After more than a year of public meetings and a community vote to proceed with the application, the proposal to create a Cooper-Young Historic Overlay District (also known as a Landmarks district) cleared another hurdle in October when the Memphis Landmarks Commission voted to recommend the proposal to the city council.

Next, the application will be heard by the Land Use Control Board (LUCB) during their regularly scheduled meeting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14th, in city council chambers. Those who wish to speak for or against the proposal are encouraged to attend the meeting and voice your opinions. If you can’t attend, you may email or call Brian Bacchus (brian.bacchus@memphistn.gov, 901-636-6601) at the Office of Planning & Development (OPD) stating the reason(s) for your support or opposition to the request for a Historic Overlay District. During the public hearing, the LUCB may recommend approval, not recommend approval, or continue the item until the next regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the LUCB.

Finally, the proposal will be heard by the Memphis City Council over three meetings in the first couple months of 2018, which have yet to be scheduled. The council will vote to approve or deny the overlay during the third hearing.

To view the proposed Cooper-Young Historic Overlay District guidelines and the proposed district boundaries, visit cooperyoung.org/proposed-landmarks. Because Cooper-Young is an eclectic, diverse community, we proposed the least restrictive of the guidelines for the 13 existing Historic Districts in Memphis. Referred to as “skinny” guidelines by one OPD employee, the only alterations that are covered in the proposed CY guidelines are:

  • New construction
  • Habitable additions to existing structures
  • Non-habitable additions to existing structures
  • Outbuildings and new fencing
  • Demolition
  • Relocation

If you are not doing any of those alterations to your house, the guidelines do not apply, and no fees or applications for a Certificate of Appropriateness (permit) are required. Based on confusion generated by the table of fees included in the last mailing from the city, Section 5.8 was added to the proposed guidelines for clarity and reads as follows:

Certificates of Appropriateness are only required for the improvements described in these guidelines. All other improvements not covered by these guidelines, including, but not limited to: change of paint color, installation of solar panels and roof, window and door replacements, shall not require a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Whatever your opinion on the guidelines, please express your opinion by showing up to the Dec. 14 hearing or emailing or calling the OPD. If you have general questions or concerns regarding the application, please contact the Cooper-Young Landmarks committee via the Cooper-Young Community Association. — Mark Morrison