Some extras on my story today about the debate over the future of the city’s Mills Act program, the tax break given to homeowners of historic properties to incentivize their maintenance:
Fees: One of the mayor’s proposed reforms to the program is an increase in fees to cover the staff costs of reviewing applications and performing inspections. That is now a stance largely supported by critics of the program and by the historical preservation community. But the latter group hasn’t always agreed the fees should be higher. My colleague Will Carless, who covered this beat before I did, wrote a story a couple of years ago telling how the prospect of raising fees was tearing apart the historic preservation community:
Some preservationists also argue that the city government has a paternal responsibility to preserve its historical assets, and charging people to preserve their homes is an ignoble concept that should be opposed on moral grounds.
“It would have a chilling effect on designation for people who can’t afford to lose that much money,” said Beth Montes, president of the Save Our Heritage Organization in San Diego.
I brought that up this week when I was interviewing Cathy Winterrowd and Bill Anderson at City Hall. Winterrowd said the debate over Mills Act changes “seems like it was very recent but it’s not.”
Grand Jury: Here’s a link to the San Diego County Grand Jury’s report, titled “History Hysteria.”