Louisville Magazine

MAR 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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5 8 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.14 else. Rather, he wants the preservation community to make a list. Te city would take no action. "We would be better served to create an inventory of structures and properties in our county that we believe are potential landmarks, so that when someone goes to develop them, they aren't just blindsided," King says. "I've asked for a list several times from people in the preser- vation community." But Porter says a list created solely by preservationists wouldn't change a thing. "In other words, we'd still take each building case by case, for $500 and 200 signatures, in efect making it very, very dif- fcult to landmark properties. (King) came out with the statement that there should be a list — now he's basically backing down." It's not the frst argument for Porter and King. Last year, the pres- ervation community fought a move by the Metro Council to declaw the mayoral-appointed Landmarks Commission, a group that, by law, is made up of experts in architecture, history, archeology, real estate, business and law. Ultimately, the argument led to some changes the preservation community favors, such as allowing the Landmarks Commission 120 days to review landmarks applications instead of the 30 days allowed previously, but the main thrust of the changes has preservation groups fuming. Under the ordinance amendment passed last year, Metro Council can re-evaluate any Landmarks Commission decision and overturn it by simple majority vote. Although Mayor Fischer vetoed the rule changes in only his second veto since taking of- fce, the council overrode the veto and the rules change remains intact. Porter helped negotiate a softened version of the changes to the Landmarks Commission rules, which kindled resentment among As the owner of a 175-year-old preserved home, Porter was particularly sensitive to the expedited razing of the antebellum John E's restaurant in Buechel late last summer. Te cabin's destruction points to what Porter and many others say is a signifcant hole in the city's purely reactive approach to protecting its history: Metro Louisville maintains no list of buildings worth protect- ing. Te Landmarks Commission is powerless to act until a building's owner or its neighbors fle for landmark status, which requires appli- cants to pay a $500 fee and fle a 200-signature petition. Te result is a constant string of death-row appeals for potential landmarks, a fght that frustrates both developers and preservationists. Tis two-sided frustration creates an issue Porter and Bardenwerper actually agree on. Both say the city needs to develop a list of buildings worth preserving. "Te city knows every building that's got any historic value," Bardenwerper says. "For a decade I have argued that since the city knows every building that has landmark potential, why doesn't it — instead of acting in a reactive manner, where people are fghting each other tooth and nail — why not, in a proactive manner, go out, contact the people in those buildings, and say, listen, before this ends up in a potential pitched battle, why don't we talk about what we may be able to agree on to save this place?" Council President Jim King made a similar comment during recent landmark discussions. But King told Louisville Magazine that he didn't mean that the city should make a list, nor did he mean the Landmarks Commission should act on a list of buildings prepared by someone 54-59 PORTER.indd 58 2/19/14 9:46 AM

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