Neighborhood Planning and Preservation: Lobby Fischer Administration to veto landmarks ordinance
Friends and Neighbors:
If you opposed Yates’ amendment to change the landmarks ordinance, please take a moment to contact Mayor Fischer and ask him to veto the measure that Metro Council passed last Thursday 16-7. Also, feel free to pass this request on to others who feel the same.
NPP’s letter requesting the veto is attached below for your reference and review. The main issues of concern are: lack of transparency and bias of the process, fixing something that was not broken, legislation that will be difficult to administer, prejudicial in its impact and open to legal challenge. However, you can help a lot by just saying “PLEASE VETO” the Landmarks Amendment passed by Metro Council.
The mayor may be contacted by:
Email: Greg.Fischer@louisvilleky.gov (also copy email@example.com)
Phone: 502.574.2003 or (8am-5pm—M-F)
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, “Neighborhood Planning & Preservation , Inc.” <NPPKentuckiana@gmail.com>
Last Thursday, the Metro Council passed an amendment that changes the Landmark’s Ordinance in a way that is seriously flawed and gives Metro Council the ultimate say in land-marking. Naturally, we support any effort to improve public notification. However, given the way Metro Council handled this matter, we have grave concerns and urge you to veto the measure for many reasons:
First and foremost, there was no public evaluation process that indicated there was a problem. It appears to have resulted from discussions that did not involve the public or preservation community. Neither Yates, his co-sponsors or an open records request demonstrated the public outcry against Landmarks or Colonial Gardens that Yates claimed. So, by over-stating public concern, he created a problem that did not exist to advance this action.
Second, The Planning and Zoning Committee ignored the results of its own public hearings on this matter. Yates’ argument that “outsiders” drove the Colonial Garden’s designation was disproved by actual data, testimony from residents living near Colonial Gardens and the councilperson over that district- Dan Johnson, who voted against the amendment. In hearings opened to the general public, email, phone calls, the vast majority spoke AGAINST changing the ordinance. Among the few supporting change, most were affiliated with the development community who profit from demolishing older buildings—most notably the Homebuilder’s Association. Yates repeatedly cited the public hearings as a demonstration of public involvement, but consistently failed to disclose the strong opposition to the amendment in the public hearings.
Work group activities on this ordinance were not transparent and were biased in favor of special interest groups who profit from demolishing historic structures. The “work group” that produced the current amendment, met secretly, favored representation from the Home Builder’s Association over members from the preservation community. Yet, Yates repeatedly references the involvement of “preservationists” in the work group process. In reality, most preservationists volunteering to participate were rejected or informed after the fact. Also, a request for the name and affiliation of the participants submitted weeks ago has been ignored by Councilman Yates’ office.
The manner in which this proposed change has been handled is very troubling– as is the lip service from the sponsors claiming respect for preservation and a desire for greater public involvement, while acting to the contrary.
1. Initiating change without legitimate grounds to do so.
2. Ignoring public opposition to the amendment.
3. Misleading the public regarding: what instigated the changes, the outcome of the public hearings, the role of special interest groups in instigating and participating in the process,etc. demonstrate their claims are no more than hyperbole and illustrates why the Council should not have more power than it has in determining what should be landmarked.
The resulting legislation will be problematic to administer, discriminatory in its application and open to public and legal challenge.
The time and energy to railroad this through would have been better spent working on ways to encourage local developers to become part of the growing trend away from the waste of demolition towards the greener option of refurbishing the old for contemporary use.
All over the nation, cities are recognizing the widespread benefits associated with re-habbing and re-use of older structures represent–in terms of providing longer term jobs, promoting smart growth, building stronger neighborhoods, preserving historic character and enhancing sustainability. Louisville is at a crossroads. This is a complex issue, in which landmarking laws plays only a part; however, that part is significant.
We urge you to reaffirm your commitment to transparency, ethical government and a sustainable Louisville by vetoing this measure and calling for an open, inclusive and unbiased process that can yield genuine improvements worthy of our great historic city and the 21st century. Thank you.
It is up to all of us,
Martina N. Kunnecke
Neighborhood Planning & Preservation, Inc. (NPP)