Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mannsdale - Livingston Heritage Preservation District

Mannsdale - Livingston Heritage Preservation District: During the April 6 BOS meeting, it was voted to have a Public Hearing, May 18, to discuss the Mannsdale - Livingston Heritage Preservation District and possibly consider abolishing it. Click here to see Madison County Journal article "Johnson Questions Mannsdale District." The Mannsdale - Livingston Preservation District is on the Mississippi Heritage Foundation's List of 10 Most Endangered Historic Places

The Madison County Board of Supervisors did not make changes to the Mannsdale - Livingston Heritage Preservation District. Thanks to all!!!


Bob said...

To the Editor
Clarion Ledger
Jackson, MS

Madison District Two Supervisor Tim Johnson is questioning the need of the Advisory Board charged with overseeing the historical integrity of the corridor along Mississippi 463.

This area is one of the most unique and beautiful places still remaining in central Mississippi.

He implies that he doesn’t think history serves a valuable purpose in need of preservation. He uses as a basis for his reasoning that he has received “several complaints” from those “dealing with development or building” in the preservation district's boundaries.

In other words, he is putting Madison County up for sale to the highest bidder.

It would seem from this statement that he intends to continue to put the concerns of developers over the needs of the people who voted for him as he has in the past. Using his reasoning we could justify building a subdivision on the grounds of the State Capitol. Why not tear down the Chapel of the Cross and put in a QuickStop? Let's pave over Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone's grave and make a parking lot.

Mr. Johnson would have us forget where we came from, a mistake that has been proven foolish time and time again.

Those developers who seem to have won over Mr. Johnson’s heart and soul have but one motive, and after they have destroyed our heritage and collected their profits will move on to practice their destruction elsewhere, leaving Mr. Johnson and us with nothing but concrete and asphalt.

I can understand his disturbing position on historical matters by noticing that he is the only Supervisor who refuses to share his email address with his constituents. Go to the Madison County Web Site and try to find a way to communicate with him. He obviously wants no feedback or comment from us unwashed common folk. Considering his past performance, I can understand why.

As has been his practice since his election, he remains a disappointment to the residents of District Two.

Bob Pollard
District Two Property Owner
14 Foxcroft Court
Madison, MS

Jan Richardson said...

Mr. Pollard's letter is right on the money. As I understand it, this district is not even in Tim Johnson's "zone", making the whole proposal even more questionable.

Jeff Carron said...

Well stated.

Cherry said...

Please, do not vote to abolish the Overlay district out here on highway 463. I am in Real Estate and this active body has helped to create value for the County. All the residents on Highway 22 are against the Board of Supervisors abolishing this District. The Overlay board has done a great job in protecting our investments in Real Estate. If you drive down Highway 463 going toward Highway 22, note that on the left side of the road was before the Overlay district and the right side of the road was after the Overlay district. This example alone shows that there is a correct way and an incorrect way for development. I am a developer and Builder. They do us a great service.

Anonymous said...

Stan says........HUH! Who do I trust most to manage the Heritage Preservation District; the BOS or the Advisory Board? I take the advisory board. I have seen the BOS in action and there is nothing I can think of that I feel they are competent to manage. I would match some of their actions to the Jackson City Council. My prediction is the District will be dissolved by a 3-2 vote: Johnson, Banks, Griffin for dissolution and Smith and Crosby against unless they delay action by tabling or not bring a motion.

John Robinson said...

I am greatly disturbed by the fact that someone (especially a member of the Madison County Board of Supervisors) could, with a straight face, say he has questions about the "purpose" and "usefulness" of the MLHP District. A quick read of the enacting documents adopted by the Board of Supervisors when it created the district answers these questions clearly and in great detail. Indeed, the first sentence in the first section of the MHLP enacting document, Section 1600, states the purpose of the District is to "preserve the integrity" of the Mannsdale-Livingston area. Section 1600 explains in detail the reasons why the Board of Supervisors created and sought to protect the Distict. In Section 1600, it states the "Board of Supervisors of Madison County . . . recognizes that the Mannsdale-Livingston area is known for its extensive and concentrated historical buildings," dating from the 1840's thru the 1890's, as well as being the site of numerous, significant historical events in Mississippi history. I'm not going to quote the 8 enumerated "goals" of the District, as described by the Board and set out in great detail in Section 1600, but, to the extent the preamble of the enacting document doesn't answer one's questions regarding the purpose and "usefulness" of the District, just read the 8 enumerated goals. They reflect the many reasons why preserving and protecting the area is so important. Recent events, including Mr. Johnson's vague "questions" about the need for the MHLP and the Commission, in and of itself demonstrates why their continued existence and work are now more important than ever.

I can't say with certainty what Mr. Johnson's agenda is (in part because he has refused to explain himself), but I believe the motives Mr. Pollard describes are most likely a big part of the driving forces here. In addition, I believe MDOT, flush with ARRA stimulus funds, or soon to be, also could be working behind the scenes and has injected itself into local county politics (something, in my opinion, it should never do). I'm sure the MDOT folks are shaking the bushes for "shovel ready" projects for fear of losing its alloted share of stimulus funds. Extending the widening of 463 to Highway 22 seems as if it could easily be deemed "shovel ready," especially since they've not even finished the existing 463 widening project in Madison (the City). But for the MHLP, maybe MDOT would have reached be at the corner of 463 and Gluckstadt by now. Just some thoughts prompted by MDOT Commissioner Dick Hall. I have a few other things to say in response to Hall's comments regarding these matters, but doubt further comment about MDOT, Hall and their stake in all of this would be productive. In fact, likely would be offensive to some.

With regard to complaints of developers, I interpret this as direct evidence of the fact the MHLP Commission is doing exactly what it was created to do, is protecting the integrity of the MHLP District and is otherwise serving the purposes for which it was created.

As far as tje desire to turn 463 between Reunion and Highway 22 into something resembling 463 between I-55 and the Reunion Parkway is concerned, some of my questions are: what's the incentive? Where's the demand? What's the need? Given our current economic climate, anyone, including Mr. Johnson and his developer friends, should realize making way for further commerical development along the 463 corridor: a. is unecessary, and; b. is financially unsound. The current state of the local real estate market (including the significant depreciation in home values) clearly shows there is no demand (or, in many residents' opinions, desire) for further development, much less the abolishment of the District, or restricting local residents' ability to excercise some control over future development through the MHLP Commission (the authority created to protect the integrity of the MHLP District). More speculation and financial risk involving Madison County real estate? Haven't our developer friends learned anything from the recent (and on-going) collapse in the real estate market. Entire subdivisions in many parts of the country are being demolished and plowed over with the hope they'll someday return to their "natural" state. Once Pandora is out of the box, there's no getting her back in.

As an example of the lack of need/demand, look at Mr. Primos' "Town of Mannsdale" at the corner of 463 and Gluckstadt. I have driven by this site everyday for the past five years and, besides land clearing and installation of minimal, basic infrastructure, the project seems to be at a standstill. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Mr. Primos' plans (as approved by the MLHP Commission), but the fact, after 5 years, not a single brick has been laid, seems to be a fairly good indicator that there is no pressing need to loosen development restrictions or, heaven forbid, do away with the Commission, or abolish the existing restricions completely, to encourage or facilitate more development. Why, when current commercial development opportunities are at a standstill, would the BOS go to such great efforts to encourage more commericial development in the area?

Most important, consider the cost should the District be sold out for some perceived short term gain: the loss of what the BOS itself has described as an area "rich in beauty and historical significance" with "cultural, social, economic, political, archaeological and architectural identity" in need of protection, enhancement and care. If short term interests prevail and the District's protections are in any way diluted, this special area is sure to suffer and any damage which may result can never be "fixed."

Two final comments (for now): 1. why are Mr. Johnson and the Board spending time and taxpayer money on this issue when there are so many more important and critical issues that desparately need to be addressed. Why not focus on improving county roads, for example? 2. is it not ironic that the very body that recognized the special character and historic value of the area and created the MLHP District and Commission for the express purpose of protecting it now appears to be its biggest threat? In these difficult economic times, haven't people come to realize there are things far more important and valuable than profits or a tax base?

We have something very special in Madison County. To all of our Supervisors: please don't destroy it. If not for us, save it for our children.

Remember Old Agency,

John Robinson
131 Lake Mannsdale Drive
Madison County, Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Hello all

Did we actually witness that ludicrous public hearing Monday?

1. Some charges, we don't know what, were brought by somebody, we don't know who, against a volunteer group who serve without pay, whose task appears to be hazy even to the Board of Supervisors.

2. The people who supposedly complained to Mr. Johnson were not present and not named. They allegedly offered as a reason for their absence that they were "afraid". This would possibly indicate that they are aware that what they are proposing might not be correct or proper.

3. These apparitions never complained to the Supervisor in whose district the area lies, but instead obviously went seeking and found a more sympathetic ear, whose motive remains unclear.

4. We have no idea and were not told what these ghostly people were proposing to develop, build, construct, think about or dream about doing in this historic area.

Tell me what I'm missing.