Thursday, February 26, 2009

HISTORIC PRESERVATION NEEDS YOUR HELP

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 charles.cash@louisvilleky.gov 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
502-297-9991 (office)
502-905-9991 (cell)
502-297-8007 (FAX)
stpinlou@aol.com

Very compelling please attend if possible. Thanks. Ed

6 comments:

  1. I look at it from this perspective. If the government is so interested in making private property owners keep houses that have been standing since 1803 standing and intact, perhaps the government should pay for it. Otherwise, I think its immoral and stupid for the owner of a building to have to be forced into the act of fixing a building especially if they may not have the funds to restore said building.

    This really isn't a public nuisance case because losing an old building might be sad but on the other hand, it allows for other development and rebuilding. Who am I to tell someone what to do with his or her property as long it does not affect me and what property I own. This is more than building a commercial development or starting a pig farm or some other nuisance issue.

    What this boils down is the idea, Does a person own the property that they purchased from the other party or real estate company. Do you own your own house or property. Other than keeping your property in clean and proper condition, if you choose to tear down your garage what does it matter. Same standard should apply for old buildings. I've seen vast sections of Louisville that contain a lot of old, ugly, and non maintained houses, buildings, and businesses.

    They should really considere bulldozing a good amount of areas of this city and either fix them them up or rebuild something else. If you want to hold Mr. Gordon to one standard, then hold everyone responsible. A great case of this is in Shively, West Louisville, Germantown, Smoketown, etc. Multitudes of run down buildings never painted with run down exteriors. Where is Metro government and the historical society on those.

    Why is there a double standard in Louisville on just about everything. Its ok to let old buildings rot in the ghetto, but its not ok to demolish some old house in an area of town that is basically uber commercial and built up.

    Not to mention that we want our rights to be respected and honored when it comes to our personal property, Yet on the other hand its ok to tell someone they can't demolish a building or old house because some historical society or board says you can't. However, they don't have to foot the bill for the restoration or repair of said structure.

    Let some of these historical people start putting up the funds to fix all this stuff we will see how quickly it will change.

    Its called progress folks and its something that a lot of Louisville needs. Because the city and surrounding area is really beginning to look ratty and dilapidated. Let some people start cleaning this city up and put some new development in here including getting some jobs. As long as they are not building pig farms, dumps, sewer plants, and nuisance stuff in neighborhoods let them build and have reasonable regulation of that. No wonder a lot of urban cores are such nasty places to live

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lets start asking what is the purpose of having private property when government spends more time taxing and regulating your property than knowing how to fix its own problems. Some double standard there

    ReplyDelete
  3. Agreed, do you realize that any one who applies for a wrecking permit for any builidng, any where in Louisville for a building over 65 years old must wait 30 days to get the permit, if they do get it. The 30 days is so that the Landmarks commission can decide if your building, that they may or may not have known about, should be listed as a historic building. They have actually stopped people from developing projects.

    The latest case is the Colonial Gardens by Iroquois Park, no one card about this eyesore until the owners tried to tear it down so they could sell the lot to a developer.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When Landmarks or any of the other historical groups put restrictions on properties in this city it should be considered a legal taking of property rights and the individual or company that owns the property that is designated "historical" should be compensated.

    Designating properties "historical" and stopping progress does not help property values. In fact, it freezes the value of the property, and this is unacceptable.

    Why is it a group of people are allowed to get together and decide what is best for someone else's property? And by the way, where was the outcry when the old Milner Hotel (designated a landmark with a plaque on it) was allowed to be imploded in downtown Louisville AT THE CITY'S DISCRETION to make way for the convention center? This is so hypocritical!

    Historic terror in this city must end!!! Just because a building is old does not mean that it is historic. Designating a building or an area in this city as historic has been used and abused in this city for too long in order to accomplish an agenda of a few people. This madness must stop!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Whether you agree or not with historic preservation is an individual choice and I can respect the dissenting opinions either way.

    The issue here is not one of Government interference or not. That was already decided.

    An AGREEMENT was made by both parties and Gordon violated what he agreed to. That is the issue. If he gets away with this then how much power does any agreement have?

    In this case it would appear that the acts were intentional and that is unacceptable by anyone.

    Reread this part of the article and think about it for a sec.

    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.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is every old building "historic"? I don't know until the facts about that building are, you know, actually looked at.

    But in cases where the historic nature of particular buildings has been proven, they need to be protected. The only "historic terrorism" is when greedy property owners decide to desecrate or destroy proven historic buildings and thus destroy community heritage.

    Destroying our architectural history and community heritage is regressive.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading LNP. Open and honest discussions of local politics and relevant issues is important to voter understanding. Please listen to the "Ed Springston Show". We broadcast Monday through Thursday evenings at 7 PM on local media outlets. Please check for the links.
Yours truly,
Ed Springston

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