Changes to Landmark Ordinance vetoed by Mayor Fischer.
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of a historic protest against the demolition of Pennsylvania Station in New York City. Over 100 well-dressed picketers marched in front of the massive structure, including famous personalities like Jane Jacobs and architect Philip Johnson who worked on Louisville’s Aegon Tower. The train station was destroyed, but it served as a rallying cry for creating the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission and launching the modern preservation movement, shaping the New York City we know today.
It’s appropriate then that, yesterday, Mayor Fischer vetoed the Yates historic preservation amendment that would have given Metro Council oversight in the landmarks process, potentially politicizing the process, required a strict geographic adjacency for landmark petition signers, and generally regarded as a step backward by preservationists. Sixteen Metro Council-members, mostly from suburban districts, voted to amend the preservation ordinance, including Old Louisville representative David James, whose district includes the city’s largest preservation district. Metro Council-member David Yates needs only two more votes to override the veto (18 of 26 votes required), so the story continues.
Louisville has had many chances for a “Penn Station Moment,” but it seems that nothing got under the city’s skin (and stuck) quite like the recent battle over Whiskey Row, where portions of several warehouse buildings on Main Street were saved from a demolition proposal. Attorney Stephen Porter of preservation group OPEN Louisville suggests contacting Metro Council members and encouraging them “to stay strong on the side of their Mayor and effective preservation procedures” and oppose overriding the veto.
View Mayor Fischer’s veto letter after the jump.