First person I saw at City Hall yesterday was Katherine Seale, exec director of Preservation Dallas, who'd come to council in an attempt to stall a vote on the historic demolition ordinance we've been discussing since, oh, August '08 and the one that, as currently written, would allow the city to "bypass the Landmark Commission if Code, the Fire Marshall, etc determined a structure to be a major health concern," as one well-informed Friend of Unfair Park summarized it yesterday. Seale declared victory, for now: The vote has been deferred one month, pending its pass through yet another council committee. Then I ran into First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers, who's been crafting the ordinance going on three years. I asked him about the deferral. He smiled and said, "That's why the democratic process is a wonderful thing."
In case you missed it, Angela Hunt, in her first day back at council, left a message at the bottom of Jim's item yesterday concerning the ordinance. Wrote Hunt:
The council decided not to vote on this today and deferred the item, in large part because of the swift action of preservationists who deluged the council with emails this morning. Now the item will go back to be briefed to the Council Housing Committee, then return to the full City Council on June 23. Please email or call your councilmember if you're concerned that this proposal erodes our already lax historic preservation program.
I also received this e-mail Wednesday evening from Scott Potter, a Preservation Dallas board member who tried, unsuccessfully, to speak to the council's Public Safety Committee last month:
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We are pleased that the City recognizes the importance of this issue balancing public safety with protection of our historic neighborhoods. Further, we are pleased that Preservation Dallas along with other stakeholders including AIA Dallas, the Landmark Commission, ZOAC, City Plan Commission, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the neighborhoods will have a voice at the Housing Committee meetings.