City of Santa Fe Fights to Reject Obelisk Lawsuit | Local News
The City of Santa Fe and Mayor Alan Webber argued in a recent court case that the Union Protectíva de Santa Fé lawsuit for the restoration of the soldiers’ monument should be dismissed because it is based on an expired emergency order. from June of last year.
The motion, filed on September 10, argues that the mayor’s emergency order – which directed city staff to explore legal procedures to remove the controversial obelisk from the Plaza as the unrest unfolded in the city last summer – was allowed to expire, no longer has legal status and has since replaced with the city’s Culture, History, Art, Reconciliation and Truth process.
The motion also argues that the state’s preservation requirements for the area have not yet come into play as no recommendations for the site have been determined.
A lawsuit filed by Union Protectíva in June argues that the city and Webber violated state conservation laws by issuing the order during a summer of cultural unrest and seeks an injunction on any further action on the site as well. than a court order restoring the obelisk, which was destroyed by protesters last October.
The Plaza is a National Historic Landmark and the monument is listed on both the National and National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property to the Plaza.
The city’s CHART process should lead to a list of recommendations not only for the area the obelisk once occupied, but also for the statue of Don Diego de Vargas which stood in the nearby cathedral grounds until that it was withdrawn by the city last year.
The State Preservation of Prehistoric and Historic Sites Act requires a consultation process with the state’s historic preservation official before public funds are spent on programs that “use” a protected site. “Use” is defined in law as anything that results in an adverse effect, alteration or destruction of these sites.
The city has pushed back the lawsuits.
In July, the city filed a motion to dismiss the case, in which it called the trial “premature at best.” He argued that because no decision had been made for the site, the state law on the preservation of prehistoric and historic sites had not been violated.
In response, Union Protectíva filed a rebuttal, stating that although CHART did not lead to any recommendations, the mayor’s call for the obelisk to be removed before it was toppled last October should have triggered the act of preservation.
Kenneth Stalter, an attorney for Union Protectíva, said the city should have followed the law, while the city retorts the lawsuit is an attempt to undermine state preservation requirements.
In response to an August letter sent by Webber requesting clarification on any potential recommendations for the site, Jeff Pappas, the state’s historic preservation officer, wrote that state law and CHART’s goal do not necessarily match and a meeting between the state cultural affairs department and the city should happen to ensure that the city follows the requirements of the state.
A hearing on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit was scheduled for Dec. 8, according to court records.