What's up with these signs?

You might have seen these signs around town. You've probably heard chatter disputing their accuracy, or questions about why opponents to the Historic Preservation Commission and draft ordinance would seemingly display "incorrect" information in an effort to stop this initiative.

Just as the Town of Zionsville can't decide who stops for a red light, it can't edit the state law it must enforce through an Ordinance for Historic Preservation. Indiana law dictates how a commission carries out the requirements of a Conservation District. That same law dictates that the Conservation District automatically becomes a more onerous Historic District after 3 years. And please pay attention: The draft ordinance collectively refers to both as “historic districts.”

If these signs and our letters to this point are so incorrect, why did they affect change? We've heard a lot about how we're "wrong," but - this is strange - at the 11th hour, an updated draft ordinance was published with mention of a sunset provision:

"An ordinance approving the establishment of a Conservation District and pursuant to Indiana Home Rule, may require any such Conservation District to sunset after three (3) years."

The word "may" is a permissive choice granted to a Commission to act or not. They may require any such Conservation District to sunset after three years.

MAY.

It is not guaranteed that an appointed Commission will do just this, because it is not required of them with this language. If a sunset was guaranteed, then that "may" would instead be a "shall."

But they can't avoid it with a "may." Passing this through means an appointed Commission would have all the power to decide whether to propose a sunset or not. That's not exactly strong delivery on a goal.

If a Commission does add a sunset to the ordinance to prevent its automatic transition to a Historic District, and if Town Council votes it through, we will have to repeat this fight every 3 years as a new ordinance will need to be approved. And we will fight it then, too, with these very same signs.

This body of legal language is complicated. That's why a group of Village residents - also attorneys - took the time to explain the very serious legal concerns with the potential of a Zionsville Historical Preservation Commission. Learn more >