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Dr. Robert Lemon
May 20, 2015

The argument for continuity and conclusion of the HPB study seems based on sound legal and moral evidence. Moreover, Mr. Segal’s statement speaks highly of his ability to compromise and share the possibility that the rejection of the two candidates has nothing to do with personalities and everything to do with continuity. His willingness to view this possibility reflects the knowledge his years of successful public service. Bravo!

Like the library board, these HPB efforts parallel a laudable sincerity with no apparent subtext.

If I want a slippery slope, I believe a visit to Aspen is in order. Or perhaps Austin, where platitudes, cliches and hyperbole get ordinances passed.

Thank you to these neighbors who have spent endless hours and deliberations about what makes Winter Park unique, and suggesting ways to conserve that singularity.

Ghost of Historic Builders
May 20, 2015

As the debate rages on, I couldn’t help imagining all the builders, through all the years of Winter Park history.
Perhaps some of their ghosts are tuning into the play by play of this latest high stakes game.
If so, I imagine some of the more famous builders of Winter Park last are today rolling over in their graves!
Winter Park considering telling those in the building trade, following in their footsteps, with new, bold, and imaginative building ideas to replace those edifices that have earned their retirement?
The building trade is as historic and important to Winter Park and to all the builders and architects who have come before, as any historic district.
So, let’s not get carried away.
Planting new buildings is as important to Winter Park as planting new trees.
For this generation – and those that follow – keep Winter Park’s building tradition alive and we’ll.

Beth Hall
May 20, 2015

It seems to me that Leary continues his march to the development drum. The latest two examples are his resistance to the idea of an easement on the Fifth Third Bank property and his insistence that new members be appointed to the HPB at the eleventh hour- despite all the time and effort the current roster (and the ad hoc committee) had invested.

Whether this was because some strengthening of the ordinance is a likely recommendation of the Board is certainly one hypothesis worthy of consideration.

Luckily, sanity prevailed and what appeared to be an attempt to control the outcome by changing the composition of the Board at the zero hour was thwarted for the time being by votes from McMacken, Seidel and Cooper.

A vociferous insistence by the City Attorney and Commissioner Sprinkel that Leary was required to make the appointments RIGHT the HECK NOW rang really hollow for a couple reasons. But the most compelling of these was that it would mean that although the finish line was well in sight, all the time and effort expended by the current board would have been relegated to the circular file without further ado… not even the parting gift that any five minute game show contestant would have received. (That course of action has little to recommend it in terms of either common sense or in attracting good talent.)

To be clear, no part of my post is intended to be a comment on the merits or the qualifications of the individuals whom Leary proposed to appoint. My comments are based only upon my observations from recent commission meetings.

Pitt Warner
May 20, 2015

a mandatory historic district, with its accompanying regulations, is a big mistake/problem. Rather than endorsing a battleground, the city commission should approve a modified ordinance that allows property owners to be released from any neighborhood votes. Those that want the district can form one. Those that don’t are left alone. This is all about property rights. “Love thy neighbor” not regulate thy neighbor.

Kim Allen
May 20, 2015

I start with admiration for Phil Kean and Bill Segal. As a statesman, Bill has served our community well. He is smart, fair and has a heart for service. Phil is one of the finest architects we have in the community, if not the finest. The quality of design and materials he specs for his projects are always beautiful.

I have read the article and reviewed the members of the historical preservation board. I am satisfied the make up of the committee is balanced. In Tom McMacken’s defense, he is right. He is a policy maker for our City and is called to provide leadership. Abe Lincoln coined the phrase “Don’t want to change horses in mid-stream” in response to changing generals because of the impact on the war and the complications it would create. Though Commissioner McMackens thinking may not be popular in some circles, he has provided leadership. McMacken always tries to do the right thing even if it is not popular.

Please consider the following. If anyone can have empathy for changing managers on a project I believe Phil would. Phil is in the business of designing & building homes, always a big complicated project that requires skill . A home he designed 2 doors away from my home, through no fault of his, had a series of foreman. The change in leadership delayed the project with serious lapses of time, added expense… curbs were poured before the dumpster was removed; breaking the curb and having to have it rebuilt. The root ball of a heritage pine was cut in half by day laborers requiring the removal of the tree, did the new foreman not know the requirements for protecting trees and securing approval? Finally, Phil’s vision is realized a year and half later. Had the same foreman been present throughout the project “cha cha ing” might have been reduced (one step forward, one step back).

I would love to see Phil’s talents on an architectural review board. Last evening I was at Trader Joe’s with an architect friend and he pointed out the dining room chandeliers hanging in the towers and the poor lakefront design of this development. Good leadership matches the right people with the right job…Phil is all about good proportion, quality materials, creative solutions, great design…how about creating a bad architect warden and give him the badge?

Scott Grafton
June 5, 2015

I took the time to read through the Historic Preservation Ordinance draft today. I had a number of questions regarding it and contacted Lindsey Hayes, the Senior Planner for the city, via email in hopes of getting some clarification. She promptly responded with great answers that cleared up my questions.

That said, the draft itself doesn’t seem unreasonable at all. I think establishing a formal process for designating historic properties and districts is valuable in ensuring the character of our city is maintained to the benefit of our community. I’m really surprised that a city like Winter Park, rich in history, doesn’t have a stringent historic preservation ordinance already in place. We do have a current ordinance in place, but past events have revealed it to be weakly defined.

I’m not sure I fully understand the fuss being made about the ordinance. From what I gather, there’s a belief that the establishment of a Historic Preservation District within the city will violate the property rights of owners. That stance on the issue implies that property owners should be able to do whatever they want with their property, and no regulation should intrude upon that right. Those that share this belief must also be against Building and Permitting Services, the Comprehensive Plan, and the Planning and Zoning Board. Each of those set limitations what one may do with property they own.

We live in this community together, not on islands separated by property lines. The intention of these regulations is to preserve and protect the community as a whole to its benefit. The updated Historic Preservation Ordinance would be a step towards preventing the actions of a single person from dramatically altering the face and intrinsic value of an area greater than what they own.

Thaddeus Seymour
June 8, 2015

This is what I just posted on my Facebook page:

Pitt Warner keeps haranguing us about Winter Park’s proposed preservation ordinance, and I had almost lost my zest for fighting for it. And then I read Scott Grafton’s sound, succinct, and persuasive comments in “The WP Voice.” I urge my friends to read them and to help “pass the word.” After so many have worked so hard, it would be simply irresponsible to give up now.

Pete Weldon
June 9, 2015

Neither Mr. Grafton nor Mr. Seymour understand the factual context. Every property owner in Winter Park is already subject to objective, measurable development criteria. These criteria define many aspects including the envelop of buildings on the property. See this link for the basic rules: These define height, setbacks, square footage, and impervious coverage; effectively limiting the scale of buildings.

Very importantly, these objective criteria apply EQUALLY to all property owners with only two exceptions. You can request a variance from the Board of Adjustment under strict rules defining a hardship, and you can request your home be placed on the Winter Park Register of Historic Places and then request any variance you desire subject only to the judgement of an ever changing Historic Preservation Board. Mr. Grafton and Mr. Seymour might want to study the actual variances granted by the Historic Preservation Board and judge appropriateness for themselves.

In supporting the draft Historic Preservation ordinance Mr. Grafton and Mr. Seymour are supporting subjecting all property owners in Winter Park to allow a majority of your neighbors (not defined) to declare your property “historic” (not defined) and therefore become subject to redevelopment review by the Historic Preservation Board. As written in the ordinances the redevelopment review process is completely arbitrary and in practice has proven to be inconsistently applied.

So, the 8,500 single family property owners in Winter Park have a choice; accept the draft ordinance and allow a majority of your neighbors to assume control over the redevelopment of your property, or, reject the draft ordinance and retain your equal right to improve your property under existing objective criteria. Which choice do you make?

We should stop hiding our support for this monster behind the false mantle of “history” and start looking at the real consequences of our current ordinance and view the draft ordinance in that light of reality. Only then can we arrive at a reasoned, constructive historic preservation policy appropriate for Winter Park.

Not Power Hungry
June 9, 2015

So the choice is clear for 8,500 residences in Winter Park either allow the majority of your neighbors represented by a board had a say in the look of an area that is being protected from over development through a Historic Preservation Board as well as the P&Z board that Mr. Weldon is on, or forget that old ever revolving door of old people on that Historic Preservation Board they really don’t know what they want, and just trust the P&Z board with Mr. Weldon to guide your rights and allowances, he always has your best interests at heart.

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