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Overhaul begins


City officials are considering changing the approval process for tearing down historic buildings. Some preservationists worry that the administration plans to weaken the protection of those buildings. But Marcia Barry, the city's director of planning and zoning, says the protections will remain and that the changes would simply make the process clearer for everyone involved. | Currently, the Zoning Board must consider the Preservation Board's recommendation before it gives permission to tear down a Building of Historic Value in Rochester. The changes remove the reference to the Preservation Board, but Barry says the board would still be part of the process. Its role will be laid out in forthcoming legislation on the process for designating landmarks in the city, she says. | The legislation also removes a sentence requiring the Zoning Board to consider a handful of conditions before allowing demolition. Barry says the conditions would still apply, but that they would be inherent in the overall question for board members: whether the benefit to the applicant outweighs the impact on the health, safety, and welfare of neighbors and the community. | The changes were approved by the city's Planning Commission on Monday and now go to City Council for a vote.