Opposition is growing from across the community to proposed harmful changes to Milwaukee’s successful historic preservation law.
Many see the proposed changes as largely weakening protections and share concerns about the non-inclusive process used to develop the proposal and the speedy approval being sought for the plan. (You can view the full video of the hearing this week at which Historic Preservation Commission members, residents and business leaders detailed numerous problems with the proposal.)
A well-reasoned Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial, noting that “there’s not a lot that’s broken in Milwaukee’s process,” this week called on the city to delay any votes and instead hold a series of public forums to determine what changes are needed. We agree.
Whitney Gould, the paper’s retired urban affairs writer and current City Plan Commission, wrote a detailed letter to the city saying she feared the proposal could “gut historic preservation in Milwaukee” and create “a setback for economic development” The full email is worth reading.
Also, a large group of associations (including HWTN), businesses and individuals sent a joint letter to the city asking that the flawed proposal be given a thorough review and changed as needed before being vote on.
Reacting to concerns raised at the public hearing this week, Ald. Terry Witkowski, the rewrite’s author, has signalled he’ll pull the plan from the fast track. The plan was just shared with preservationist in the last week or two and had already been scheduled for a committee vote this coming week.
We’re hopeful that this flawed plan will be scrapped. We support a truly inclusive process to review the existing preservation ordinance and recommend any needed changes so we improve, not diminish, preservation efforts in the city.
By the way, be sure to check out an interesting interview with former Ald. Sandra Hoeh, who sponsored the city’s original preservation ordinance, about the proposed rewrite and the history of preservation in Milwaukee.