Preserve the Character and Appearance of Old Town Key West - replace HARC Commissioners Miller, Glorie and Logan

This petition made change with 994 supporters!

The Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) was created to preserve the “character and appearance" of Old Town and other Key West historic districts because the City Commission believed preservation would benefit "the educational, cultural, and economic welfare of the citizens of Key West.” HARC has drifted from its mission by advocating intrusive and alien new construction culminating in July 2015 with the approval of a 206’, ultra-modern, green glass, white roofed, stucco and composite siding, 9 bedroom, 15 bath “house” to be located at 616 Eaton Street (partially pictured). HARC guidelines require new construction to be “in keeping” with the historic character of the neighborhood and compatible with the surrounding historic context. 616 Eaton is in intentional opposition to its surroundings and should never have been approved.

Comments from certain HARC Commissioners during the July 28 and August 25, 2015 meetings evidenced their affinity for contemporary architecture, disdain for those who disagree and a commitment to changing the fabric of Old Town. Commissioners Theo Glorie (appointed by outgoing City Commissioner Mark Rossi), Richard Logan (appointed by City Commissioner Clayton Lopez) and Michael Miller (appointed by Mayor Cates) each enthused about contemporary architecture. Commissioner Miller repeatedly referred to attempts to fit in as “phony” and “Disneyesque” and lamented the public is “sentimentally attached” to Old Town. Commissioner Logan acknowledged from the dais that he is unable to follow the HARC guideline against Commissioners applying their personal, subjective opinion of what is “pretty” or “in good taste” when evaluating a project then in August referred to the “ignorant comments” from those who have reacted negatively to the July decision. Other Commissioners voted in favor of the project; however, it is these three who most enthusiastically promoted a vision inconsistent with HARC’s purpose. If this trend continues then the Commission charged with preserving Old Town will undermine the qualities and aesthetic that made it valuable in the first place.

For the foregoing reasons, we the undersigned respectfully urge the Mayor and City Commissioners (current and incoming):

1) Not to reappoint Commissioner Michael Miller when his HARC term expires in December, 2015;

2) Not to reappoint Commissioner Theo Glorie when his HARC term expires in December, 2015;

3) To call for the immediate resignation of Commissioner Richard Logan; and

4) To actively seek and appoint HARC Commissioners committed to preserving the character and appearance of our historic districts, who are respectful of the residents who value the sense of place such districts create and who will emphasize the guidelines’ mandates with respect to compatibility of new construction with historic settings.

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