Over the weekend, city officials posted the simple petitions that owners of properties in designated historic districts will need to sign if they want to un-designate their neighborhoods. Which means the 30-day clock for the one-time-only opportunity for districts to free themselves of the burdens of history (and the newly revised historic-district regulations) has already begun ticking. Really, though, the bar’s been set pretty low. What neighborhoods (besides the Old Sixth Ward and Main St./Market Square, which are both excluded from the process) won’t be able to rustle up the signatures of the owners of a measly 10 percent of tracts in their districts who want out? (That’s the threshold designated by the new law for triggering a re-vote.) The petitions describe the process as “reconsideration”; if that term doesn’t mean anything to you, you might find yourself halfway through the petition before you get a real sense of what it is you’re being asked to sign.
One stumbling block property owners in historic districts might come across in deciding whether to sign the petition: The text of the newly revised preservation ordinance doesn’t seem to be posted anywhere. The petition’s very brief second page includes a link to a city web page about the new ordinance “and proposed amendments,” but as of this morning, you won’t find the new rules — already approved by a vote of city council last week — there. We’ve sent messages to a few city officials asking when they’ll be posted; we’ll let you know when we hear back.
Update, 11 am: Public-affairs manager Suzy Hartgrove tells Swamplot the planning department hopes to have the revised ordinance (including the new “transition” ordinance) posted today, after a legal-department review.