Preservationists' Motives are Suspect

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011  |  Updated 2:30 PM PDT
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Preservationists' Motives are Suspect

Original photo via SF Citizen

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SF Weekly is looking askance at historically-minded citizens this week, asking, "what do preservationists stand to gain?"

Historic preservation has been the talk of the town lately, with battles on a variety of fronts. In the Castro, rainbow flags were nearly derailed by protectors of historic lampposts. In Golden Gate Park, preservationists opposed upgrades to a shack on the edge of an artificial pond. And in the Presidio, a new hotel project is drawing considerable opposition.

Among the preservationists' chief critic is new Supervisor Scott Wiener, who wants an investigation into how the city's Historic Preservation Commission can be altered. Wiener's objection is that the commission is preserving too many landmarks.

But the Weekly uncovered other problems as well. If the Commission deems your property "historic," then you'll have to hire a preservation consultant if you want to do anything with it. And guess who sits on the Commission? Preservation consultants.

So some of the Commissioners have a vested financial interest in declaring as many buildings historic as they can.

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