Wednesday, May 9, 2018

City Council OKs Speedway Terrace Historic Status

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 10:44 AM

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The Memphis City Council voted Tuesday in favor of designating the Speedway Terrace neighborhood as an historic overlay district.

With historic protection, the Memphis Landmarks Commission has oversight of add-ons, demolition, and new structures in the district. All additions must meet the architectural standards outlined in the neighnorhood's guidelines.

Residents told the council that protection is needed to prevent infill development uncharacteristic of the neighborhood, citing the construction of multiple homes in a lot that’s designed for a single home.

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, a resident started a petition in favor of historic status. It gained 354 supporters in less than a week and reads, in part:

“We are trying to further stabilize our area, protect us from inappropriate development, create a more vibrant and harmonious existence, and have a voice in our future. We are trying to protect our investment in the American Dream.”

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The 21-block district sitting north of Crosstown Concourse includes 347 plots and 26 vacant lots.

It’s the second neighborhood to receive historic designation in less than a month. In April, the council voted to make Cooper-Young an historic overlay district. However, the meeting minutes pertaining to both neighborhoods’ designations are being held until June for final approval.

This is to give the council time to create an ordinance to address specific issues in the historic guidelines, like demolition and the appeals process. Currently, per the guidelines, a resident must appeal a decision by the Landmarks Commission in Chancery Court, but members of the council have concerns over the financial burden that could have on residents and suggest that the council hear appeals.

However, even with the minutes pending, both neighborhoods are already protected because of a state law that says “sufficiently pending” legislation should be applied as law.

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