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Take Action to Protect Your Rights

Your freedom to improve your Winter Park home can be severely limited and your property devalued if a proposal being considered by the City of Winter Park is approved by our city commission.

Attend the Historic Preservation Ordinance Public Forum Thursday, May 7, at 9 a.m. or 7 p.m., at the Winter Park Welcome Center located at 151 West Lyman Ave. to voice your opposition. READ THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE HERE.

Click here to send a message to our city commission members telling them to remove all “historic district” language from the Historic Preservation Ordinance.

The proposed ordinance allows any street or neighborhood in Winter Park to be designated a Historic District, subjecting all properties in the district to a review process that places control over redevelopment in the hands of the Historic Preservation Board, whether or not any of the homes in the district have been individually designated to be historic and whether or not you agree to have your property included in the district.

The proposed ordinance allows a small set of neighbors to propose that any contiguous group of homes be designated as a “Historic District,” and the vote of a simple majority (>50%) of owners in the group can then impose “historic” designation on all homes in the group with Historic Preservation Board and City Commission approval. This is not a “historic preservation” initiative, it is an anti-redevelopment initiative.

Once your home is included in a “Historic District” you are subject to a Certificate of Review process for all improvements. This process requires approval of the city’s Historic Preservation Board for “any proposed new construction, exterior alterations, rehabilitation, restoration, renovation, addition, demolition, or relocation of designated historic landmarks, resources, contributing and noncontributing resources within districts…

If your home is included in an approved “Historic District” this board controls every aspect of all improvements, including but not limited to configuration, architecture, square footage, façade, and landscaping even if your home does not meet any criteria for historic designation and even if you voted against being included in the district.

Here is an example of how the proposal would work: Let’s say there are 20 homes on your street and 4 of the property owners want all homes on the street designated a “Historic District.” Further, assume that only 10 of those homes are 50 years old or older, thus meeting the only objective criteria for historic designation in the ordinance (which by the way is not actually required). In this case, the vote of 11 of 20 property owners would subject 9 dissenting owners to Historic District designation against their will, severely limiting their freedom to redevelop their property and lowering resale value. Note in this case that the 9 dissenting property owners may actually own homes that are 50 years old meaning only 1 property owner qualifying for historic consideration may even be involved. This proposal is designed to limit redevelopment rights and property values, not to increase the number of authentically historic properties in Winter Park.

This proposal is being promoted by the Winter Park anti-development lobby, a small group seeking to impose their values without regard to your values, your freedoms, or the impact on the value of your property.

The vast majority of us improve our home to our liking and spend many years paying off a mortgage to build equity in our homes to be used to support our retirement and help our families. We cannot let a small group of extremists limit our freedoms or put our equity at risk.


NOTE – I believe Winter Park should pursue policies that seek to expand the number of truly authentic historic properties. The way to do this is to limit the historic preservation ordinance to individual properties whose owners voluntarily seek and accept historic designation. Those citizens seeking more historic designations should do so through persuasion and through private funding of truly historic properties, not by imposing their values on their neighbors through laws that impose on our freedom, limit our redevelopment rights, and put our property values at risk.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Development, Districts, Ethics, Policy.

6 Responses

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  1. Anonymous says

    One canard after another–you are so predictable.

  2. Ellie Warner says

    Age does not equal attractiveness or merit, just as new construction does not equal ugliness or worthlessness. It’s all subjective and it’s all about control. Very simply, I want control over my home and my property and my plans for it, and I want the same for every property owner regardless of their taste or desires. Wouldn’t we all like to see everything around town match our tastes and interests? Except that we all have different ideas about pleasing architecture and that’s what freedom looks like. Historic designations are great if that’s what a Winter Park property owner wants for his own property! More government dictates and burdens and a little committee of people nosing around in my private business are the last things I want. Thanks a lot for your spotlight on this and other issues, Pete. I like your ‘canards’. They taste like facts.

  3. Pete Weldon says

    It is interesting that the only comments I have received in favor of the proposed ordinance have been from people expressing two views (1) stop tearing down old houses and allowing them to be replaced with bigger houses, and (2) if you don’t value historic preservation then move.

    The first of these affirms my claim that (1) the proposed reduction from 67% to 50% to approve a historic district has nothing to do with history and everything to do with anti-redevelopment sentiment and that (2) the people supporting this ordinance simply wish to impose their personal values at the expense of those who disagree with them (hardly a community value).

    The structure of this ordinance, if passed, will result in nasty neighborhood fights and law suits at city expense while not preserving anything other than the self-righteous indignation of those insisting on the change. It makes no sense.

  4. George Schiele says

    Sounds very much like yet another attempt by the “No Changes Ever” gang to impose themselves on the rest of us. Expanding “Rules” without thinking through the consequences of living with them is never a good idea. Thanks for speaking up to resist yet another unwarranted intrusion into our lives and useless burden on our assets.

  5. Ray Renfro says

    I would oppose any new city ordinance allowing any street or neighborhood in Winter Park to be designated a Historic District by virtue of a majority vote of the people living on the street or neighborhood.

    This would subject all homes on a street or in a neighborhood to a review process that places control over home improvements in the hands of the Historic Preservation Board. Therefore preventing people from updating their homes.

    I feel this would be very restrictive and would hurt property values. Who would buy a home in Winter Park knowing that it may become designated a historic home and could not be improved. This ordinance would not be good for Winter Park. Historic homes should be designated on a home by home basis with the consent of the home owner.

  6. Pete Weldon says

    I want to reiterate that I support voluntary historic preservation. Our problem with this ordinance as a community is that the arbitrary breath of control afforded HPB regarding any improvements and the wide open opportunity to impose Historic District status on all neighborhoods, against the will of individual property owners, will strain our civic fabric needlessly while lowering property values. Does anyone really believe a home that cannot be improved without the blessing of an appointed board is going to have greater value than a home subject to the normal Winter Park residential code that gives the owner freedom to improve to their liking (within general boundaries)? And what is the value of your home if it is not even judged historic within the historic district, yet you are still beholding to this board? No sane person would ever sign off on this so lets try to find a reasoned way to encourage historic designation on homes that truly have architectural qualities worth preserving, and stop trying to impose these vast and general rules on our neighbors.

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