An Atherton couple is taking the fight against the town's historic preservation ordinance online, with a Web site and petition asking that the regulations be rescinded.
On Wednesday, Jan. 16, the City Council plans to consider revisions to its historic artifacts ordinance.
Local developers Randy and Lisa Lamb lost a battle with the town to move a pair of large urns from the Lindenwood neighborhood to their new house in another part of Atherton, after a contingent of residents objected vociferously.
However, the Lambs won their subsequent lawsuit against the town. A San Mateo County Superior Court judge ruled that the Atherton City Council acted "capriciously" in denying the Lambs permission to move their urns. The court ordered the town to clarify its regulations regarding historic artifacts, and then revisit the Lambs' request to move the urns, which are currently located in the backyard of their former house in Lindenwood.
Atherton, unlike many other communities, doesn't have rules in place to protect historic buildings. However, in 2006, the City Council enacted preservation rules for historic artifacts <0x2014> the urns, streetlights, statues, and other remnants of the former Flood estate that dot the Lindenwood subdivision.
Under the ordinance, property owners need the town's permission to remove, demolish or alter historic artifacts.
The Lambs are asking Atherton residents to petition the council to do away with the ordinance entirely, and they have outlined their arguments on a new Web site, http://www.athertonpropertyrights.com .
Town staff's proposed changes to the ordinance include defining the boundaries of the "Lindenwood Historic Artifacts District," and clarifying that while property owners can petition to keep an artifact off the publicly available inventory list, the ordinance won't circumvent the town's ability to regulate the objects.
Information about the proposed amendments to the ordinance are on the town of Atherton's Web site at www.ci.atherton.ca.us. [To view the information, click here.
The City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is held in the council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.