Former Frederick mayor Jeff Holtzinger is working to secure permits for the demolition of a historic 1800s home that owners began tearing down two weeks ago.
Contractors for the property owners, Dewey Jordan, Inc., started razing Park Hall Mansion, 1100 E. Patrick St., without a permit from the City of Frederick.
Holtzinger is a member of Dewey Jordan’s board of directors and said in an interview that he was asked to “help out” with the application. Because contractors did not obtain a permit before starting work, the city charged the commercial rate of $256 and an additional $150 stop-work order, according to the permit application.
The city is holding the permit until it receives notice that asbestos is not present in the building near Monocacy Boulevard. An environmental consultant hired by the property owner is evaluating the building for asbestos and lead, Holtzinger said, but he thinks it is unlikely either is present in the 19th-century building.
Holtzinger, a paid board member of the Frederick-based highway and bridge construction company, along with Frederick County Commissioner Billy Shreve (R), said he was unaware the demolition was taking place.
But the building had to come down, he said, because vagrants had broken in and started camp fires, and thieves had helped themselves to the copper plumbing in the historic home.
“It was a liability with people camping out and burning stuff,” Holtzinger said. “We don’t want anyone getting hurt.”
Shreve, who became a member of the board of directors after being elected in 2010, said the board focuses on “visioning and guidance for the company.”
“We are not involved in [day-to-day] operations at all and they don’t call us for help,” Shreve said.
According to Shreve’s latest financial disclosure form filed with the county this week, he also co-owns property in Libertytown with the estate of the late Kenneth Jordan, who owned Dewey Jordan, Inc., before his death in 2010.
The last time Shreve was on the property was in 2010, and he fixed a window that was broken by a homeless person, he said.
Shreve, who received campaign contributions from Jordan, said he has handled a lot of real estate for the company. As for the demolition going forward without a permit, Shreve said Kenneth Jordan’s widow, Stephanie, who runs the company, is inexperienced in the construction industry.
As for the East Patrick Street property, Holtzinger said he expects to receive the permit this week.
If asbestos, or any other hazardous material, is discovered, the property owner must notify the Frederick County Landfill in advance, according to Phil Harris, Frederick County’s superintendent of the county’s solid waste division. Harris said the materials have state guidelines for disposal, which include specific handling processes.
Staff writer Tripp Laino contributed to this report.