A vote Tuesday could determine whether Seneca Foods’ ear of corn water tower is placed on a list of potential historic landmarks.
Earlier this month, the Rochester City Council ruledthe decision lies in the hands of Heritage Preservation Commission members.
The commission meetsat 5 p.m. Tuesday in room 104 of City Hall, 201 Fourth St. SE.
The water tower was one of 11 properties the commission presented to the council on Jan. 7 as recommendations for the city’s list of potential landmarks. The council determined the commission has the authority to add properties to the list without council approval.
"Once the HPC votes to include a property, the property is considered on the list," Rochester City Attorney Jason Loos wrote in a memo to Commission Chairwoman Christine Schultze following the council decision.
Loos noted property owners who object to being on the list can request to be removed, which would require the commission to conduct a public hearing. If an owner objects to the commission’s decision after the hearing, the matter can be appealed to the city council.
Seneca has already cited its opposition to being on the list, which serves as a holding place for consideration for future landmark designation.
John Exner, the company’s corporate attorney, said the water tower fails to meet the criteria for future landmark designation as defined in the city’s historic preservation ordinance.
Additionally, David Pederson, of the Dunlap and Seeger law firm, has submitted a letter to the city on Seneca’s behalf, s uggesting the company could donate the structureto the city for relocation and preservation.
City Administrator Steve Rymer said the proposal could be a topic for future council discussion and shouldn’t delay a commission decision.
Properties on the potential landmark list aren’t necessarily protected from future changes or demolition. Rather, the list requires an extra layer of review with a 30-day time period, if such actions are considered.
In addition to the tower, the former Charles Sheard House at 2217 Balsam Court SW is the subject of a request to be omitted from potential additions to the potential landmark list. The house, designed by Rochester architect Harold Crawford, was built in 1929 for Sheard, a Mayo Clinic physicist.
In addition to the tower and the Sheard house, the list being considered contains Assisi Heights and the Bulbulian House at 1229 Skyline Drive SW, as well as seven Mayo Clinic buildings, which the clinic has indicated it would support adding to the list.
The commission is also slated to discuss a list of other properties that have been recommended as potential landmarks but faced some objections or questions by the owners.
Among them, Saint John’s Cemetery and the former Olmsted County Bank and Trust Co. building, which most recently housed McGoon’s and Goonies at 7 Second St. SW, will be subjects of discussion.