My family has lived here more than 60 years. I have witnessed the slow transformation of this once-small mining town to a bustling small city.
The south area of Third Avenue was an industrially zoned area for almost 200 years. I remember a car-repair shop and a body shop there. When the area became dilapidated and vacant, in an effort to revitalize, it was rezoned residential. This created opportunity to build condos and townhouses, a much-needed improvement. However, the old Assay House was maintained because of its historic significance.
It’s great that the house was historically preserved; however, I understand its location, surrounded by the Best Western and multifamily homes, makes it a less-than-desirable residence. Swan Wealth’s proposal to use the house as a low-impact business is a worthwhile consideration.
The outside appearance is of a loved home and driving by, one is unable to tell that there is a business inside. There appears to be neighbor support for Swan’s proposal. The alternatives include turning the building into a rental or vacation property – just what we need! This neither improves the neighborhood nor helps Durango. Swan’s proposal could very well be the highest, best use for the parcel, acting as a low-impact buffer between the commercial and residential community.
The City Council should represent the best interest of the city of Durango at large, and not vocal special interest groups. Durango should do anything possible to bring high-paying, clean, low-impact jobs to town. Swan’s business offers just that, and also proposes to use the old house in a capacity similar to that in the 1800s. The historic preservation group should love this.
As a side note, I commend the historic preservation group for its efforts to maintain the historical significance of many of the older buildings in this town. I know it is a good group, but feel it is wrong on this issue. I’m certain the group is aware that the local zoning of historical properties has no negative impact on Third Avenue’s listing in the National Registry of Historic Places.