the petition in two weeks (indicating this has been in the system for some time) would seem to indicate a lack of regard for community input."

Giraud said city staffers are moving quickly because there is a sale pending on the house that is contingent on the home being removed from the register.

Kearns said in a letter to the city that he had arranged to sell the home but the buyer backed out after city staffers apparently told her that her planned changes to the home likely would not be permitted.

"Essentially, the city has killed the purchase of our house and has damaged us," Kearns wrote. "This usurping of the ability for us to sell our home seems to constitute an unfair 'taking.' "

Kearns did not return a call for comment from the Deseret Morning News and has since gone on vacation.

The Kearns petition will be before the Historic Landmarks Commission Wednesday and before the Planning Commission July 13. The two commissions are to forward their recommendations to the City Council, which is to vote on the matter July 14.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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