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Thread: URGENT: possible changes to Kansas preservation laws

  1. #1
    Aug 2007

    URGENT: possible changes to Kansas preservation laws

    Attention Kansas Preservationists:

    When I went to Topeka today, I was informed by Kansas State Historical Society staff that a bill has been introduced in the House that would eliminate the state 500-foot environs rule. They requested that I pass this information along to anyone who may have an interest in this legislation, regardless of their position, in an effort to foster an open discussion of this bill.

    Currently Certified Local Governments and the Kansas State Historical Society review building permits for exterior alterations to all buildings within 500’ of any building that is on the State and/or National Register. If the bill passes, this review would no longer be in effect. There will be a public hearing before the House Local Government Committee at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 12.

    The hearing with the House Local Government Committee is open to the public and anyone may register to speak either in favor or against the proposal. If you know of anyone who would have a strong interest in this legislation, regardless of whether they would be for it or against it, please pass this information along to them. If you wish to speak at the public hearing, you will need to contact the secretary of the Committee to be put on a list of speakers. Additionally, Jennie Chinn, the State Historic Preservation Officer, has requested that people who are interested in speaking contact her as well. Her phone number is 785-272-8681 ext. 205 and her e-mail is jchinn@kshs.org.

    If you or someone you know has strong feelings regarding this legislation but will not be able to attend the public hearing, please contact your representative or one of the members of the Committee. There is additional information below that includes a website with information about where the House Local Government Committee meets and their procedure as well as a link with the actual text of the bill.

    Here is some additional information on the Committees and how they work, where to park, where to go, etc. - http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-...p/committee.do

    The bill is House Bill 2083 - for reference. You can find the full text at http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2010/2083.pdf

    I was able to contact the Secretary of the House Local Government Committee, Carol Bertram. If you think you know of anyone who would like to make a presentation at Thursday’s hearing, please have them contact Ms. Bertram at 785-296-7637. If anyone plans to make a presentation, they must submit 25 hard copies of the presentation by 12:00 on Wednesday, February 11. If they cannot attend the meeting, they may submit 25 hard copies of a written testimony by 12:00 on Wednesday, February 11. These can be delivered to Room 161 West at the Capitol or mailed to State Capitol, Room 161 West, Topeka, KS 66612. Again, all documents must be received by 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 11.

  2. #2
    Feb 2009
    Milford, KS

    bill "blessed" to remain alive past normal deadline

    I don't know who you are, but thank you! I am very happy to see someone is alerting planners to this bill. I attended the hearing. Even though the word did not get out in time for most interested folks, it was standing room only. Speakers/attendees were about 10-1 against the bill. Unfortunately the bill did not die there. It went from that committee (Local Government) to the Appropriations Committee and then back again. That strategy keeps the bill alive by making it "exempt" from meeting normal deadlines. Someone is really pushing the bill. I'm glad planners are getting the workd out. My friends and I come from the perspective of historic preservation and are just now getting the word out. I would imagine any taxpaer also would be interested from the aspect of protecting state assests because many of the buildings on the historic registers are state-owned and maintained by funds they get from tourists. If the building's environs are not protected, the "attraction" may be reduced. Please continue spreading the word. The bill is still alive and rests with chairman Sharon Schwartz. Do you know of any organizations who would assign their lobyists to work against this bill?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
    Mar 2003
    "Somewhere in the middle"
    Good lord is Kansas going to hell in a hand basket???
    This is the third alert for legislative hearing in the last two weeks.
    The first I heard was that they were going to take local control away from cities and couties on renewable energy siting. We got that stopped.
    Currently I seem to be the only one up in arms because they want to take away the super majority vote on protest potitions for strip mining. My arguement is that if they start there it opens the door for them to take the protest away from adjacent landowners. It is a small bit of control but I don't think it should be taken away. the process has worked well for quite some time now.


    And they are talking about taking our Governor...
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
    Feb 2000
    Sans Souci

    Environs Review

    Kansas is the only state with a 500' automatic environs review for all permitting actions (state and local) for any project within 500' of a national registered historic property. The original law was put in as a knee jerk reaction to the actions of a railroad that tore down a historic depot in the middle of the night. The law is excessively broad in that "projects" include minor improvements signs, fences, residential additions, decks, porch rehabs, etc... anything that requires a permit.

    It is an administrative nightmare because the rule applies statewide and most communities do not have the institutional or knowledge base to comply with the law. It also puts local Heritage Commissions (where they exist) into a regulatory role rather than an advocacy role, which is where their real value is. I am the staff person for one of Kansas' 13 historic preservation "Certified Local Governments" so I know intimately the difficulties this law causes and am a very strong advocate for historic preservation.

    Kansas has one of the best state preservation programs in the country, but it is not because of over reaching regulations... it's because of the preservation ethic of Kansans, state incentive (tax credit) programs and the quality of people working in the Kansas State Historical Societie's State Historic Preservation Office. The truth is that while well intended, the 500' environs review law is a waste of valuable resources, is a public relations disaster and puts Heritage Commissions and others in a useless regulatory position instead of fulfilling their advocacy intent.


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