Design Review Commission approves demolitions on West Spain Street

Demolition by neglect is a concept the Sonoma Design Review and Historic Preservation Commission became familiar with Feb. 18, when it reluctantly approved the removal of buildings on West Spain Street.

The Hansen Hatchery buildings, deemed worthy of the National Register as early as 1993, had deteriorated to the point the owner faced a notice to abate hazardous conditions from the city’s Building Official.

“How does it get to this point?” asked Commissioner Kelso Barnett. “It was determined to be historic 20 years ago.”

The buildings, located at 800 W. Spain St., were hidden from view by vegetation and over the years accumulated garbage, termites, and vermin. Now under new ownership, the site will be prepared for a housing development.

“We uncovered garbage four feet thick in the main house,” said Doug Hilberman of Axia Architects. “We realized there’s nothing there to keep.” Buildings to be removed include a house, a water tower, a garage and an old hatchery building.

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