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Exactly One Year Later, Preservationists and City Still at Odds Over Teardown Ordinance

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It's been precisely one year since we first wrote about efforts to rewrite the ordinance that clarifies when, why and how the city can demolish a structure in a historic district. In the months since then, there have been myriad meetings during which preservationists and city attorneys have attempted to broker some kind of agreement -- one that would allow for the expeditious, cost-efficient razing of homes and buildings, but would also do so without eliminating the Landmark Commission from the decision-making process. In March, it was believed that all parties had struck a deal, however tenuous.

And yet, as Sam wrote two weeks ago after a Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee meeting, this remains a contentious issue -- so much so that on Thursday, there was yet another meeting during which representatives from the Landmark Commission, Preservation Dallas and Preservation Texas raised a host of new problems they have with the proposed ordinance. Even the director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Southwest office, Jonathan Poston, weighed in with a letter dated July 28, in which he wrote, "After reviewing the proposed changes to Dallas' Development Code, the National Trust expresses its deep concern over the proposed changes and urges Dallas not to adopt the amendments."

Poston's letter is after the jump; so too is the proposed ordinance being pushed by the City Attorney's Office. You'll also find a letter to the Landmark Commission written by Paul Ridley, a fellow commissioner and the chair of its Demolition Ordinance Amendment Task Force, in which he lists six points of contention with the new ordinance. These issues, and others, will be forwarded to the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee the next time it takes up the issue of the ordinance -- which can't go before the City Plan Commission and the city council till it passes ZOAC. 

Proposed City of Dallas Historic Demolition Ordinance and Comments

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