Demolition permit for historic Dow Museum home delayed

DAVID B CORNEAL
DAVID B CORNEAL
St Augustine’s Historic Architectural Review Board, hamstrung by the resignation-under-fire of its chairman, and declared conflicts of interest by two other appointed members, this week made the decision to deny an application for a permit to demolish the 1905 Carpenter’s House; one of the Dow Museum of Historic Homes sold to Old Island Hotels, Inc., and its developer-owner.

The 68-year-old Pennsylvania man, David Barton Corneal, who moved to St Augustine in late 2013 with his wife, Sandra, is known for developing a similar concept in Key West. Corneal also purchased, relocated, and is redeveloping the notorious M&M Market at 102 Bridge Street and Martin Luther King Avenue; purchased from the City of St Augustine, minus archaeological excavation fee, after a string of narcotics and illegal drug-related activities led to its seizure by police.

After hearing public testimony, Chairman Randall Roark and HARB member Antoinette Wallace, each voted against the application — member Matthew Armstrong voted to allow the demolition. Jeremy Marquis and Paul L. Weaver III, recused themselves because they are working for Corneal.

However, denial of the application of demolition was made “without prejudice”, meaning that the property owner has one year to come forward with a new application to be considered. The owner is already scheduled to come before the St Augustine Planning and Zoning Board on March 3rd to decide an application for rezoning the property from Historic Preservation-One (HP-1) to a planned unit development “for a complex of inns with ancillary resort uses”.

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