The Mayor's got your back
Like preservation? Dislike developers? Hit up the Heights District meeting
Here's the deal, folks: Houston's got some weird rules.
One of these rules is the 90-day hold the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (HAHC) can put on both the demolition of a historic structure and the construction of a new, incompatible building in a historic district. If the HAHC refuses to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness (awesome name, no?) for demolition, it doesn't mean a whole lot. The developer only has to wait out the 90 days and can then demolish away.
The ordinance has served its purpose before — as with the last-minute save of Immanuel Lutheran — but it's weak at best.
Now the City has proposed new amendments to this ordinance, after Mayor Annise Parker formed a task force to review and improve its effectiveness. Most significant of the proposed changes is one that says that if the HAHC says a builder can't demolish a historic structure or build some monstrosity in a historic district, they can't. Finito That's the end of it.
Public meetings are being held to discuss the amendments and assess each historic district's (Houston has 13) support — including one Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at United Way for the Heights East, West and South historic districts. Also being discussed is a revised historic district designation process and more clear instruction on the use of new building materials.
Come out and fight for preservation. (Or come out and fight against it, but don't expect us to say hello). If you can't make it, call the city's historic preservation officer, Randy Pace, at 713-837-7796 or send an e-mail with your district and state your opinion. You could be a real champ and do all three.
See ya'll there!