Mayor vetoes law that puts control of landmarks in Metro Council's hands

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by Bryan Baker

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 3 at 12:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- From Whiskey Row to Colonial Gardens near Iroquois Park and back downtown to East Market and the NuLu district, Louisville-designated historical landmarks are everywhere. They are pieces of our rich history connecting past to present.

The Metro Council passed a law changing how a building receives that designation by giving itself the final say. But in a letter explaining how the law would "politicize" the process by being put in the Council's hands, Mayor Greg Fischer vetoed it, despite saying he agrees with many other parts of the plan.

Landmarks have often been a battle ground between preservationists and developers who want to tear down and rebuild. Currently, the Landmark Commission, appointed by the Mayor, makes its decision based on local petitions signed by at least 200 people.

Metro Councilman David Yates, one of the bill's sponsors, says he wants there to be oversight of the process in case someone tries to block revitalization of an area.

"When you have a piece of property that has not been designated historic, you have a developer, someone we've encouraged to come in, and they're bringing in a restaurant or they're bringing in jobs," he said. "Whatever it is, they apply for the demolition permit, and we stop them in their tracks. To me it's not a fair process."

Preservationists like Marianna Zickuhr say the 40-year law now on the books does its job.

"And I can only assume that our leadership in the Metro Council with their wisdom must not have been informed correctly about the benefits of the ordinance and the way it works," she said.

But the law itself may not be history. Councilman Yates says he believed there are the necessary 18 votes to override the Mayor's veto.

 

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