News & Advocacy

A Victory for Preservation Funding

May 29, 2013

Preservation as a “community benefit” in City development agreements moved a step forward in April as the Planning Commission forwarded the Century West Partners proposal for 1318 2nd Street on to City Council with a recommendation that $25,000 of approximately $500,000 in community benefit funding be allocated to historic preservation.

The project is a 4-story mixed-use building and involves the demolition of a property listed in the current Historic Resources Inventory as a potential contributor to previously identified historic districts. The Landmarks Commission approved demolition because its members did not see the building as having the level of significance that would merit consideration as an individual landmark. The Conservancy did not advocate for the project; our position was that, if the project moved forward, funding for preservation should be included in the agreement.

This positive vote was the culmination of months of effort by the Conservancy.  The rationale for inclusion in the agreement was the stipulation in the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) that preservation was one of five priorities for potential community benefits, as well as the fact that many of the highest priorities set forth in the City’s 2002 Historic Preservation Element remain unrealized.  Seeing that current budget constraints limit the City’s ability to make progress against these priorities, we have been working with members of the Landmarks and Planning Commissions, Planning staff, and members of City Council to propose that a small portion of the total community benefits associated with development agreements might begin to address the needs stated in the Historic Preservation Element.

Examples include:

  • A Preservation Resource Center for the community at the landmark Shotgun House
  • Heritage education in our schools
  • A program to support heritage tourism
  • Inclusion of historic and cultural information in the Downtown Wayfinding Program
  • A Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program which would encourage preservation and adaptive reuse of historic structures

As of May 14, 2013, the ordinance defining the 1318 2nd Street Development Agreement was approved by City Council on first reading with the funding for preservation in place. The ordinance requires a second reading and vote at a subsequent Council meeting for adoption.  This is schedule to take place on June 11, 2013

Whatever the outcome for this project, the Conservancy will continue to advocate for preservation funding to bring the priorities of the 2002 Historic Preservation Element much closer to reality.

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