Strident Historic Preservation advocate Betsy Rogers Owens says, “I’m not here at all to put a hard sell on anybody” while she tries to enable historic preservation oversight for all improvements to your property.
The city is seeking public comment on another proposed revision to our Historic Preservation law at both 9AM and 5PM on Wednesday, October 7th in City Hall Commission Chambers located at 401 S. Park Ave. Please consider attending one or both of the October 7th meetings and argue against the Historic District aspects of the law.
Does the Historic District law apply to my property?
YES. The law applies to every property in Winter Park and a district can be formed anywhere a few homes or buildings are 50 years old, now or in the future. Criteria for determination of historic significance are completely subjective. If your neighbors vote to control your property you must comply regardless of consequences to your plans or property value.
Will my property be part of a Historic District?
THERE IS A LIST OF TARGETED PROPERTIES. Other neighborhoods will be targeted later. Historic preservation advocates are initially targeting properties on the city’s list of “Historic Resources” which includes boundaries of proposed Historic Districts on the last page. Check the 2013 Inventory of Winter Park Historic Resources to see if your property is currently targeted as a Historic Resource or lies within the boundaries of a proposed Historic District. An interested citizen has used the list of historic resources to map the properties here, and to map the proposed Historic Districts here. Learn how this list was compiled here.
Can my property be forced into a Historic District even if it was built a few years ago or has no redeeming historic value?
YES. If your property is included within an area that receives enough votes to form a Historic District you will be forced to comply with the requirements of historic preservation oversight regardless of your property’s age or historic value (as judged by someone else). No objective criteria are applied in determining whether your property is included in an area proposed for a Historic District.
What does historic preservation oversight mean?
You lose control over all improvements to your property. The law grants the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) and city staff arbitrary control over approval of all requests for improvements to all properties within Historic Districts (whether properties are deemed by HPB as having historic attributes, not not). HPB is required to measure and evaluate applications for all improvements under The U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. “Rehabilitation” is defined as “the process of returning a property to a state of utility, through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are significant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values.” Further, “exterior additions that duplicate the form, material, and detailing of the structure to the extent that they compromise the historic character of the structure will fail to meet the Standards.” The Historic Preservation Board decides what these words mean, not you.
The Historic District language will be finalized by the city commission. Their first of two readings of the proposed law is scheduled for November 9th and your comments at the October 7th public sessions will be important to their deliberation.
Every aspect of historic district formation and related redevelopment control in this proposed law is extreme, unreasonable, and counterproductive to improving the quality of historic preservation in Winter Park and to improving the quality of our community.
Please consider attending one or both of the October 7th meetings (9AM and 5PM at city hall) to argue against the Historic District aspects of the law.
Regards, Pete Weldon