Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Robert Griendling: Letter to the editor on proposed preservation ordinance

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Letter to the Editor:

After Janelle Irwin’s latest report here on the proposed historic preservation ordinance, allow me again to set the record straight.

  1. I’m not sure when Ms. Irwin did her accounting of the sentiments regarding the proposed change in the permission threshold being considered by the city, but as of today, in addition to the individual email and phone calls received by the city on this issue, 536 people have signed our petition to keep the threshold where it is.
  1. Though I’m not clear what a “generic email” is — our group, Protect St. Pete’s Property Rights ( never generated any form email. We simply asked people to sign our petition. It is here. Many signers also made comments of their own personal views. We didn’t send out any “pre-fabricated” emails, whatever they may be.
  1. Color is an open question. Here is what the proposed ordinance says: “General criteria for granting certificates of appropriateness. In approving or denying applications for [certificates of appropriateness] for alterations, new construction, demolition, or relocation, the Commission and the POD shall evaluate the following…The extent to which the historic, architectural, or archaeological significance, architectural style, design, arrangement, texture, materials and COLOR (emphasis added) of the local landmark or the property will be affected.”
  1. Regarding windows, I urge Ms. Irwin to read the 20+ pages of “incomplete draft” guidelines the city has published on windows and that she carefully read the ordinance guidelines that state that when a homeowner plans to change windows or any other exterior feature of the house, the feature should be “repaired rather than replaced,” meaning that old windows cannot be replaced unless they all are of such state of disrepair that there is no other reasonable choice. “Reasonable” is determined by the city staff or the CPPC, but as a staff member once commented, “Anything can be repaired.”
  1. I have never claimed to represent the neighborhood, only a segment of the neighborhood and others who have worked with me on this issue, including those who’ve responded positively to communications I’ve sent. A question that has been raised, however, is whether HONNA represents the neighborhood, given the lack of support its position has garnered. There are many neighbors who believe HONNA should remain neutral on this issue as there is clearly, at the very least, no consensus within Old Northeast regarding this issue and, more likely, widespread opposition.
  1. I was not allotted time to speak to a city council workshop on this issue as a representative of HONNA. I was allotted time to speak because the council chairman obviously felt that I had proven a credible source about the ordinance’s impact. At that workshop, our group pointed out that the balloting dissemination and collection posed opportunities for political mischief. As a result, the staff has now changed the process. We also pointed out that the original proposal allowed one person to call an election that impacted everyone’s property rights in a neighborhood. The staff has subsequently altered the process to require an initial petition.

Robert Griendling — Old Northeast resident

Latest from The Bay and the 'Burg

Go to Top