Thanks to the recent press coverage in The Baltimore Sun and elsewhere, the issue of the Bel-Loc Diner has raised some important issues regarding historic preservation (“Preservation group launches petition to reuse, rather than demolish, Bel-Loc Diner,” June 27). Indeed, over the last few weeks, social media has been actively debating the merits of historic preservation, adaptive reuse and even the merits of planning, zoning and development.

One of the most contentious issues regarding the entire concept of historic preservation is the idea that those who wish to see something of architectural or cultural value saved or adapted to another use are attempting to somehow steal the property rights of the owner. This idea cannot be farther from the truth. Development of real estate must balance public need with private rights. Hence, we have offices of planning and zoning, and we have public commentary to try and achieve this balance. Historic preservation and its legal framework seek to assist property owners in keeping something that is inherently valuable as a viable property for generations to come. It has been said recently that societies are judged not by what we build but what we choose not to destroy. With the Bel-Loc, we have the opportunity to make something that is old, new again and keep its best attributes for the next generations to enjoy.

Read full article: Bel-Loc Diner preservation – Baltimore Sun