University’s Latest Attempt  To “Build the Wall” Again Rejected by City of Lexington By a Unanimous Vote

November 15, 2022

Edward Valentine’s Recumbent Lee received an important but temporary reprieve from a City of Lexington/Regional Building Code Appeal Board Panel late yesterday.  On a vote of 4-0, the panel turned down a request from Washington and Lee University to remove recently filed fire and life safety code restrictions in Lee Chapel.  The prescribed code enforcement would prohibit the construction of an interior wall that would block both visual and physical access to the Statue Chamber from the chapel sanctuary.

As background, Washington and Lee University has proposed several building code permit applications. This last effort was rejected by the ruling official, Lexington City building inspector, Steve Paulk, as were prior applications to build the interior wall. Washington and Lee officials appealed this last rejection to the regional board. Nov. 14, last night, the full appeal was heard, and after extensive evidence by Inspector, Mr. Paulk, and supported by advisory input by Fire Marshal, Mr. Roberts described statutory guidance and significant risks in Washington and Lee’s wall plan.

Witnesses were cross examined by counsel. Evidence and argument ended. The regional board then went into open session discussing all factors and laws relevant to Washington and Lee’s application to build an interior separation wall between the sanctuary and the rear area housing the Valentine recumbent statue of Robert E. Lee. Numerous specific risk factors affecting occupant safety in an emergency were expressed by board members creating higher life safety risks. The board then voted unanimously to reject the plan on appeal due to significantly higher risks associated with this plan.

Washington and Lee Junior Kamron Spivey, president of Students for Historical Preservation, and attorney John Lane ’74, Vice President and board member, represented the interests of The Generals Redoubt and its thousands of followers.

It is understood that the University has further appeal options.  We will follow these developments carefully and keep you, our readers and followers, up to date as this matter progresses.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Rideout

Thomas P. Rideout ’63 & P ‘91

For The Generals Redoubt

Protecting Our History, Assuring the Future

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