Landmarks update: voting process explained
Many of the questions surrounding the proposed landmarks status in Cooper-Young continue to revolve around the process required to achieve this status.
In order to attain landmarks status with the Memphis Landmarks Commission several steps have to be accomplished. Currently, several members of the neighborhood are hosting public meetings and receiving feedback on proposed guidelines in order to create a document that represents the values of the Cooper Young neighborhood. This continuing effort will eventually lead to an official meeting with Memphis Landmarks Commission and a subsequent vote. After the vote by the neighborhood the results will be presented to the Memphis City Council. If the neighborhood has fewer than 18% of votes in opposition the city council can pass the ordinance to create the newly formed Cooper-Young Landmarks District. The voting process has been the focus of much discussion.
For every property owned in the proposed district one option to vote will be considered. If you own three properties in the neighborhood you will receive a postcard with your option to vote in favor of or against the landmarks status three times. To satisfy the Memphis Landmarks Commission a simple majority of 51% percent is required. The city council, however, has set the requirement that a super majority of 82 percent of property owners must either be unopposed or in favor of the measure or it will not be approved.
Because of this requirement, the Memphis Landmarks Commission has instituted two voting methods. The first is that only votes cast must be considered. With this method, 82 percent participation is required at a minimum in order to even be possible to pass. As recent presidential elections have only had 55 percent participation, this is an impossible number to attain and so the Landmarks Commission also allows for an alternative vote consideration. In this scenario those choosing not to participate are considered to be unopposed and are counted with those in favor of the measure. There are 13 landmarks districts in Memphis, and all of them have been attained using the later method.