Lincolnville lots may be divided so houses may be sold

Historic City News rarely reports on the City of St Augustine appealing the decision of the Planning and Zoning Board; however, tonight Mark Knight, Director of Planning and Building, rose to appeal a decision that would allow the partition of two homes built on one-half of a lot in Lincolnville.

The small houses, built on the south half of Lot 9, located at 10 and 12 Lovett Street, have been family homestead for decades, Knight explained. The brother and sister, who inherited them from their mother, have different plans for the property.

The brother, Siree Safwat, owns the house at 12 Lovett Street and lives in his home. He said that he wants to be allowed to continue to do so for the rest of his life. His plan is to leave the 1920’s structure to his son.

The sister, Mildred Baldwin, owns the house at 10 Lovett Street. She does not live in the house and wants to sell it, but is unable to do so without subdividing the lot. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.

A court has ruled that unless the two can resolve their differences, the property, including both houses, will be sold as one parcel at auction, and the money will be split between them, evenly.

If that happens, Knight believes the new owner would likely want a permit to demolish both houses and build a single structure.

Although that would be “fair”, that leaves the brother with no place to live and only enough money to support himself for a short time.

The Planning and Zoning Board reviewed the Application on May 1, took testimony and examined evidenced, and granted the request for a variance to subdivide the property.

After lengthy discussion, with the primary concern expressed that the commission did not wish to set a precedent, on a motion by Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, the commission voted unanimously to uphold the decision of the Planning and Zoning Board to subdivide the lots.

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