CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A delayed demolition ordinance for historic properties in Charleston could provide the time needed to save those buildings from their demise.
Such an ordinance is currently in the works in the city's planning department and was a topic at a Strong Neighborhoods Task Force meeting Wednesday.
Committee members discussed prior buildings that have been demolished quickly, causing public outcry.
Geoff Plagemann, a neighborhood planner with the planning department, cited the case of the Central United Methodist Church on the West Side, which was torn down in May 2012.
"The community didn't know," he said.
Other buildings in town also have those interested in historic preservation worried, such as St. Paul's Lutheran Church on the East End.
"A lot of people are concerned about the church," said East End Councilwoman Mary Beth Hoover, a member of the task force. "A lot of people are hoping and waiting and seeing (what will happen)."
The exact details of a delayed demolition ordinance are being worked out, but would include a set period of time between when a property owner pulls demolition permits and when the building could actually be torn down.
The idea is that enough time would pass to inform community members and try to find some other use for the building to save it.
Task force members acknowledged that in some cases, the building would come down anyway, but at least a chance would be given to preserve the structure.
"Maybe at least an effort was made," Hoover said.