Guest Editorial: Landmarks and Council Don't Mix (3/13/12)
The proof of the Louisville Landmarks Commission's forty years of work is all around us. We've got wonderful old city neighborhoods to visit and 83 stand-alone historical landmarks to enjoy.
Make no mistake, some of those treasures would not be here but for a strong, independent Landmarks Commission. Yes, occasionally there's anger when the Commission keeps the wrecking ball from leveling a privately-owned historic structure, but remember -- not every citizen petition for Landmark status is approved. For instance, the Commission recently turned down the Kenwood Drive –In in Louisville's South End.
Today's question is, who should step in to preserve historic buildings? Several of my colleagues want the Metro Council to have the final say. I say that for 40 years our Landmarks Commission has heard citizen petitions, conducted in-depth research, held hearings and – if negotiations with the owner failed - stopped the bulldozer. I fear if Metro Council insists on holding the demolition trump card, the Commission's power to negotiate a solution with the owner will be hobbled.
Besides, it's hard for a twenty-six member Council accustomed to the blinding heat of the moment to have the long view.
You should tell your Metro Council member not to get into the business of designating historic landmarks.
I'm Tom Owen, and that's my…Point of View.