Preservation Alert! Vote on Landmarks Ordinance Today

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Preservation Louisville

We began receiving frantic emails last night from all sorts of preservation groups like Preservation Louisville, OPEN Louisville, Preservation Kentucky, and NPP Kentuckiana about a surprise meeting of the Metro Council Planning, Zoning, and Land Use Committee where Council Member David Yates’ ill-conceived Landmarks Ordinance will be voted on today. If you can make it, take a late lunch and stop by Metro Council Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall at 1:30 p.m. today to show your opposition for this block-headed bill that could severely hinder the practice of historic preservation in our oh-so-historic city.

According to NPP Kentuckiana, Council members Tom Owen and Dan Johnson are expected to oppose the ordinance, meaning only one more vote is needed to defeat it.

Here’s a letter from Preservation Kentucky’s director Rachel Kennedy with more info:

Thanks to Tom Owen, we are aware that the Landmarks Ordinance is once again a target of a select group of MC members. Metro Council (MC) Planning, Zoning, & Land Use Committee has decided to vote on CM David Yates’ proposal to change the Louisville Landmarks Ordinance. For those unaware, Yates’ proposal would overly politicize designation by allowing Metro Council to vote on the final designation of any individual landmark with respect to no professional criteria; thereby muting the professional judgment of the Landmarks Commission and permitting undue influence by moneyed interests. Further, the changes would unnecessarily restrict Landmarks geographically to an arbitrary one-mile boundary (it has changed so many times now that my head is spinning), when Louisville’s heritage belongs to all of us!! Though it has been proven statistically by Steve Porter of Open Louisville that most designations are supported within that geographic range, there are occasions when that would be impossible, such as Hogan’s Pavilion or just about any rural designation. Not good policy!

These changes are not based upon thoughtful feedback of Landmark Ordinance users, nor are they based on comments from any recent planning study. These changes are pure and simple politics, coming from portions of our community that wish to blame preservation (and anyone else who gets in their way) for the poor state of the economy.

If possible, please attend the meeting [TODAY at 1:30p.m.] or email/call your Metro Council member tonight or early tomorrow to express your disapproval of changes to the Louisville Landmarks Ordinance. This is a threat to preservation and to open government in Louisville. Let’s push back hard. Our Landmarks Ordinance is among the best in the nation–let’s keep it that way.


Rachel M. Kennedy, Executive Director
Preservation Kentucky

Hope you can make it!

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden is a writer and architectural designer living in Brooklyn. After graduating from the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Branden practiced architecture in Louisville where he worked on several large LEED Certified buildings. Branden is the senior web editor at The Architect’s Newspaper, where he covers architecture, design, and urbanism. He has also written about design for Designers & Books, sustainability for Inhabitat, and architecture for the American Institute of Architects. He founded Broken Sidewalk in 2007, an online collaborative promoting architecture and urbanism in Louisville, Kentucky and the Midwest.


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