Preservation Ordinance

I support a real heritage preservation ordinance like every other major city in Minnesota has.

Dear Council Members,

I thought I would take the opportunity to provide some updates to you all because it will be another few weeks before we are on your agenda.

We (HPC) has met with the Chamber, Mayo Clinic, RDA, RAEDI, RAB, IBM, SEMAR and others that I am probably leaving out. We have now met with this group on two occasions to discuss, negotiate, find middle ground regarding the preservation ordinance. Quickly though I just want to give you an idea of how the first meeting began; we were handed a rewrite of the ordinance which was strictly a voluntary (opt in / opt out) toothless ordinance and we were told this was non-negotiable. It would have been very simple to just accept that and move forward but we would have been doing such a disservice to the remaining historical resources in Rochester. There are no other preservation ordinances in this state that come close to that model of all carrot (financial incentives for rehabilitation) and no protection of the public interest. Since then there has been lots of thoughtful, productive discussion and the attached documents are proof of that. I have attached the ordinance as it was drafted when we presented it to you at the Committee of the Whole in July (dated 7-17-12) and also the most current draft (dated 9-11-12) which includes significant changes summarized below:

Nomination process has been revised to give significant more weight and deference to the property owner
Council designation hearings section has been revised to add property owner objections process and super majority mandate to overrule property owners wishes
HP Commission members section has been revised to include specific people that are members of a medical organization, development, and property owners
Financial incentives section has been added to entice preservation rehab and reuse activities
Permit review process has been revised (simplified)
Appeal section has been removed because current language gives all decision making authority to the council level and there is not an appeal process for council decisions
Limitations section has been revised (45 day time limit added for permit review)
Duties of the Commission section has been revised

I also want to mention that I have been asked to meet with City Administrator Kvenvold and Assistant Administrator Neumann to discuss Administration Dept comments. That meeting is currently scheduled for 9am on Friday, Sept 28th. Much to my disappointment, after multiple requests, at this time there are no planned meetings with the aforementioned Chamber-Mayo group.

Thank you all for taking the time and consideration of this very important proposal we have before us. Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

Best way to reach me is email or cell phone: 251-0385

Sincerely,
Justin Voss
Chair – Rochester Heritage Preservation Committee

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