Demolition of church-owned houses delayed in Stillwater over historical concerns

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A church in Stillwater's attempts to improve its facility is being met with resistance because it would involve the demolition of two houses of historic value, the Pioneer Press reported.

The St. Paul Lutheran Church -- which owns two houses built in the late 1800s adjacent to church property -- wants to tear the houses down to create open-space parkland.

The church's plans were thwarted by Stillwater's heritage preservation commission, however, because it would change the neighbor's identity -- and Stillwater City Council denied the permits in early October by a 3-2 vote, the Stillwater Gazette reported.

The church will meet with the city council about the matter again on Dec. 4.

City planner Mike Pogge said if the church razed the houses, it "would impact both the historic character and the neighborhood fabric of Stillwater."

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