Hold on… What?
One of the last pedestrian courts in Louisville is in danger of being destroyed within 30 days! Lawton Court, built in 1912, has been bought by the defense contractor next door and has filed 9 demo permits with no plans for rebuilding filed with Metro Louisville.
It appears after meeting with CEPEDA leadership a factory may be built on site after 3 years. Currently no design plans or renderings have been submitted or filed.
The Meriwether neighborhood south of the railroad has many areas zoned for enterprise zoning aka EZ-1 . This means that large corporations can purchase land for commercial purposes even if a house is on it.
Over many years, especially during the pandemic, CEPEDA has purchased home after home on the court and finally reached critical mass to clear at least 75% of the houses.
Currently, the demolition permits are entirely vague, with no building permit attached or any reason for these demolitions. No public meetings for a redesign is scheduled-- only block-sized demolitions.
We interviewed existing renters below, who were blindsided by these reports.
What we can do:
With the land already under the ownership of the corporation, the biggest thing we can do is generate publicity and outrage that historic properties, especially an entire block of homes are being demolished during a housing crisis.
There is a LANDMARK COMMISSION MEETING on Tuesday, Jan 24th at 5:30 PM to discuss whether this pedestrian court can be considered a historical landmark in the city,
I am trying to find ways to add more details to Metro demolition notices in future developments and specifically try to figure out if we can prevent something like this from ever happening in historic shotgun neighborhoods North of the railroad or anywhere in the city.
We can do this through ordinance changes.
Remember I am not mad at the residents for selling their homes and getting an above-average payout, I am upset that the existing housing stock will never legally be able to have homes built on it again and there is no way for residents to continue to build wealth through home ownership.
A few ordinance ideas:
1. Place reason for demolition on notice
2. Name the party wanting to carry out demolition on notice
3. Limiting bulk demolitions of historic blocks in perpetuity
4. Public meetings and agreements for large block sized demolitions of 2 or more neighboring houses.
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