Metro Council voted to override the

Mayor's veto of the Landmarks

Ordinance amendment!


At the Metro Council Meeting on 8/9/12 our Mayor's veto of the changes to our Landmarks Ordinance was defeated.  This action by the Metro Council has weakened our city's position as progressive preservation leaders in this country.  Preservation Louisville is disappointed with what has occurred over the past 6 months concerning changes to our Landmarks Ordinance. 

Beside the fact that there was no impetus for changes to this 40 year successful ordinance, when preservation leaders attempted to point out the facts about the Landmarks Ordinance and how it has served our community well, the majority of the Metro Council did not listen.  The sponsors of our new Landmarks Ordinance have ignored these facts, and the voice of the citizens, who were 10 to 1 opposed to these changes in public hearings.  This action has created problems where none existed - for example - the need for more over sight by the Metro Council was not necessary - since it already existed with the seat they hold on the Landmarks Commission, and the fact that the Mayor appoints the members of this commission and the Metro Council approves them. 

There was a gross amount of confusion created by the authors of this new ordinance who spread misinformation about our Landmarks process in order to push forward their own political agenda.  This was a blatant show of disrespect for our Mayor, the community and our heritage and Preservation Louisville is appalled at the historic step backwards our "possibility city" took today.


Please sent a note of thanks to those who supported the Mayor: 

Vote to sustain Mayor's veto:
*Absent--Attica Scott 
*All the rest of the Council voted to over-ride the veto 



Thank You Mayor Fischer!


"For nearly 40 years, the process to designate an historic building a local landmark has served Louisville and its citizens well. Our landmarks process preserves buildings that help tell a unique story that belongs only to Louisville."

-Mayor Greg Fischer, 8-2-12 


On August 2, 2012 Mayor Fischer announced that he decided to veto the Metro Council's decision to amend our city's Landmarks Ordinance.  This is a bold statement that shows that our mayor understands the benefits of preservation- both economic and cultural!  We would like to sincerely thank Mayor Fischer for his support of the Landmarks Ordinance!


We would like to thank all of our supporters that have taken time to contact their Metro Council representative and the Mayor to express concern about our Landmarks Ordinance.  Preservation Louisville sincerely appreciates all the support from the community on this issue and we are certainly thrilled with this show of support for preservation from our Mayor!






Below is information about the amendments proposed to the Landmarks Ordinance

In February 2012 Councilman David Yates began a process to amend Metro Louisville's Landmarks Ordinance. Below you will find information about this issue that Preservation Louisville compiled in regards to this situation.




7.12.12: The latest iteration of the Landmarks Ordinance revision modifies the process for designation of local landmarks.  The existing Ordinance requires that the petition contain the verified signatures and addresses of 200 residents of Metro Louisville.  The amendment sponsored by Councilman Yates requires that a majority of those signatures (101) come from residents or property owners within the greater of 1-mile surrounding the property or structure, the Council District in which the proposed landmark is located, or a combination of both.  We question as a matter of policy, the wisdom of limiting the petition process in this manner.  It only serves to divide the community rather than to recognize the significance of local landmarks, not only to the neighborhoods in which they are located, but to the greater community.  


A Landmark matters to all of us!


The most recent iteration of the ordinance amendment creates a process by which the Metro Council can determine that it wants to review, or wants a Committee of the Metro Council, to review a decision by the Commission to designate a local landmark or to amend an already designated local landmark.  This proposed revision raises several policy questions and some constitutional issues as well.  As to the policy issue, the threshold question that must be asked is why the public is better served under the proposed approach than by the current process, which has worked well for almost 40 years.  There has not been, and is not now, a need to politicize this process.  Landmark designation is an individualized, quasi-judicial, fact-specific determination of whether a particular structure or property merits landmark designation based on the application of the criteria of the Landmarks Ordinance and the expertise of the Landmarks Commissioners.


Click below to email the

Metro Council & the Mayor!


Express your concern about this vote on amendments to the
landmarks ordinance proposed by Councilman Yates!

Two public hearings were held and an overwhelming majority of the public did NOT support changing the Landmarks Ordinance!


Ask the Metro Council why they would vote on changes to a local ordinance
that the community has said doesn't need to change?


Ask why there is a need to change an ordinance that has
a 40 year successful track record?


Mayor Fischer
Click Here to Email Mayor Fischer

Metro Council
Click Here to Email Metro Council


CLICK HERE to download the latest version of Councilman Yates's proposed amendment PDF

CLICK HERE to download the ORIGINAL proposed amendment PDF

CLICK HERE to download a different proposal from Councilman Owen


We need your help to get the word out that changes to this ordinance are unnecessary and politicize a process that has successfully functioned in this community for 40 years!


Myths vs Facts

  • *The Landmarks process is not open and transparent

Local landmark designation can only be requested by petition of the public.  As demonstrated by recent research, these petitions are neighborhood driven, grassroots efforts.  Local landmark designation petitions don’t guarantee that a hearing will even be held.  It only begins a process that includes: petition verification, property study, photographs, and a staff designation report.

The Public Hearing for a Landmarks Designation must be noticed under the State standards of KRS 424, which requires posting notice of a public meeting in the community’s newspaper of record 7 to 21 days in advance.  Everyone who attends a landmarks public hearing is allowed to speak.  These hearings can go on for 3-4 hours for a single property!

  • *The Landmarks Commission members are biased toward Preservation 

The Landmarks Ordinance requires individuals with various expertise – Attorney, Architect, Historian, Real Estate Broker or Appraiser, Landscape Architect, Historian or Architectural Historian, Archaeologist, member of Greater Louisville, Inc., Director of the Department of Inspections, Permits and Licenses, Executive Director of the Louisville and Jefferson County Planning Commission and a member of Metro Council – to allow their expertise to inform decision-making. 

The Landmarks Ordinance also requires that “All members have a known interest in local landmarks / district preservation.”  This requirement must be taken into consideration by the Mayor’s office in making appointments.  Metro Council must review and approve all appointments to Boards and Commissions.

The requirements for expertise and commitment to the task would seem to be a reasonable, desirable trait.  Would you want to appoint citizens to the Board of Health who didn’t have knowledge and interest regarding Public Health?  Should School Board members not care about learning and education?

Since 2000, there has been 40 local landmark designations and of those 40 landmarks only 8 + Whiskey Row were petition driven.  With an average of less than 1 designation per year, this is hardly a Metro process run amok!  The Metro Louisville Landmarks Ordinance as it stands now is a proven process that has been modeled across the country for being one of the oldest and best structured in any community.

  • *Petitions requesting local landmark designation hearings are signed by the same 200 people, over and over

Based on an analysis of the most recent landmarks petitions presented to the commission,
the majority of signatures on Metro Landmarks petitions requests ARE from the people that
live nearest the proposed Landmark in question.  For example:

The Peter C. Doerhoefer House, Landmarked in 2011, located at 4422 West Broadway, 40211:
Out of a total 363 signatures, 172 of these came from the zip codes 40211 and 40212.

Twig and Leaf, Landmarked in 2011, located at 2122 Bardstown Road, 40204:
Out of a total 679 signatures, 245 came from the 40205 zip code – well more than the 200
needed to grant a hearing in front of the Landmarks Commission!

Colonial Gardens, Landmarked in 2008, located at 618 West Kenwood Drive, 40214 showed
widespread support for the landmark with 31 zip codes represented and approximately 124 of
the signatures came from west of Poplar Level Road.

The petition for the Roscoe Goose House, 3012 S. 3rd Street, 40208 currently in front of the
Landmarks Commission has a total of 350 signatures and 124 of these came from the zip code
40208 and the adjacent zip codes.  This petition originated from the support of the South Louisville Neighborhood Council and has engaged the support of several Roscoe Goose descendants.

As you can see, the broadest support already comes from the area affected.  And, in most cases, the desire to begin the petition process comes directly from the neighborhood!  Metro Councilman Tom Owen commented in a recent committee meeting that in the analysis of petition sheets, “to our ‘startling amazement’ we found it is NOT the same small cadre of people signing these petitions." 

  • *The Metro Council’s involvement in decision-making of Individual Landmarks would protect the public interest 

The Landmarks Ordinance requires the Landmarks Commission to have a member from the Metro Council that serves on the commission.  Currently Tina Ward Pugh serves as a Landmarks Commissioner.

The Landmarks Ordinance does not require Metro Council to hold public hearings.  Public comment is only allowed in Metro Council committee meetings, and then only at the discretion of the Chair of the committee.   Most generally, public comment is not allowed. 

Metro Council members must stand for election, which requires fund-raising and the gathering of supporters.  The nature of politics encourages issues to become clouded or leveraged against other concerns.  Decisions are subject to “back-room” discussions and not the merits of the case.

  • *National Register of Historic Places listings are regulated by the Metro Landmarks Commission

The Landmarks Commission has nothing to do with the National Register process.  The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government’s official list of historic and archaeological sites deemed worthy of preservation. In Kentucky, both the National Register and the statewide survey of historic sites are the responsibility of the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, as required by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966.

National Register status is primarily an honor. It does not affect property ownership rights unless Federal dollars are involved.  Owners of National Register properties may qualify for federal or state tax credits for certified rehabilitation of these properties.  Projects that typically require Federal environmental review include projects that utilize Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars, which fund many City services.

  • *Demolition of abandoned buildings is regulated by the Metro Landmarks Commission staff

The City spends Federal money to fund its demolition program, and as outlined above, Federal money cannot be spent to impact a National Register property or property that is eligible for the National Register without proper Federal environmental review.  Under federal law, use of Federal dollars requires additional consultation and potential mitigation if demolition is to occur on an historic property.

As a matter of policy, the City has frequently declined to do this mitigation work.
Instead, the City often allows abandoned historic properties to deteriorate until they reach emergency demolition conditions. If Metro Council is truly committed to strengthening local ordinances, policy could change to enable a proactive solution.

The only role of Landmarks staff in the demolition of properties is to determine if the property in question is historic, meaning, under Federally established criteria, eligible for the National Register.  (Don’t shoot the messenger!)  All other requirements are governed by the agreement with the Federal government for the release of CDBG dollars.


  • Keep up the emails and phone calls to our Metro Council Representatives & the Mayor and let them know you DO NOT support changing our Landmarks ordinance - and you support the expertise of the Metro Landmarks Commissioners!


  • *Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward Pugh has said, "The Mayor appoints members to the Landmarks Commission based on their ability to serve ALL constituents of Metro Louisville. Metro Council is already accountable for the Landmarks process, and to their constituents in their districts, by approving the Mayor's appointments. Contrary to what Yates says, these decisions are not being given to an appointed body with "no oversight".
  • *Contrary to what some Metro Council Representatives would have you believe the majority of signatures on Metro Landmarks petition requests are from the people that live nearest the landmark in question.  After reviewing the signatures from recent landmark petitions you can easily see that the largest amount of support comes from the area that is affected, and in most cases the desire to begin the petition process comes directly from the neighborhood.   
  • *There are recent Landmarks petitions for example from West Louisville (Doerhoefer Manison), East Louisville (Bauer's/Azaleas), and South Louisville (Colonial Gardens) along with the current petition going in front of the Metro Landmarks Commission (The Roscoe Goose House), and analysis of these petitions show the majority of the signatures came from the area surrounding the landmark, no matter what area that is. Metro Councilman Tom Owen commented that "in the analysis of petition sheets - to our "startling amazement" we found it is NOT the same small cadre of people signing these petitions."   
  • *There is already an open and transparent process in place in this ordinance.  All citizens are invited to take part in public hearings of the Metro Landmarks Commission and voice their concerns or approval of any Landmark under consideration. Metro Council should make sure that the people in their districts have the right to be heard and in this situation that ability already exists!  
  • *Bringing Metro Council into the designation process unnecessarily politicizes what should be a decision based on clear, historic and architectural criteria made by individuals with expertise in those areas. Designation should be based on guidelines and standards, not politics.   
  • *Since 2000, there have been 40 local landmark designations and of those 40 landmarks only 8 + Whiskey Row were petition driven.  With an average of less than 1 designation per year, this is hardly a Metro process run amok!  The Metro Louisville Landmarks Ordinance as it stands now is a proven process that has been modeled across the country for being one of the oldest and best structured in any community.         


The Metro Council members supporting this amendment see it as needed reform. Their goals will destroy a 40 year successful landmarks program and will upset economic growth, sensible redevelopment and effective governance.     



As the Ordinance stands today, 200 signatures of citizens residing in Jefferson County is sufficient to petition for Landmark status of an historic district or individual property.  The Landmarks Commission process involves site visits, documentation, research, a staff report, committee review and, if warranted, a public hearing before the Metro Landmarks Commission.  If a designation results, a Landmark district designation is then referred to Metro Council for final action, whereas, an individual Landmark designation is final when acted upon by the Commission.  This latter action has been used many times in the past to stop demolition of significant structures, most notably in the recent past, Whiskey Row!

The intent of this amendment is two-fold:

  • -It makes all designations require Metro Council approval.    

  • -It would require a percentage of signatures on landmark petitions to come from within a one mile radius of the property which would make it difficult for designation in areas like downtown and Floyds Fork.
  • -There is already a democratic process in place that gives rights to everyone in our community to be heard in every landmarks designation case.  Metro Council should make sure that the people in their districts have the right to be heard and in this situation that ability already exists!  
  • -Bringing Metro Council into the designation process unnecessarily politicizes what should be a decision based on clear, historic and architectural criteria made by individuals with expertise in those areas. Designation should be based on guidelines and standards, not politics.   

  • -The current Demolition Ordinance delays demolition of historic structures for only 30 days and Metro Council's involvement would require a far longer process.  Many significant structures could be lost before Metro Council acts.  This new legislation has many unintended consequences!



Click here for the
Whiskey Row Announcement 5-11-12




The Rosecoe Goose House
is a Louisville Landmark!

May 22, 2012 The Metro Landmarks Commission unanimously voted to desginate

The Roscoe Goose House a Local Landmark!

Roscoe Tarleton Goose (January 21, 1891 - June 11, 1971) was an American jockey in Thoroughbred horse racing who was one of the inaugural class of inductees in the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. Born near Louisville, Kentucky, Roscoe Goose won a number of races, the most important of which came in 1913 when he captured the Kentucky Derby with the colt, Donerail. Sent off at 91:1 odds, Roscoe Goose stunned racing fans with a win that returned backers $184.90 for a $2 wager, a Derby record which still stands. Dubbed The Golden Goose, when his career as a jockey came to an end he remained in the Thoroughbred racing industry as a trainer and an owner.  3012 S. 3rd St. was built in 1900 and Roscoe Goose acquired the house in 1912 and lived there with his brother Carl Goose, who was also a famous jockey. The property was owned by Roscoe Goose until his death in 1971.



Advocacy efforts
Preservation Louisville helped gain landmark status for Bauer’s Restaurant, the Wayside Christian Mission properties on East Market Street, Colonial Gardens in the Iroquois neighborhood and Whiskey Row. We also assisted in protecting the Ouerbacker House on West Jefferson Street from threatened demolition, and helped save a threatened shotgun house in Butchertown.

In January 2008, after months of study, the Board of the Brennan House Historic Home voted to change the mission of the organization following recommendations from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and local stakeholders, and to add the role of preservation advocacy to our mission. Although our mission has expanded, we will continue to act as a Heritage Center and to preserve the Brennan House along with the original family collection. In June 2008, the Board chose the name Preservation Louisville, Inc. to reflect the importance of historic preservation to this expanded mission and our community. Preservation Louisville’s new mission is to “Protect and Promote our community’s Cultural, Environmental and Architectural Heritage”


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