City Hall Denies Historic Overlay For Coca-Cola Building

- FREDERICK, Md. - The Board of Alderman voted 3-2 against a proposal by the Historic Preservation Commission to place a historic overlay on the 1947 Coca-Cola bottling plant in Frederick, Thursday evening.

Before the final decision was made, community members gathered at city hall to offer their opinions before the Board of Aldermen decided the fate of the old Coca-Cola plant on north market street.

"Historic commission jurisdiction will complicate if not kill this project," said Peter Samuel, a Frederick local.

At the heart of the issue: To preserve what some call a historical landmark, or to revive the 5 acre property with out restrictions from the city's historic preservation commission.

"There is a great story about a bottling industry in this city," said an attendee in favor of preserving the plant.

Others thought differently.

"[Its] the right of property owners to be able to improve structures that are historic without having the ordinance of a historic overlay being put on them," said another attendee in a public testimony.

Tricia Beisler, the president of Catoctin Overlook--the company interested in converting the plant into multi-family housing, explained that her vision would bring life back into the property while still paying homage to the bottling plant.

By contrast, HPC members argued the plant meets two of four criteria to be deemed historic.

"The plant is a well preserved example of art deco architecture. Additionally the signiture design is associated with the Coca-Cola company in the Mid Atlantic region," said Lisa M. Murphy, planner with the Historic preservation commission.

If passed, the overlay would protect the property from a landowner demolishing the building---a move that Catoctin Overlook says will cost too much money and time for the prospective project.

After voting to suspend the rules that would allow the hearing to go past 11 p.m., Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchack voted to approve the overlay and was seconded by Alderwoman Russell. The motion did not pass after Alderman Dacey moved to deny the application. Alderman Bokee and Alderman O'Connor also voted to deny. 

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