This afternoon, The Pulse paid the $500 fee to appeal Mayor Ashton Hayward’s decision to issue a demolition permit for the historic John Sunday House.
The appeal — filed by former city planner and congressional candidate Elizabeth Schrey — highlights the way in which Hayward’s decision sidesteps the established process that routes these decisions through the city’s Architectural Review Board, where architects, preservationists, and other experts carefully review these requests. In a city with 450 years of history, due process and scrutiny is a must before we start knocking down 115-year-old houses.
The Pulse agreed to pay the fee because it’s in line with our mission to tell untold stories and highlight important issues. Whether you support or oppose the Sunday House’s demolition, we should all be able to agree that an end run around the established process is wrong. An issue of this magnitude deserves the debate and review that hearings before the Architectural Review Board and City Council provide.
Some will argue that news outlets shouldn’t take an advocacy role in issues like this. But as we said the day we launched, we’re the rebels in the Gulf Coast media space. We’re not interested in maintaining the status quo. We’re interested in what’s best for our community.
While the appeal should stay the demolition temporarily, it’s still important that you make your voice heard. If you haven’t already, please sign our petition to let Mayor Hayward and the city council know how important it is that we save the John Sunday House.
Those who support preserving this important home should mark June 15 on their calendars. That’s when the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment is set to meet next, and when they could consider the appeal challenging the demolition permit. In addition to signing the petition and calling the mayor’s office at (850) 435-1626, it’s important to show up at that meeting to let officials know that historic preservation is important in Pensacola.