Hundreds Oppose Landmarks Ordinance, But Compromises Possible

by Devin Katayama on May 14, 2012

Despite hundreds of residents and individuals who have signed an online petition against proposed changes to Louisville’s landmarks ordinance, a compromise measure may clear committee this week.

The original proposal would give more power over what becomes a landmark to the Metro Council and to people who live or own property within a one-mile radius of the potential landmark. Hundreds of opposition emails were forwarded to council members by petition website Change.org, which argue the landmarks process has served the community well for years.

But that still hasn’t convinced several local lawmakers who say the council already decides most other metro-related issues, and should also have a say in the landmarks process. Some say residents living near a potential landmark should also carry more weight, which is what happened when Louisville’s Colonial Gardens received its landmarks status; but the area has yet to be developed.

There may be room for compromise if the Landmarks Commission,which currently oversees the landmarks process, still retains some of its power and if the city clarifies which residents would be consulted on landmarks declarations, said commission president Bob Vice.

Part of the argument against the ordinance has been how the city plans to define the one mile radius and many say it would be difficult. But, Vice said the city has assured it can be done.

“I’m told with the new database system the city maintains through Logic, that it is possible,” he said.

The council is expected to consider the legislation Tuesday. Currently, city lawmakers have the power to approve the mayor’s appointments to the Landmarks Commission.

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