BUTTE - On Wednesday, Butte-Silver Bow commissioners voted to deny the plan to demolish two buildings on East Park Street that used to house the Butte Rescue Mission thrift store.
After four weeks of delaying the decision, commissioners argued among themselves as well with county department heads about the proposed demolition.
During public comment, some people spoke in favor of the demolition.
"I’ve looked at the thrift store building, I looked at the report. I saw what it was going to be to make the repairs and I realized we can’t do this. It’s too much." said John Kinzel, a member of the Butte Rescue Mission's board.
Others did not.
"There are things going on all over this town, don’t throw that away. Think about the precedent it sets when you throw your [historical] resources away," said Robert Renouard.
The proposed plan outlined that the county would pay the Butte Rescue Mission about $38,000 to buy the building and then demolish it at 135 East Park Street.
The discussion became heated when council members questioned the Chief Executive’s authority.
"It may not be the outcome that we like, but as the chief executive I trust in the leaders of my departments to enforce the ordinances that are on the books," said J.P. Gallagher.
Many of the commissioners held issue with the Safety Exclusion Law. When a building threatens public safety, safety exclusion eliminates government processes and gives private property rights back to the owner for them to decide what happens to the building.
Dylan Pipinich, the planning department head, defended his department’s work.
"They’re very qualified to do the job that they do from inspecting to reviewing building plans and everything. Our building official has a handful of certifications from the ICC. You name it, he’s qualified to do what he does besides having two engineering degrees," said Pipinich.
The Butte Rescue Mission has 60 days to abate the danger status of the building by either demolition, selling it, or major repairs - which could cost up to $200,000 or more.