Landmarks ordinance

7:26 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Council Overrides Fischer Landmarks Veto

In a historic vote, the Louisville Metro Council rejected Mayor Greg Fischer’s veto of the landmarks ordinance by an 18-to-7 vote.

The legislation was aimed at changing several provisions of the way the city designates historic sites and structures. Among the amendments was a change to allow a majority of council members to halt a decision made by the Landmarks Commission for further review.

The mayoral veto was the second in Fischer's administration, and was the first to be rejected by the council since city and county governments merged.

For months, council members held public forums and debated the measure until it passed last week. But Fischer vetoed the bill at the urging of preservationists, who argued the amendments favor developers and endanger the city's heritage. In a letter to city lawmakers, the mayor said council members were overstepping their bounds and politicizing the process.

Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, voted for the ordinance and stood against the veto. He says the mayor admitted there were problems in the landmarks process and the council needed to step in due to a lack of oversight.

"We’re being told that the fabric of our heritage will be permanently diminished by providing oversight by this council. However, a review of the facts makes this seem a bit of a contradiction," he says. "Even the mayor in his veto message admits the Bauer site might have been a mistake. Oversight was needed, but it wasn’t there."

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5:31 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Council Mulling Fischer Landmarks Veto

The Louisville Metro Council could override Mayor Greg Fischer's veto of contentious changes to the landmarks ordinance this week, but one member says the administration is twisting lawmakers' arms.

The legislation amended several provisions of the four-decade-old law that governs historic site declarations, but Fischer agreed with preservationists that the changes politicized the process and violated the separation of powers between the council and mayor's office.

Since city and county governments merged in 2003, there have been four mayoral vetoes of council measures and lawmakers have never mustered the necessary two-thirds vote to override.

Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, who voted for the landmarks bill, says lawmakers have bipartisan agreement this time and should overturn the mayor's decision in part because Fischer is overstepping his bounds.

"The vote Thursday is not going to be about the ordinance again, it's going to be about overriding a veto. So there are other issues that come into play beyond the merits of the ordinance itself," he says. "And I'm hoping we end up with the 18 votes that we need. I just think (Fischer's) attempting to usurp some power of the council and I'm not exactly sure why. This is not a major issue for him to pull out the veto power."

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2:55 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Fischer Vetoes Landmarks Ordinance

File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has vetoed the contentious landmarks ordinance a week after the Metro Council passed the bill.

The legislation amended several provisions of the four decade old law, and allowed a majority vote in the council to overturn a decision made by the city's landmarks commission. Despite stiff opposition from preservationists and outcry from a handful of lawmakers it passed the council by a 16-7 vote.

In a letter to city lawmakers, Fischer agreed with preservationists, who argued the ordinance politicized the process and violated the separation of powers between the council and mayor's office.

"The positive impacts of our current, nationally recognized landmarks law far outweigh the need to change this four decade precedent for our city," he says. "Additionally, the citizens of Louisville have clearly told me that they fear the landmarks process potentially could be politicized through Metro Council involvement.I cannot support a law that allows a simple majority of the Metro Council to overturn the standards based review of the Landmarks Commission."

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8:00 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Yates Confident Mayor Won’t Veto Landmarks Bill

The author of a controversial landmarks ordinance is optimistic that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will not veto the legislation.

After months of debate, the council voted to change the city’s longstanding process to declare historic sites. But a group of preservationists is urging the mayor to reject the ordinance, arguing that it violates the state constitution and encroaches upon the executive branch’s authority.

Councilman David Yates, D-25, who introduced the measure, says the mayor isn’t likely to veto the law.

"If you veto it then you lose the improved legislation. We hopefully don’t have to go that route and I don’t think that would be his intention. But I can’t speak for him," he says.

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2:01 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

Preservationist Group Requests Fischer Veto Landmarks Ordinance

A preservationist group is requesting Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer veto a controversial ordinance that allows the Metro Council to overturn a decision made by the Landmarks Commission.

After months of debate, the council passed the bill by a 16-7 vote last Thursday that changes the city’s longstanding process to declare historic sites. Introduced by Councilman David Yates, D-25, who said the commission lacked oversight, lawmakers made a number of changes including a provision that allows a majority of council members to challenge a Landmarks Commission decision and begin a review process.

Attorney Steve Porter is representing the preservationist group OPEN Louisville, which drafted a letter to Fischer asking him to reject the ordinance.

He says the council is violating the state constitution and encroaching upon the mayor’s authority.

"If this passes and goes into affect without a veto, landmarks is the only local agency that can be overruled by the Metro Council. And I think this is in violation of the Kentucky revised statuette, which set up a separation executive and legislative power," he says.

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Local News
3:31 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Committee Postpones Landmarks Ordinance Vote

The Louisville Metro Council Planning and Zoning Committee has postponed a vote on controversial revisions to the city's landmarks ordinance after committee members failed to bring the measure up for discussion.

The changes being considered would give the Metro Council final say over what cites become landmarks. It would also require a majority of the 200 signatures needed to petition a site for landmark hstatusearing to come from residents within a one-mile radius of the proposed landmark.

Those in opposition say the landmarks process has been working for years and the 13-member landmarks commission is more than fair at determining what should be granted landmark status.

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