Today, Houston City Council fulfilled Mayor Annise Parker’s pledge to kill the mostly worthless 90-day waiting period for demolitions and inappropriate physical changes to properties in Historic Districts. Previously, if an existing structure was designated a Landmark or Protected Landmark, then it could not be altered or demolished without a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Houston Archeological and Historic Commission – which makes recommendations to Houston City Council. However, if permission was not granted, then the changes could proceed following 90 days.
Also, new amendments to Houston’s 1995 Historic Preservation Ordinance (HPO) include tougher rules for creation of Historic Districts — now 67% of property owners within a proposed district must approve of the application. A Certificate of Appropriateness from the Houston Archeological and Historic Commission is still required before City Council will review.
Additionally, existing Historic Districts will be given the opportunity for “reconsideration” if at least 10 percent of property owners within the district petition for its repeal, and 51% of property owners are required to remove Historic District status. Old Sixth Ward Protected Historic District is exempt from this.
Stay tuned to see if any of Houston’s 16 Historic Districts get repealed.