» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 133 | NO. 93 | Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Conrad Hoping for Landmarks Compromise

By Patrick Lantrip

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

It’s been nearly two decades since the last time a new historic district has been carved out, so when the Cooper-Young neighborhood’s application came before the Memphis City Council it was meet with some trepidation.

Though the motion eventually passed and Cooper-Young was granted historic status, the council must approve the meeting’s minutes to make it official and it voted to hold the minutes for three readings to sort out what some feel are holes in the Landmarks process itself.

Councilman Kemp Conrad, who initially proposed the maneuver, said he did so because it was the only way the application was going to pass.

Kemp Conrad

“There wasn’t enough votes to do the historic district as it stands right now,” Conrad said. “Cooper-Young wasn’t going to pass, and Speedway Terrace wasn’t going to pass.”

Conrad said that while he is personally in favor of the notion of historic districts, not all of his colleagues were on board with the process as a whole.

“It’s an important thing for the city to preserve historic structures, but also we need more infill development and tax base,” Conrad said. “We need to bring the homebuilder community together along with the historic community to find some common ground to get these historic districts implemented.”

While the minutes, and final approval, are being held, Conrad has created a new draft ordinance to address the most glaring issues that concern the council. Those include reworking the application process, allowing the planning staff to rule on certain minor issues, and more clearly defining what specifically is to be reviewed the Memphis Landmarks Commission.

One of the most notable proposed changes in the draft would create a vetting process that would precede any neighborhood’s official application.

“The City Council is of the belief that an internal vetting of the merits of being located within a historic overlay district, as well as the district’s proposed design guidelines, should take place before a formal application is filed with the city and public hearings are scheduled,” the draft reads in part. “The City Council believes that internal vetting can only occur if a minimum threshold of approval of the affected property owners is established through ordinance.”

Meanwhile, City Council attorney Allan Wade is sorting through legal issues surrounding another major road bump for some council members – the appeals process.

“If they get denied, the only appeal is to hire a lawyer and go to Chancery Court,” Conrad said. “A majority of my colleagues don’t think it’s fair for a homeowner to have to go to Chancery Court.”

While Conrad said he doesn’t yet know the best way to sort out the appeals process, he doesn’t believe it should be directly through the council itself.

Nonetheless, he is optimistic that some common ground will be found between the council, homebuilders and the two communities before the final reading sometime in June.

“This hasn’t been looked at in roughly 20 years and there’s just, to me, some common-sense things we need to make sure we have right before we carve out several hundred acres and several thousand homes,” Conrad said.

“I don’t think we’re going to get everybody on every spectrum totally happy with a compromise, but I’m hopeful we can get 75 to 80 percent there on both sides.”

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 57 1,266
MORTGAGES 48 48 964
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 11 11 162
BUILDING PERMITS 87 87 2,838
BANKRUPTCIES 34 34 652
BUSINESS LICENSES 10 10 286
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0