Tea time!
That is, landmarking the Boulder Teahouse. Two interesting tidbits here: It would be the youngest individual landmark in city history and maybe will become the first time Boulder landmarks the interior of a building.
The teahouse is really cool. And they serve a mean English tea, with proper scones and AMAZING clotted cream.
Love me some clotted cream.
You should read my story, but in case you're lazy, here's some Fun Facts about the teahouse, a gift from our sister city in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
“From 1988 until 1990, Tajik artists and master-craftsmen constructed the Teahouse in Dushanbe and Khujand, Tajikistan. The building was disassembled and sent to Boulder in 200 wooden crates." (Source: staff memo)
From 1997-1998, with the assistance of Tajik artisans, the City reconstructed the Teahouse at its site on 13th Street.
The Teahouse gift of friendship from Boulder’s sister city, Dushanbe, located in the former Soviet Union, is thought to be the only “chaikhona” (Central Asian/Tajik Teahouse), in the Western Hemisphere.
At the time of the gift, the Teahouse was the largest gift ever given to an American city by the former Soviet Union, and the only gift of an actual building between the Soviet Union-United States sister cities.
“Although the Soviet Union has given other gifts to cities, states and the US government, nothing in the history of Soviet-US exchanges comes even close to this.” wrote Molly Raymond, U.S. Information Agency, in 1988.
Was initially gifted to Boulder in 1987
Fun fact from staff: The Boulder Theater was the youngest building ever landmarked in Boulder, at 44 years old in 1980.
This would obvs supplant that, if landmarked.
Back to the "can-we-landmark-the-inside" thing: Staff and the Landmarks Board didn't recommend that, based on the opinion of the city attorney's office.

The historic preservation ordinances don't allow for that, they said.
What's being recommended in lieu of an interior landmark is a maintenance manual, to dictate how the interior should be treated.
A nonprofit group who recommended the landmark, Friends of the Boulder-Dushanbe Teahouse, is arguing for an interior landmark, as are some members of council.
Boulder's preservation codes don't explicitly prohibit landmarking an interior, they say.
Landmarks typically cover the building (or portions thereof) and the property it sits on, preventing redevelopment but not interior remodels.
Some say it's overkill to landmark the interior, as the city owns this building and the land it sits on. So if anyone would redo the inside, it would be... the city itself. And it's not likely to do that. Certainly not without a public process.
I mean, there is a tenant there, but most tenants don't typically undertake massive remodels without the owners OK.
Young asks about the maintenance manual. Does it require more of the restaurant that operates there, in terms of getting the city OK to do routine stuff?
No, Marcy Cameron says. But staff wants more input. "We're in the beginning stages of figuring out what that looks like."
Yates: How did we handle the interior of the Harbeck House? another historic, landmarked building the city leased to a third party. What did we do to protect that interior?
Carr: We limited the uses that could go there.
Yates: Does that also bind tenants?
Carr: It mostly acts as a way to provide notice to everyone that there are restrictions on the interior. We could do what we did for Harbeck at the Teahouse.
It's called a Declaration of Use.
Wallach: Does it require any changes to go past a landmarking agency?
Carr: I think no but let me look it up real quick.
He's reading and I'm not understanding.
Friend: "I love the interior of the Teahouse as much as anyone." Is the interior under threat? Does someone want to change it? Is this something we have to figure out now?
Joanna Crean, director of Fleet and Facilities: "As the owner of the city buildings, we very much want the interior to remain as beautiful and fabulous as it is."

"There's nothing right before us" that is a change or that we have to address right now.
Weaver: I thought there was some precipitating event, maybe something the current tenant had done...?
A fountain was painted!
Crean: "That was not something that had been an issue in the past." The city didn't know about it; the teahouse operator did it on their own, as an attempt to provide work for employees during the pandemic, she says.
Weaver: Have there been issues like this before?
Crean: A few years ago, the city used the wrong stain on the columns! By accident, of course.
Crean: "We're happy to get as specific as we can (with a maintenance manual) so we can keep the interior as vibrant as it is."
"Leftover Hand" should be the name of council's after-hours band.
Did you know Mayor Weaver is/was in a band? I wish it was called the Pocket Protectors, but it's not.
OK, focus, Shay: Back to business.
We're hearing now from Vern Seieroe, the architect who designed the teahouse so it was enclosed rather than an open roof. He's on the Friends of the Boulder-Dushanbe Teahouse.
He's talking about how the accidental stain occurred. It was actually an inappropriate application of tung oil!
"There's so many things that happen in the course of the day ... it's important to go slow and address the issues, including the application of the materials."
The Tung Oil Incident = also a great band name.
This is basically Boulder's Ecce Homo fresco fiasco. nydailynews.com/news/world/eld…
We're researching ways to remove that tung oil, Seieroe says. "It's not easy to get that off; I don't know that we'll be able to."
Seieroe: Just to remind everybody, the teahouse was a gift. It was an open pavilion.

Didn't Boulder give Dushanbe frozen turkeys in exchange?
I bet they're still talking shit about Boulder in Dushanbe for that one.
Oh, jk, we did a solar-powered Internet cafe! dailycamera.com/2009/08/15/bou…
7 speakers for the public hearing. www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/October_2…
Scott Holwick is repping some ditch companies that own property (and I assume water rights) on the waterway that runs by the teahouse. They weren't informed of the landmarking process, Holwick says.
The city crafted a last-minute workaround to keep things accessible and acceptable to the ditch co. So this landmark will take a third reading.
Holwick: We need to be able to access, repair, maintain, etc. the ditch without asking permission. (That's what the workaround did; now the ditch co are on board.)
Kathryn Barth: "There should be no question that the teahouse should be landmarked." The question is, should we landmark the interior?

Her answer: Yes. That way, when work has to be done, landmarks staff will oversee it.
A maintenance plan "is a very useful thing, but it cannot stand by itself," Barth says.
Breaking news from 8 years ago! dailycamera.com/2012/03/22/1-m…
So... frozen turkeys then?
Karl Anuta: Even if we landmark the interior, "who is going to challenge it? Not the tenant, not the public, not the city, who owns the building. And certainly not Historic Boulder."
Precedent won't be set, Anuta says, because the city owns the building. If we have another building in the future with similar ownership and such unique and iconic interior, we'll be glad to have this precedent.
OH, another Fun Fact I forgot about the Dushanbe Teahouse: It was built without the use of power tools.
Natalie Feinberg Lopez, who fixes mistakes on historic buildings, says the Tung Oil Incident will likely cost $100,000 to undo.
Joe Stepanek: "People come and go, councils change, entrepreneurs change. It's v important to have high written standards that is all-inclusive."

In favor of an interior landmark.
Melanie Muckle: "I do not agree that this is a major camel's nose in the tent."

Um... what?
Like, what the actual what? Is this a real saying?
Ahh.. apparently it is: "The camel's nose is a metaphor for a situation where the permitting of a small, seemingly innocuous act will open the door for larger, clearly undesirable actions." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camel%27s…
Seieroe taking the longest time to say he doesn't have anything else to say.
Wallach: I disagree that the statute prohibits landmarking of the interior. "That is not a common sense reading."
Language and the law changes over time, Wallach says. Look at what we're doing now: Landmarking a building that is 22 years old. Landmarks are typically 50 yrs old or more.
"Apparently the argument that precedent must control how we interpret the statute only applies to portions of the statute," he says.

Wallach Sigh-O-Meter: 1
Wallach: Landmarking only the exterior would be like saving an art museum but not the artworks themselves.
Other cities landmark interiors, Wallach says. Grand Central Station, the lobby of the Chrysler building, the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan.
Wallach: "This is city-owned, we're doing so voluntarily." We're not taking property rights away from a private owner.
Carr: "That's not a fair characterization of what I've said at all."
Our law has never been interpreted to landmark interiors. We've had attempts; they've never worked. If you interpret it in this way, you're saying we can landmark interiors.

Under the NY landmarks law, you can landmark interiors.
We don't change the interpretation laws without significant community input, Carr says. "I'm not worried about precedent; I'm not worried about us getting sued. I'm worried about community trust" in the way we interpret laws.
Wallach: "I'm not really that concerned with how the sausage is made." I want to get to the end result that the teahouse interior is landmarked.
Carr: "I want to help you get there. That's my job."
It's like uncles fighting at Thanksgiving.
Except with more teeth. (At least compared to my uncles)
Young: There are community members who are concerned about reinterpreting the current statute, that it might be a slippery slope.

Proposes amending the code to be "very clear" that landmarking is allowed for city buildings on city land.
"Change the statute so we allow for landmarking of interiors for city buildings on city land," Young restates. Make sure it goes to the Landmarks Board; they represent the community.
Wallach OK with that.
Brockett: I support the landmarking. I also want to make sure the extraordinary interior stays safe.

It's not my preferred approach to amend the code itself. That's a workplan item; it takes additional time.
Just include in this particular landmarking that interior changes be approved by landmark staff.
Or board members.
That was a Carr suggestion.
Friend: "Usually you try to do the narrowest thing you can to try and accomplish what you're after."

We didn't have community discussion about landmarking interiors in general. "I'd be really uncomfortable going down that road tonight."
Friend: Even with Brockett's suggestion, could that be a precedent that we require landmark approval for interior changes on future landmarks? We sometimes landmark over owner's objections.
Weaver: I'm in favor of the narrowest protection possible, but I'd love the Landmarks Board to take up the question of landmarking interiors.

"We could start with city buildings first."
"I don't think a maintenance manual is necessarily enough" to protect the Teahouse interior, Weaver says.
Carr recommends continuing the hearing, then having staff work on language in the meantime. "There's no rush for this particular landmarking. I'd rather have the time to work with Friends of the Teahouse and staff."
OK, so this matter will be decided later.

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