Excerpt from the Capital Gazette:
The contentious legislation on changes to city code governing historic properties will be withdrawn at Monday’s City Council meeting and the work group surrounding that legislation has been dissolved.
An email sent out by Pete Gutwald, the city’s Director of Planning and Zoning, broke the news to members of the work group early Wednesday afternoon. A statement released by the city announced Mayor Mike Pantelides and Alderman Joe Budge, D-Ward 1, would propose withdrawal of the legislation that would make broad changes to the city’s code governing historic properties.
Those changes were crafted by the Historic Preservation Commission, led by chairwoman Sharon Kennedy, and introduced as legislation by Budge. Budge and Kennedy are married.
“This Work group will be dissolved so that individual stakeholders may focus on their areas of interest,” Gutwald wrote in the email. “I want to thank everyone for their dedication and time toward working on the update to Historic Preservation legislation and commitment to Historic Preservation in the City of Annapolis.”
Budge said the decision to dissolve the work group seemed necessary after realizing the scope of the differences between the proposed legislation and residents with concerns. A specific concern was the relationship between art and historic preservation, which would take much longer to tackle in the work group format, he said.
Because of that, he felt the work group wasn’t the best platform to build consensus on the legislation.
“These issues are going to take a considerable amount of work and effort to sort out and work through,” Budge said. “We felt the committees charged with those issues should work on building consensus.”
The announcement brings to an end a months-long debate between city officials and residents over the legislation. The changes would have given the commission more authority over properties falling into disrepair and further defined the process of establishing historic landmarks, among many other changes.