Historic Homes for Sale?
The HLC ruling, which drew immediate fire from developers, City Council members, and the Statesman alike, was one of several H-zoning controversies that's led the City Council to appoint a task force to review the current policies and politics concerning historic designation -- which both gives owners major tax breaks and can stop redevelopment dead in its tracks. Neighborhood advocates already fear the task force's real mandate is to abolish the city's historic preservation program entirely. But as Crocker sees it, the city's soul-searching mission is long overdue. "The Historic Landmark Commission is not a land-use commission," she said. "Historic designation plaques should tell a story; they shouldn't be granted just because a hundred of us want historic zoning."
The Planning Commission takes up the Bellmont case Oct. 8. Regardless of its vote, the City Council will have the final say, possibly on Oct. 24. Heritage resident Lindsey Crow says the current climate doesn't lend itself to a favorable vote. "At this point," she said, "I feel that the only hope for the cottages is if the Manleys can be persuaded to sell [them] to the neighbors." Heritage residents planned to meet this week with other neighborhood groups in older center-city environs to mull over whether and how to fight historic preservation battles as a unified coalition.