National Trust official praises NCD column

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Feedback on columns and blog entries is always appreciated, especially if it's positive. Urban Tulsa Weekly received a note earlier this week from Daniel Carey, southwest regional director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, regarding my March 5th column on the specific provisions of the first draft of a Neighborhood Conservation District enabling ordinance. (You can read the draft for yourself here, and here is City Council researcher Jack Blair's analysis on the topic.)

Here is Carey's comment:

Michael Bates' recent column, "Looking Under the 'Hood" is a spot-on analysis of the benefits of Neighborhood Conservation Districts (NCD's) as well as a sterling defense of the very public and measured process through which this issue is being vetted. I commend his assessment and agree with his conclusion that NCD's can be an effective planning tool to assist neighborhoods facing extreme development pressures.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Tulsa to host the National Preservation Conference in the fall of 2008 (October 21-25). In part, that decision was made because Tulsa is 'turning the corner' when it comes to revitalizing its downtown and protecting its neighborhoods. The conference theme is Preservation in Progress-a double entendre that reinforces the fact that preservation and progress can exist in balance.

That's exactly what conservation zoning affords via NCD's-a way to respect height, massing, scale, setback and other character defining features of Tulsa's great neighborhoods.

It is nothing less than a shame, then, that some uninformed members of the real estate community choose to cry, "Wolf!" about the loss of property rights. Instead of fretting about individual property rights, it's time
Tulsans recognize the value of the whole."the tout ensemble" as it is known in New Orleans. And, in anticipation of those that would say that such "controls" negatively impact property values, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has hard evidence that the opposite is true. NCD's take the larger view; not the narrow single-interest approach. As such, they should be afforded the opportunity to prove themselves as
legitimate means to achieve the legitimate end of preservation.

While I think individual property rights are well worth fretting about, land-use policies are about recognizing that what I do with my property affects the value and enjoyment of my neighbors' properties. An NCD is one tool in the land planning toolbox to provide a stable environment for long-term investment in a neighborhood.

Note the reference to the upcoming 2008 NTHP convention in Tulsa. My hope is that the convention will raise awareness of Tulsa's endangered buildings and neighborhoods and of the economic benefits of preservation and conservation.

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2 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

Good work, Michael. I think the NCD's are a good idea, too.

Floyd said:

Three cheers. Kudos on the recognition. I agree with the need for NCDs.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 27, 2008 7:14 PM.

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