Senator backs down on bill altering historic-district rules

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A state senator has agreed to put on hold a bill that would have stripped the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission of much of its authority to regulate changes to structures in historic districts.

Responding to an uproar from historic preservationists and neighborhood groups, Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, has agreed to appoint a summer committee to study potential changes to state codes governing historic preservation, instead of pushing forward on Senate Bill 177.

The legislation, which had passed on a party-line vote in the Senate, would have added new "hardship" language to the statutes and allowed property owners to appeal IHPC decisions to the Metropolitan Development Commission or City-County Council.

The codes now require property owners to go to court if they can't find common ground with IHPC, a city division comprised of a nine-member board and a professional design and zoning review staff. Neighborhood groups say the system is working to add value to historic areas, and point out the commission has denied only about 1 percent of cases since it was formed in 1967.

They argue that giving property owners an appeal option would gut IHPC's authority to regulate historic districts by requiring property owners to work with commission staff on restoration efforts. Neighborhoods are only designated as historic after approval from more than 70 percent of an area's residents.

Miller said she just wants "fairness and a level playing field." She's talked with residents who think the applications for making changes to historic homes are too long, filing costs are too expensive and it takes too long to get approval.

She said the legislation was inspired by a handful of incidents including the experience of the congregation of St. John United Church of Christ, which had hoped to build a new church and sell the old one to a developer that planned demolition. Instead, IHPC and the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana got involved and won an emergency historic designation to save the 1914 church, the namesake of German Church Road.

“I’m not anti-historic neighborhood or historic property by any stretch of the imagination,” Miller said. “I just want fairness for individuals.”

Miller said the study committee, which should begin work in July, will take a broader look at historic codes in Marion County, taking into account testimony from historic groups and residents. She wants to look at how neighborhoods are designated as historic, and why IHPC has authority over what colors houses are painted. She also wants to explore a mandatory disclosure to buyers of historic properties.

"What I’m trying to balance is individual property rights with still being able to protect neighborhoods," she said.

Marsh Davis, president of the Historic Landmarks Foundation, said he hopes the committee fosters a thoughtful dialogue on the value and vibrancy of historic neighborhoods.

“The good news is we have an opportunity right now to not have to rush something through a short session, and really look at the issues,” Davis said. “It’s apparent from the questions that have come out there’s a tremendous misunderstanding of how the IHPC operates. The fact we can now let the issue cool a bit and allow ample time for testimony on all sides will be very helpful to the process.”


  • We are in a recession that this country will likely never recover from
    Many people have had life altering finanacial changes due to this recession. It is unrealistic to expect those who live in "contributing properties" to add to the property values of their neighbors who are absentee landlords with boarded up properties. Why should I pay a fortune for appropriate historically correct windows when they guy next door slaps some boards on the windows and goes away. In theory historic preservation is a good idea, but it should be limited to government owned properties. In Chatham Arch home owners go to hell and back to maintain their properties, but commerical interest get a pass and do whatever they want.
    In Irvington there are many properties that are rentals and no one is cracking down on the landlords to fix up or improve their properties. Not counting the fact that it is a very mix income area and those who live there want it to stay that way. Even though it is not ecomomically feasible it will ever be Chatham Arch or the Old Northside, many of us live here because it is the real world. It is full of all socio-economic levels and reflects the real America not the elitist isolation historic preservation encourages.
  • Power
    Interesting to observe that the HP people are incredibly worried about losing their power over us unsuspecting folks who accidently moved into a HP neighborhood.
    Little did we know that we would have little say over how our homes are built and what it would cost to have the HP board control us.

    IT IS SO POLITICAL now! How can the board say they fear things will become more political!! What gets approved can often be traced to the wishes of the local neighborhoods power hungry people. And how much of our tax money goes to pay these people???
    Although I honestly don't know the details of the proposed bill, I can't help but think changes are definitely needed!
  • Thank You, Chris
    Chris has stated things so well that there isn't a whole lot to add. However, I do find it ironic that the Old Northside is being used as an example of failed preservation by a supporter of this bill. One has only to look at photos and aerials of the Old Northside at the time of designation compared to the same shots today to see that historic designation is the best thing that could have happened. Buildings have been rehabbed and reused, empty lots have been built on, property values have increased steadily, and the people who live there and work there today take pride in their neighborhood. And it isn't just the Old Northside. It's Lockerbie Squre, Chatham-Arch, Fletcher Place, etc.

    Irvington is a BIG area and there are always growing pains when new regulations come into effect. But the extra hoops that must be jumped through are absolutely worth it! Not everyone is going to be happy with every decision, but that is a truth that is universal...take a look at the big picture and you'll see that the way the IHPC has operated in this city for the last four+ decades has been a net benefit for all the citizens of this county.
  • Not Quite Accurate
    Duped Irvingtonino, your use of the Old Northside as some alleged failed historic district is completely opposite from the truth. The Old Northside is one of the best examples of historic preservation in the city.

    Also, I've never heard of homes or buildings being torn down in the Old Northside because historic preservation controls were to stringent. Rather, I do know several hundred homes were torn down BEFORE historic preservation controls were put in place as a result of highway construction and the economic decline of the neighborhood. Historic preservation laws helped stabilize the neighborhood and make it a worthwhile place for residents and businesses to invest in. Now, the neighborhood has numerous examples of successful home renovations, and also several examples of adaptive reuses of historic structures. For example, the law firm Plews, Shadley, & Co. has converted three historic mansions in the Old Northside into modern law offices. Many other businesses have been able to maintain historic structures and comply with the historic preservation laws while successfully adapting old buildings in the neighborhood. Many residents have turned formerly dilapidated homes into valuable properties with contemporary amenities that meet the needs of 21st-century families.

    Finally, I don't think anyone has accused you of wanting to "paint your house pink and put a concrete gorilla lamp holder out front," but your comment does seem to indicate you don't get the purpose of historic preservation. For historic preservation to have any meaning there has to be a certain degree of restriction that goes beyond just forbidding what you call "extreme" alterations. Historic protections are put into place to maintain the historic character and look of the neighborhood, and this necessitates some control over the fine details of a proposed project. Historic protections are not created simply to prevent an "extreme makeover." Nonetheless, historic protections are not meant to prevent any alterations, additions, or adaptive reuses of properties, and the Old Northside is a successful example of a thriving protected historic district allows homeowners and businesses to change buildings to meet contemporary needs.
  • Ivory Tower may be strong
    While there were numerous meetings with breakout sessions, etc. for "input" on our plan, ultimately those whose hand was the heaviest in creating the document were those with the most orthodox view of historic preservation. Concerns were voiced about how the designation could and probably would change the demographics of our neighborhood over time, how the challenge of our area was that it isn't a neighborhood representing a time-period, but one of multiple styles and periods. Yet our document is written as though it is homogenous.

    I agree that the IHPC is not designed to please everyone, nor should it. But from interviews with neighbors who've participated in the "the process", this is a group of people who sometimes fail to see the forest thru the trees. Sometimes it seems there is too much emphasis on "historic" and not enough on "preservation". The Old North Side is a perfect example of this. How many buildings had to be razed b/c of the hurdles set forth for rennovation and repair? Enough that many became irrepairable and had no alternative but to be destroyed. So some were saved, but it has been a long journey to get to the turning point. Could it have come sooner with some flexibility? I don't know, but suspect the answer would be yes.

    There's a famous home on University Ave in Irvington. It actually has a history to it. Yet the owner can stack wood on their front porch--something almost any knowledgeable person would say is a bad idea because it invite termites to attack your house. They are ardant supporters of historic preservation--yet their house wouldn't be so historic if one of the past owner hadn't bastardized the Victorian home into a faux Georgian...who would have thunk it?! I'll bet the neighbors back in the day were ticked off! Now it is a cherished historically significant home of Irvington. So what's the point, you ask? Historians of the present don't always control what is viewed as historic in the future. Maybe we just live in a bunch of old homes in a much loved neighborhood. Maybe we should rely more on the love of the neighborhood and people and trust that in itself will care for the buildings.
    • There were meetings
      "we had weekly meetings for months, every citiizen had the opportunity to speak.."

      Again, I agree there were meetings- and I participated in these- and these meetings occurred primarily before the complete 70% of signatures were gathered. They were a positive experience. What wasn't a positive experience was seeing the document that was created with little feedback opportunity for what was created because that part of the feedback loop wasn't needed as much as the feedback loop that involved citizens during the efforts to get the 70% approval. I can say without hesitation that every person I know that has gone through the effort of making exterior changes to their home in Irvington, be it from hail/wind damage, rennovation, or restoration, has come away with a negative response to the IHPC process. Some chose not to go forward with efforts. While I agree the historic designation has benefits, and I appreciate that on balance they outweigh the negative parts, it does seems that all this change might do is change the avenues of recourse a person might have at the end of a negative IHPC application.

      So please don't paint me as an extremist that wants to paint my house pink and have a concrete gorilla lampholder in my front yard. I am simply saying the process can be improved.

      My ivory tower comment is more related to IHPC has no vest interest in my neighborhood. There is nothing that says any of the members have to reside in any of the area's historic districts, yet they control aesthetic and style in the districts. That, my friend, is Ivory Tower... Residents really have very little voice in this other than the initial focus groups that happened long, long ago..
    • You are incorrect
      You couldn't be more wrong "Duped." Having been inlvoved with creating a District myself, we had weekly meetings for months, every citiizen had the opportunity to speak about what was being proposed in the Plan and there were COUNTLESS times when language was changed, removed or altered because the public didn't like it. Creating a distric and developing the plan is a long process that is designed to be fair and give everyone a chance to speak.
      • Thank You!
        I was very involved with the development of the Cumberland District and it is not easy to get the designation...there are countless meetings held...all of which Senator Miller was invited to attend. She would know how this process works if she had taken the time to actually be involved with the area she represents. Instead, Sen Miller has been opposed to any and all things Cumberland since the National Road Streetscape Project matter came to her attention. She has no respect for neighborhoods or small towns. She would gladly "pave paradise" so long as it meant her interests were protected.
      • Disagreements Don't Mean Anything Is Wrong With the System
        KM, I accept we are going to have to agree to disagree on the merits of the bill, but I would add these final thoughts.

        My comment about how going to court is not necessarily expensive does not suggest (and certainly wasn't intended to suggest) that either I believe people living in historic districts should have to go to court to get any little change approved, nor that I believe people should or do have extra sums of money lying around to litigate every planned renovation proposal. Rather, I was suggesting that rarely would a situation ever arise which would necessitate taking a matter up to an appellate level (whether a court or the MDC as proposed in the Senate bill). Most disagreements over renovations/alteration approvals are resolved between the petitioner and the Commission through compromise, which is how it should be. In many cases, where disagreements do arise, they result from a petitioner wanting to do something which is not allowed under the law, not a petitioner wanting a more expansive but still reasonable interpretation of the law. Generally, once petitioners are informed of the law and the limitations it imposes, the Commission and staff are able to work with the petitioner to come up with feasible alternatives. Historic preservation laws are intended to be limiting, and it is appropriate to have a process that is not as flexible as the general zoning scheme. If a matter is truly worth appealing, then it probably should be heard by a court, and generally going to court is not an unreasonable barrier to an individual being able to challenge the Commission on a significant matter.

        It would generally be only significant matters which would be appealed to a court since the IHPC already has a built in appeals process for smaller changes. These smaller alterations seem to particularly concern you since they generally impact the "average guy" property owner, and such projects involve getting initial approval from Commission staff or a Hearing Officer. Adverse decisions of either staff or a Hearing Officer may be appealed to the full Commission for a hearing, so there is no matter which ever rests in the sole discretion of just one person or of "insiders." (i.e. the staff).

        As for my remark about your supporting law-breaking, I was being flippant, and I certainly apologize if I offended you. My reference was to the case of the woman who chose to avoid even applying for permission to alter the windows on her house (thereby breaking the law) since her case is supposedly the motivation behind this bill.

        The Commission gives a fair and ample opportunity for individuals to present their case for making alterations and changes to historic structures. Obviously, projects get approved since one sees historic homes and commercial buildings renovated, expanded and remodeled in historic districts on a regular basis. The Commission doesn't just offer a simple permitting process, while the preservation staff may make one determination, the applicant has the opportunity to gather evidence, argue their position and have a hearing before a panel acting as an arbiter in the matter. It is a fair process.

        Moreover, the appeals process as proposed in the bill was impractical. The Metropolitan Development Commission generally hears major development issues and has a full docket as it is. The MDC doesn't need to have its time eaten up hearing appeals about people upset over being denied a certificate to install vinyl windows. Based on the objections I have heard to the authority of the IHPC, I am fairly certain these are the minor issues (or perhaps not so minor from the petitioner's perspective) which would invariably go up to the MDC. Moreover, if the MDC is going to follow the law, then it is going to uphold almost every decision by the Historic Preservation Commission. My prediction of how the MDC would rules is based on the majority of complaints I have heard about the Commission which seem founded on an objection to the historic preservation laws themselves, not with how the Commission applies them.

        Your own post seems to reflects something of this mindset. You argue for choice, but as mentioned above, historic preservation is intended to limit choice, since the goal is to preserve a specific character and aesthetic. Even small details, like altering window casings and roof shingles can have a significant impact on a historic building.

        Of course, since the MDC would generally have to back the IHPC's decisions in most cases, the author of the proposed bill went to great lengths to gut the entire historic preservation scheme to make it fairly meaningless. Any zoning law, and certainly any historic preservation restriction, will have in the words of the proposed bill an "adverse effect on the owners property rights" and/or "impose a hardship on the applicant" in the sense that it limits what one can do with ones property. That is the whole point of a restriction--to limit what one can do. If the bill were to give the MDC broad discretion and mandate that every IHPC matter be heard de novo (i.e. as if for the first time), then why even have the IHPC or historic preservation laws at all? I've already state my case for why these laws should exist, but if a State Senator wants to propose a bill to get rid of them, then propose THAT bill and have a debate on THAT matter. Don't pretend to merely want to revise historic preservation laws when you really want to eliminate them.

        However, I can certainly agree with you that if the Commission and its staff were being arbitrary and/or capricious in their decision-making, then they should be challenged and corrected. But, I don't get that sense, since most people living in historic districts seem pleased with the protections in place and how they are applied. Nonetheless if in fact, the Commission were abusing its discretion in applying the law, then such cases should be taken to court, not the MDC, so the court could reprimand the Commission and order it to change how it operates.

        Ultimately, I think the system is working fine. I realize not everyone may be 100% satisfied with every decision of the IHPC, but I don't think it is the purpose of the IHPC to make every applicant happy. Part of enforcing the law means limiting what applicants can do.

      • Disagreements do happen
        Chris, I presuppose nothing. I havenâ??t addressed denials or applications, but rather disagreements with IHPC rulings. Disagreements are a reality, even in projects which are approved.

        I agree that the IHPC doesnâ??t exist to make things difficult for property owners. I donâ??t know of anyone who thinks that, honestly, not even among those who supported this bill. So, not sure why you felt it necessary to point that out. I do know people, however, who feel that the commission can be rigid in its position, and that at times, decisions are influenced by personal whims, moods, likes, dislikes, etc., of its members rather than any statutes or regulations.

        Chris said, â??â?¦I don't "feel"â?¦that people living in historic districts should have extra money to appeal adverse preservation decisions.â?? Look below, you specifically said, â??â?¦as to the cost of appealing in courtâ?¦most likely if you have enough money to spend on a major renovation, then you have enough money to file an appeal in court.â?? You then supported your statement by saying going to court doesnâ??t cost thousands of dollars. I didnâ??t make up how you felt, you told us. The quotes were simply used as a way to highlight that word to show you were basing your statement on feeling rather than fact. Now youâ??re saying you donâ??t feel that way. It is a fact that some people canâ??t spare hundreds of dollars, let alone thousands. Some canâ??t spare any number of dollars, even in a historic preservation district, and they arenâ??t keen on having to choose between paying bills or going to court.

        Chris said: â??I believe people in historic preservation districts WANT to live in such areas because they have protections for the character and aesthetic appeal of their neighborhoodâ?¦. I believe people who want to make renovations and alterations to protected historic properties should follow the designated procedures and make renovations and improvements which are compatible with the historic nature of their property and the surrounding neighborhood.â??

        Youâ??re free to believe what you want to believe, Chris. I and others are also free to believe that the IHPC can and does, on occasion, make wrong decisions and having a more affordable, and possibly a faster, way to appeal that incorrect decision when it happens is a good thing.

        I have no knowledge of what compelled this proposal and I donâ??t really care. I personally know people who are not nearly as happy with the commissionâ??s performance as you seem to be, not because they want to ruin the neighborhood or destroy anything, but for little disagreements that have nothing to do with the historic nature of their property or the neighborhood. They have no recourse but to go to court, yet they cannot afford to do so. They are, in essence, held hostage by an unaccountable body.

        Because I support this bill, I support law-breaking? With all due respect, that is rubbish. Iâ??ve neither argued for ruining a neighborhoodâ??s character nor for lawlessness. Taking that same track, I could suggest that youâ??re a classist snob who would prefer to push the less fortunate out of historic districts because you want them to have no recourse other than what YOU deem appropriate. That, too, is rubbish. I donâ??t believe that about you for one second.

        Disagreements do happen between residents and the IHPC on matters that would not affect a neighborhoodâ??s character one bit. As I said, I donâ??t know what prompted this billâ??s proposal and I donâ??t care. I support CHOICE, which this bill provides for many who otherwise could do nothing. I didnâ??t ask you to support my positions, simply to consider them. Thanks.
      • Flag Pole
        You certainly have the God given right to express yourself any way that you choose with no recourse by those that disagree with you. Where I have my problem with the IHPC was in the way that the Commission was used by "Anti-American neighbors" to get our flagpole removed. The flag was intended to go up on 9-11 as a patriotic reminder, thats all. Actually the complaints came from 5 blocks north of our location, far from view of the American Flag. Furthermore we received letters of thank you from many of our direct neighbors immediately after installation. Our business has occupied the space on Park avenue since 1945, before there was historic preservation in place. Lastly, if you care, the IHPC assisted in working around the statute cited by the complaining parties. Yes we were required to pay the Application fee and fine but did receive a legal "Certificate of Appropriateness" as the law stipulates.
        Thank you for being a fellow law abiding citizen and a proud member of the community. God Bless America.
      • All Choices Have Limitations
        KM, you seem to presuppose that anyone who applies for any sort of minor alteration to the Historic Preservation Commission is denied or forced to drastically revise their plans. The truth is that most projects are approved. Also, of the project which do get denied, most eventually are approved after moderate revisions.

        The Historic Preservation Commission doesn't exist to make things difficult for property owners in historic districts. It exists to protect the character, culture, history AND property values of designated historic districts. Historic designation is no different than many other zoning restrictions, such as those which limit height, density, use, etc.

        Also, I don't "feel" (not sure why you used quotes in your response to me?) that people living in historic districts should have extra money to appeal adverse preservation decisions. Rather, I believe people in historic preservation districts WANT to live in such areas because they have protections for the character and aesthetic appeal of their neighborhood. Also, I believe people who want to make renovations and alterations to protected historic properties should follow the designated procedures and make renovations and improvements which are compatible with the historic nature of their property and the surrounding neighborhood.

        There are many people of ordinary means, including my parents, (i.e. NOT wealthy) who are able to afford to make historically compatible and still functional improvements and renovations to their properties in historic preservation districts.

        This bill was based largely on the one experience of a person who didn't even bother to APPLY for renovations to her house (even though she had gone through the review process before and had been APPROVED to make other changes to her house). As for the church in Cumberland, the congregation made basically zero effort to work with Indiana Historic Landmarks or the city to come up with a financially feasible solution for either retaining the church building for the congregation or devising a profitable development reuse plan for the building. (All over the country their are former churches which now serve as housing, schools, offices, etc. Often these projects qualify for major tax credits and special financing is available. Demolition should be a last resort, not the first choice of action). So, this bill was based on two poor examples.

        KM, you don't seem to be arguing for choice, so much as for individuals to do whatever they want, even if it ruins the character of the neighborhoods they live in. You also seem to believe it is fine to break the law, so long as its inconvenient (since you support a bill based on the case of someone who did just that). I am afraid I cannot agree with either of your positions.

        • Against choice
          In other words, providing more choices is unreasonable because you "feel" someone living in a historic district should have extra money for appealing a ruling in court, is that what you're saying? There are many people living in historic districts who are refurbishing on their own with little to spare towards court costs, or anything else for that matter; people who are living paycheck to paycheck just like every other neighborhood in America. These people, the have-nots, LOSE by restricting avenues for appeals.
          • somewhere I had gotten the idea
            ...that this bill was written in response to one person's complaint about the "process" and even perhaps the person was a friend or acquaintance of the bill's author. But I can't remember where I read or heard this. Does anyone know? Because I don't think that's the way to right perceived "wrongs". So, I'm glad there has been a pulling back.
          • Old Northside
            The Old Northside was designated a historic district more than 30 years ago. The vast majority of current ONS residents purchased their homes with knowledge of both the responsibilities and privileges of living in a historic district. We decided to move to the ONS from the Broadripple area because we wanted the protections of a designated historic district. It would be grossly unfair to residents of long-established historic districts like the ONS to change the rules they relied on when they purchased their homes and made substantial investments to maintain the historic nature of their property.
          • Looking to Open a Pig Farm
            Honestly, I recently was left a certain amount of money which I hope to use to invest in a piece of property. Since, you don't care about what people do with their property, please give me your address (for privacy, you can just tell me the general location with a few blocks).

            I would love to buy a lot near you, so I can open up a pig farm or perhaps a 24-hour hip-hop dance club. Now, I understand zoning laws would normally interfere with my ability to run either one of these businesses in a residential area; however, I intend to seek a variance and I would like you to please testify at the hearing that you believe I should be able to do whatever I want with my property. Of course, I would be glad to pay you for any expenses you incur by taking time to testify at the variance hearing.
          • That is False
            Historic designation plans involve significant public input. There are generally many neighborhood meetings held over a long period of time to allow community input. Often there are workshops and residents describe what aspects of the community are important to them. The statement that "people in Ivory Towers write the plans without neighborhood input," might sound cute to you, but it is utterly false. Neighborhood residents have a significant amount of input into the plans. Also, a vote to designate a neighborhood as a historic district is only made after many community meetings and significant public input.

            If you have some philosophical objection to historic preservation districts, fine, then just state your objections. But, don't engage in phony arguments in an attempt to bolster your case.
            • Appeal is A Last Resort
              First, the IHPC works very carefully with property owners to allow compromise when reasonable. However, if you want to do something completely out-of-line with the historic preservation designation or refuse to follow the proper procedure, then yes, you will get denied and that is how the law is intended to work.

              Second, the is a hearing process and an opportunity for any applicant to present there case. It's not some mechanical process without review where someone just fills out an application and gets denied or approved. And even where there are denials, then Commission and staff usually have reasonable changes for an applicant to make which can then result in approval.

              Third, ultimately almost any administrative decision has to be appealed to a court. For example, if I don't like an IRS (or DMV, etc.) decision, the IRS has various review and internal appeals processes, but no outside agency can review the IRS's decision except a court. So, it's not unusual to have the ultimate appeal of an administrative agency rest with a court.

              Third, as to the cost of appealing in court, yes, there is some expense, but most likely if you have enough money to spend on a major renovation, then you have enough money to file an appeal in court. It doesn't usually cost several thousand dollars to appeal in court. Perhaps, if you are a major developer with a huge multi-million dollar project, then you might spend a lot of money on attorney fees and expenses, but most smaller cases do not require huge attorney fees and court costs. Also, you can represent yourself pro se, or if there is truly some important civil rights issue involved, then there are legal aid organizations and other pro bono attorneys who would represent an applicant for free.

              Finally, I don't think Indianapolis has ever been held up as an example of a difficult place to get a development approved. (Go to Boston, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, or any small New England town if you want to see what rigid development controls are like). Even in historic designated neighborhoods, individuals and companies remodel, and even build new houses and commercial structures with a fairly easily. Historic designation simply ensure there is an orderly process followed and that certain standards are met.
              • Concerned
                What about people who cannot afford the expense of filing appeals with a court when they disagree with IHPC rulings? If passed, this law would have given them a much needed avenue of appeal should one be needed. Aren't more choices better?

                Also, Steph Mineart said, "the bill as written would allow aggressive developers with deep pockets to gnaw away at a property issue until any historic considerations were put ultimately put aside. Short-term monetary gain would prevail..." Those developers with deep pockets have money to pick at an issue whether through the courts or the MDC until they get the answer they desire. By keeping the IHPC all powerful and restricting the means to appeal to those who can afford it, many people living in a historic district without the financial means to take on the IHPC on any (or many) given issue(s) lose.
                • they pull a fast one on you
                  **Neighborhoods are only designated as historic after approval from more than 70 percent of an area's residents**

                  While this statement is "true", it does not state further that there is no approval process for the final document that is developed to regulate a district. Once the neighborhood agrees, they essentially have little say into what goes into the historic preservation document guiding their neighborhood. It is written by historic ivory tower and requires no further approval by the neighborhood. Having a "stop valve" in the process would be nice (other than court) as I have heard several non-positive stories from people in the neighborhood.
                  • Flagpole illegal?
                    Are you kidding me?! The IHPC can give neighbors the right to comment on what you want to do with your proprty? BS! Scrap the IHPC (and the NIMB's).
                  • Nimwit NIMB's
                    I am growing tired of NIMB (Not in my Backyard) Nitwits. I would never tell someone what they could or could not do with their property. Why should someone be impowered to do that to me (or you)?
                  • Tangled? Really?
                    Oh, my God. This is exactly the problem: Some people in historic districts canâ??t be bothered by rules. Here we have some guy blasting the IHPC and his "Anti-American neighbors" because he was too lazy or otherwise failed to check whether the location of his giant flag pole (not the color of his flag) was compliant.
                    The IHPC does not review flags. It does, however, give your neighbors a chance to review your plans at the weekly admin meetings if, say, you decide to install a commercial grade flag pole in your front yard. This is a neighbor-friendly policy that everyone follows. So Peter, tell us: Did you feel exempt because of the kind of flag you intended to fly? Wouldnâ??t that define Patriotism as "Evading the law in order to hang brightly colored fabric over oneâ??s property"?
                    • History is for everyone
                      I noticed that Sen. Millar was quoted as saying â??I just want fairness for individuals,â?? and wants to balance individual property rights against protecting neighborhoods.

                      Maintaining a sense of history in historic neighborhoods is a public benefit that should properly have significant government intervention. When will citizens realize that it is just not sustainable to allow unrestricted individual property rights? Our shared history is often all that connects us as people; this should be maintained as much as possible.
                    • Right to Fly american Flag
                      The last time the Historical Preservation Commission tangled with me was after a group of Anti-American neighbors protested the Flying of OLD GLORY in Chatham Arch. Our business was being forced to remove our flag because "The American Flag may only be displayed in a back yard in the Chatham Arch District". We have no back yard on a corner lot! Thanks to an easment and a setback rule we were able to continue to show our patriotism. The Commission was being used as a tool to stop us rather than the intended purpose of "Preservation". For additional information visit http://www.wigwot.com/2009/08/patriotism-politically-incorrect.html
                    • thankful
                      Very glad that saner heads have prevailed and that this change is going to get a lot more scrutiny, instead of getting rammed through - the bill as written would allow aggressive developers with deep pockets to gnaw away at a property issue until any historic considerations were put ultimately put aside. Short-term monetary gain would prevail, and pieces of Indianapolis history would be lost forever.

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                    1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

                    2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

                    3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

                    4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

                    5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.