Thursday, December 27, 2012
When Peterson Conway was a teen, he got to know Flanders Mansion’s steep roof and narrow windows while his brother was shooting a horror film there. Now, Conway wants to lease the 1924 English Tudor-style revival for 20 years, though he thinks the city would be wiser to sell it.
“As a taxpayer, I think that the city should sell it,” Conway says. “I just don’t think the government should be in the business of managing these kinds of assets.”
That was the also the direction Carmel-by-the-Sea voters gave City Council in 2009, but the city’s been battling with the Flanders Foundation since then. The group sued, arguing the property should remain a public asset.
The Foundation prevailed after the Sixth District Court of Appeal ordered the city to more thoroughly analyze the alternative of leasing the mansion. City Council is expected to consider that revised environmental impact report, plus 113 pages of public comment, on Jan. 8. That follows city Planning Commission and Forest and Beach Commission approvals earlier this month.
Les and Trish Albiol of Mountain View have also been asking city officials to consider a lease since 1998, under which they would live there and fix the padlocked property up.
Flanders Foundation president Melanie Billig is heartened a lease is on the table, but says the group would still oppose a sale: “If we go down that route, it’s extremely divisive in the community,” she says.