All of you know how closely I follow IPL, BOZA, and the other clowns involved with zoning so it will come as no surprise when ou read the following. I was asked to post this in support of this and get the word out. I am honored to do so. Please make plans to attend this hearing.
This case is one that is representative of the mockery of BOZA in regards to property. Your help and support are greatly appreciated. The email is below:
To All Friends of Historic Preservation:
First, please forward this e-mail to anyone interested in historic preservation.
Second, it is absolutely crucial that we have a full house for this hearing on Thursday, March 5, 2009, at 1:00 PM in the hearing room of the Old Jail Building at Sixth and Liberty Streets. If you have ever or never come to a Planning & Zoning Commission hearing, PLEASE come to this one, unless you don't care about protecting historic buildings or don't care about enforcing promises made by developers when they rezone property.
Third, there is a proposed "settlement" of this case which originates from a private one-on-one discussion between the owner, Michael Gordon (at his request), and Bill Schreck, the Director of Louisville Metro Inspections, Permits and Licenses (IPL).
No attorneys for either side were present.
In short, Gordon is proposing to pay a $25,000 amount to be used by the City for its ongoing identification of historic sites and is promising to preserve the stone springhouse on the property.
Remember, the fine amount originally proposed by IPL was $780,000. There is no promise to preserve the Peter Funk House or to restore it. It could be demolished.
Bill Schreck, IPL and Louisville Metro are recommending that this horrible settlement proposal be accepted by the Planning Commission.
There would be no further hearings, no evidence presented about the desecration of this 1803 building by Gordon, no calling of witnesses to testify that the actions taken were not necessary to preserve the building, no evidence that the previous owner was acutely aware of the restrictions placed on the property to preserve its historic integrity, no evidence that Gordon was warned beforehand his plans would destroy the character of the house as well as its historic value, no evidence that much of the work was done without required permits, no evidence presented about his promises to the Planning Commission to "restore the historic building and keep everything the way it looks; keep it the same as it is", no attempt to revoke his zoning allowances gained by that lie, no attempt to analyze the changes made to the building to see if they can be reversed, nothing, nothing.
On January 25, 2008, before Gordon began his destruction, we warned Louisville Metro that he was planning to do this. That was reinforced by the Louisville Historical League that same day.
Louisville Metro did nothing until much of the damage had been done. Even then, it did not stop Gordon from continuing with his desecration. Richard Jett, Louisville Metro Historic Preservation Officer, has said: "Short of actual demolition, this is the worst treatment of a significant historic resource in my professional experience." He rightfully called on Louisville Metro to "take the strongest possible actions both punitive and remedial in response to his destruction of a significant building that had survived largely intact for over two hundred years."
Is a $25,000 pittance what it takes to destroy a protected 200-year old historic building and to lie to the Planning Commission?
There are two huge issues here. The first is the promised preservation of an historic site and buildings. The second is the ability of a landowner to make promises to do something good in order to get a zoning change or amendment, violate those promises, and be virtually allowed to get away with those violations. The precedents for future cases here are huge. For IPL to recommend this settlement, or for the Planning Commission to accept it, is and would be a travesty both for historic preservation as well as for the entire planning and zoning process.
PLEASE ATTEND THIS HEARING AND BRING ALL WHO SUPPORT HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND WHO SUPPORT A ZONING PROCESS THAT DELIVERS WHAT IT PROMISES.
If you can't possibly attend and even if you do, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your outrage at this proposed settlement.
And remember, forward this e-mail to all you know who care about these issues and give a damn about effective local government.
Stephen T. Porter, Attorney
OPEN Louisville, Inc.
2406 Tucker Station RoadLouisville, KY 40299-4529
Very compelling please attend if possible. Thanks. Ed
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