Advocacy Issues

The Issue: Third Party Landmark Applications

Neighborhood: City-wide

City Council Member: Full council mailto: council@stpete.org

Action You Can Take Now: Send a message to Council supporting PTB's position on Third Party

BACKGROUND:

Third party applications are so called to distinguish between the first party – the property owner, and the second party – the City of St. Petersburg, who should have a vested interest in submitting applications for local historic landmark status. A third party application is usually submitted by a neighborhood association, an advocacy organization like Preserve the ‘Burg, or a concerned citizen worried about the demolition of an historic building.  In April of 2019, after two third-party applications drew public attention, City Council issued a six-month moratorium on the process.  

There are more than 85,000 properties in the city of St. Petersburg. Only 110 of them bear some level of demolition review procedures through the local historic landmark designation. That’s 1/10th of one percent. Of those 110 buildings, only nine of them were designated under applications submitted by a third party, over owner-objection (that’s .01 percent.) Those include the Glen Oaks Cemetery, one of the two oldest cemeteries in St. Petersburg and burial site of the city’s first African-American settlers, John Donaldson and Anna Germain; Mercy Hospital – the designated hospital for African Americans in St. Petersburg from 1923-1966 and the oldest surviving hospital building in the city; Sunken Gardens – St. Petersburg’s most notable roadside tourist attraction (and site of countless weddings today); and the Detroit Hotel, built by city co-founder Peter Demens upon the city’s founding in 1888, and viewed by many as the city’s most historically significant building.  Read more about statistics and stories on Third Party applications in St. Pete in this Catalyst article by PTB Executive Director Monica Kile, here.

TIMELINE

April 2019: After two third-party landmark applications - that of the Doc Webb House and the Holiday Motel - drew considerable public attention, City Council issued a six-month moratorium on further applications. 

August 2019: City Council conducted a joint meeting with the city's Community Planning & Preservation Commission (CPPC) at the Sunshine Center to discuss third party landmark applications. During the meeting, there was considerable support for third-party applications expressed by both the city’s historic preservation staff and members of both the CPPC and Council.  Suggestions were made to city staff for possible revisions to the historic preservation ordinance to improve the third-party application process. 

October 2019: Revisions were advanced to City Council for a first reading.  Preserve the Burg (PTB) generally supports the ordinance amendments recommended by staff. These amendments include new definitions that incorporate past city practice as well as additional notice requirements for individual third party and district landmark applications. 

THE THREAT

At present it looks like the threat to the ability to submit third party applications is lower than we had feared it might be when Council first issued the moratorium.  When revisions come before Council for a final vote, we will update you!

THE OPPORTUNITY

Like any issue that garners public attention, the third party issue provides an opportunity to express support of historic preservation in St. Petersburg.  These issues often create a platform for Preserve the ‘Burg to spread its message of keeping St. Pete Special! One example is this article, written by Executive Director Monica KIle, on the Catalyst website. 

WHAT PRESERVE THE ‘BURG IS DOING

PTB submitted letters to both CPPC and Council articulating the rationale for keeping third-party applications in our ordinance. We also met with several Council members to express our views.  We believe our comments and suggestions had an effect, based on discussions that took place in the August workshop. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • When Council takes its final vote on the revisions you can help celebrate their thoughtful consideration of the third party application procedure by sending them a message of thanks.  We will let you know when that time comes!

  • Keep up to date on the issue by following Preserve the ‘Burg’s social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), and reading our weekly E-news. Sign up for that here

  • When the issue comes up in the news or on social media, show your support with the hashtag #KeepThirdParty!


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Contact:
Preserve the 'Burg
P.O. Box 838
St. Petersburg, FL 33731
(727) 824-7802
info@preservetheburg.org
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