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May 21, 2008 > Letter to the Editor: Schuckl Cannery fire - not the end

Letter to the Editor: Schuckl Cannery fire - not the end

Photos By courtesy of Al Minard

There seems to be a reoccurring pattern in Fremont. When city planners are supportive of housing developers who have a problem with historic / cultural resources on the property, the buildings burn down - remember the Cohen Hotel. To remember the Cohen Hotel, go to this link.

It was to somebody's advantage that this historic building burned down last night (May 13), but I do not think it means the end of the EIR debate. Here are some suggestions:

1. To ensure the legally required public debate on the subject, the property owner must be required to use the insurance money to rebuild the building to its original condition. As you know the building was designed by William Wurster (Dean of Architecture at MIT and Cal Berkeley) in 1941. The UC Berkeley Environmental design Archives still has the original drawings for the building. These drawings could be obtained tomorrow.

2. In the interim, the application for the EIR process must now be considered incomplete by the City Staff. This will temporarily pause the public debate until the building is reconstructed.

3. As the City of Fremont no longer has any redevelopment agency employees, the City should subcontract with a local city that has a successful record with redevelopment projects, such as San Jose. This will save the City of Fremont lots of money, and our community would benefit from the experience of a culturally mature city.

Paul Welschmeyer, AIA

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