…you are stupid enough to pass legislation that allows the wholesale or piecemeal destruction of historic resources. Those are the stakes in the Michigan Legislature (a bastion of “pure stupidity” lately), as they consider House Bill 5232 and Senate Bill 720 of 2016.
These short-sighted and unfortunate bills remove state historic resource oversight and require re-approval of historic districts every 10 years by a super-majority of the property owners (67%). They also place at least one developer on each local review committee. Oh really? And what is to stop a developer or a wealthy landowner who isn’t keen on following preservation standards, from buying up properties with the intent of voting down the re-approval and allowing the alteration of historic structures? How can there be uniformly applied preservation standards in the first place, if each community can opt out or pick and choose? How does this impact the status of historic resources already on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places? It’s a dangerous and slippery slope, but apparently the sponsors of this bill don’t really give a rip.
The sponsors also seem to forget (or not understand), that historic resources are a important economic development tool. Their preservation employs artisans, architects, builders, and contractors. Their preservation attracts tourists and locals alike who spend money on tours, gifts, and at area businesses. And their preservation helps maintain and strengthen a vibrant community by preserving and/or re-invigorating neighborhoods and individual structures that may otherwise fall into neglect.
Please help fight this legislation- contact your House or Senate Representative and tell them you are opposed to losing or defiling our precious historic assets in Michigan and they should vote against HB 5232 and SB 720. And please remind them that once a resource is historic, it is always historic…until you lose it. And then, it can never be replaced.