Jump to content

Historic Districts in Houston


Recommended Posts

Yes, I read the same article.

Regardless, preserving the human scale house in front - be it shotgun or bungalow - makes for a more attractive streetscape, and is certainly preferable to rows of gaping garage doors (cameltoes?).

The only thing uglier than a terribly done addition is a dilapidated house....the majority, and I do mean majority of new construction in the heights has been extremely nice. I dont particularly care for the homes with the garages as the defining front feature, but I will take those every day of the week over that house pictured in the post before this, with the awful camelback.

Most new construction has alley access, or they create it. If the city would back off their hatred of utilizing the existing alleys, we could start getting more attractive homes again. I've said it time and time again....if you preserve lot size, and stop subdividing lots, I think 85% of the people would be happy with what gets constructed. The 15% of the people (the noted minority) would be the ones who oppose all new construction period, and think we should keep things like they were in the 1920s for some reason.

The existing ordinance just goes way too far. The petitions got signed because people wanted to stop 2 homes from being built on one lot, ....it was the people who tried to get you to sign the petitions number one argument in favor of signing. The other scare factor used to get signatures was apartments and high density town homes. Few of which have been built without the ordinance.

Edit - My percentages were fabricated from the posterior of my anus, so don't ask for a source because none exists and none is currently available either.

Edited by Marksmu
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 1.5k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I was here before you "preservationists". It is because of people like me that you thought the Heights was worth moving to. If I were to tell you to go f yourself, would you find that offensive? Becau

This is not a bully and name calling situation so much as forcefully pointing out the callousness of your position. You and others claim that your position and this ordinance protects the character a

http://swamplot.com/houstons-historic-districts-will-remain-as-they-are/2011-01-04/ It is over. All districts surveyed failed to muster the 51% needed to opt out. Yes, I know. You all are going

Posted Images

The only thing uglier than a terribly done addition is a dilapidated house....the majority, and I do mean majority of new construction in the heights has been extremely nice. I dont particularly care for the homes with the garages as the defining front feature, but I will take those every day of the week over that house pictured in the post before this, with the awful camelback.

Most new construction has alley access, or they create it. If the city would back off their hatred of utilizing the existing alleys, we could start getting more attractive homes again. I've said it time and time again....if you preserve lot size, and stop subdividing lots, I think 85% of the people would be happy with what gets constructed. The 15% of the people (the noted minority) would be the ones who oppose all new construction period, and think we should keep things like they were in the 1920s for some reason.

The existing ordinance just goes way too far. The petitions got signed because people wanted to stop 2 homes from being built on one lot, ....it was the people who tried to get you to sign the petitions number one argument in favor of signing. The other scare factor used to get signatures was apartments and high density town homes. Few of which have been built without the ordinance.

Edit - My percentages were fabricated from the posterior of my anus, so don't ask for a source because none exists and none is currently available either.

+1

What's so galling is that there is already a mechanism to do exactly this. You can petition the city for minimum lot size and minimum building line restrictions on a block by block basis, and all you need is 51% of your neighbors' consent. Something like 160 MLS applications have already been approved.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing uglier than a terribly done addition is a dilapidated house....the majority, and I do mean majority of new construction in the heights has been extremely nice. I dont particularly care for the homes with the garages as the defining front feature, but I will take those every day of the week over that house pictured in the post before this, with the awful camelback.

Most new construction has alley access, or they create it. If the city would back off their hatred of utilizing the existing alleys, we could start getting more attractive homes again. I've said it time and time again....if you preserve lot size, and stop subdividing lots, I think 85% of the people would be happy with what gets constructed. The 15% of the people (the noted minority) would be the ones who oppose all new construction period, and think we should keep things like they were in the 1920s for some reason.

The existing ordinance just goes way too far. The petitions got signed because people wanted to stop 2 homes from being built on one lot, ....it was the people who tried to get you to sign the petitions number one argument in favor of signing. The other scare factor used to get signatures was apartments and high density town homes. Few of which have been built without the ordinance.

Edit - My percentages were fabricated from the posterior of my anus, so don't ask for a source because none exists and none is currently available either.

You make some very reasonable points.

I agree that the example of a New Orleans with the camelback addition in a previous post is unattractive - I believe that was the poster's intention. I've also seen some camelback adaptations which are unobtrusive and sympathetic to the existing structure; forgive me, I don't have a digital camera, or I'd post examples. My hope is that the ordinance would lead to more of the latter and fewer of the former. They should not be tarred with the same brush.

I was unaware that the city has obstructed efforts to re-open the alleys. The homeowners who have appropriated alleys for their own private use have not a leg to stand on. We agree.

For at least 20 years I've heard people express concern that the Heights would "become another Montrose", where once attractive, tree-lined streets now more closely resemble a self-storage facility. A street lined with garage doors just ain't attractive. That this form of development isn't as widespread in the Heights is fortunate, and I hope that it can be curtailed.

Frankly, I haven't made up my mind about the ordinance. I'd like to see some protection; the proposed restrictions may, indeed, go too far. I just believe that some of the more belligerent opponents' opinions expressed in this forum should be challenged. This post of yours is much more persuasive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The City has not obstructed the reopening of alleys. In fact, the City jealously guards its right of way. However, to protect itself from substandard rehab of the alleys by homeowners, the City requires repaving to approach the level of an actual street. Some have interpereted this requirement to be obstructionism. It is not. It is simply the City setting standards higher than the level some homeowners wish to use.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Some have interpereted this requirement to be obstructionism. It is not. It is simply the City setting standards higher than the level some homeowners wish to use.

Much like the historic ordinance, eh? :D

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

For at least 20 years I've heard people express concern that the Heights would "become another Montrose", where once attractive, tree-lined streets now more closely resemble a self-storage facility. A street lined with garage doors just ain't attractive. That this form of development isn't as widespread in the Heights is fortunate, and I hope that it can be curtailed.

Frankly, I haven't made up my mind about the ordinance. I'd like to see some protection; the proposed restrictions may, indeed, go too far. I just believe that some of the more belligerent opponents' opinions expressed in this forum should be challenged. This post of yours is much more persuasive.

The fact that the Heights has not become overrun with unconstrained overdevelopment speaks for itself. The neighborhood has certainly evolved, but it has not changed its basic historic character and new development is sympathetic to that character. Sure, there are exceptions, but most of the these have also enhanced the neighborhood. I know you disagree, but I mention again the modern Victorian on Harvard that my neighbors appreciate despite a lack of historical conformity. In fact one can argue that the new modern home is more historic than what was torn down; being that it represents uniqueness in art and creativity.

Because of economics, cheap land is what the developer wants and cheap land is scarce in the Heights. The only candidates are properties with homes that need to be torn down and replaced. A typical Heights bungalow home on a 50x132 lot costs upward of $300,000, unless the home is so unlivable that it detracts from the property value. Consequently, most new development and virtually all cheap development has been bypassing the Heights. The cost of land is much too high compared to other areas, such as North of I-10 and West of TC Jester. There's lots of new construction there, including higher density stuff. Simply put, property values are high enough to prevent the rampant development that is so feared by the proponents of the new ordinance. Property values have been high for a while and that's why the neighborhood has not lost its character over the 100 years of its existence.

We simply don't need this new law. The neighborhood speaks for itself and defends itself by attracting neighbors that cherish the existing character and who can afford to remodel their older home to enhance and preserve it.

I think the ordinance we have now is about right. The 90 day cooling off period does influence people to consider alternatives, and it's enough penalty to achieve real effect. The HAHC might actually have a better idea of designs that work and the current law provides those perspectives to the remodeling/rebuilding homeowners to consider. The best outcome of all this would be for city council to simply vote down the change to the existing ordinance and let us go back to where we were before Memorial Day.

This battle has already hurt us too much by pitting neighbor against neighbor, sign against sign. I want my neighborhood back.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

What's so galling is that there is already a mechanism to do exactly this. You can petition the city for minimum lot size and minimum building line restrictions on a block by block basis, and all you need is 51% of your neighbors' consent. Something like 160 MLS applications have already been approved.

This was done on my street on 15 1/2 & Dian in Shady Acres Annex. Feel free to come in and buy and bulldoze a home, just don't think you can put more than one home on a lot. If I had the cash I'd bulldoze my house and start over.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I came across an interesting presentation the other day about historical preservation in Europe and the USA.

The idea was essentially that b/c of the way the preservation works, a brand new building or even a building not even built yet can be considered for historic preservation. They took the flipside approach and declared that there needed to be an ordinance for the destruction (not preservation) of junk (not historical buildings). This may be what Houston really needs instead of preservation.

See image below:

tour08b.jpg

tour09b.jpg

Pt. 1

Pt. 2

Pt. 3

Edited by LegacyTree
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
To: Houston City Council

Subject: Historic Preservation Ordinance

Date: 9/15/10

Please find attached the final draft of the proposed amendments to the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance

and a specified process for transitioning the existing historic districts to the stronger protections offered by the

proposed amendments. As currently proposed, the transition process will begin two weeks after City Council

passage of the amended ordinance. There is a clear mechanism for each historic district to request

reconsideration of its status.

I appreciate the engagement of City Council and other stakeholders. The new draft incorporates the concerns I

heard from you, as well as the many suggestions offered at the series of town hall meetings during the last two

months. It is a good compromise that reflects the needs of the preservation community while still protecting

private property rights.

There will be time for additional public comment as the document is discussed and shared with various groups

over the next three weeks. The schedule moving forward will be as follows:

September 20, 2010 – Consideration by City Council’s Development and Regulatory Affairs Committee

September 23, 2010 – Public hearing before the Houston Planning Commission

October 6, 2010 – Consideration by the full City Council

Achieving real historic preservation for Houston has been a priority of mine for more than a decade. I want to

personally thank CM Lovell for her leadership in moving this priority closer to reality. Her negotiation and

consensus building skills are the reason we are at this point.

I look forward to your vote in support of the ordinance in October. In the meantime, if you have questions or

need additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Annise Parker

Mayor

HPOordinance.pdf

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read the new proposed ordinance and despite the cover letter language from Anise Parker, there are no provisions for removing a historic district from historic district status in the future. However there is a temporary provision for the current "Transition."

The proposed "Transition Provisions" allow for reconsiderations that require formal requests including 25% tract owner signatures within 15 days after passage of the new ordinance. Two weeks? Ten business days? This is certainly disingenuous. The formal request must be given to the Director of the Panning and Development Department who must mail out a first class letter to all property owners notifying them of a public meeting and that includes a card for yes or no support to historic district designation. Apparently the Director can do what he wants with the vote. He just has to "consider" the current level of support in making a recommendation to city council. In other words, there is no threshold of support that must be exceeded - nothing about 50%, 60% or 67%. The Director may recommend no action, repeal of historic district, or change of the HD boundary.

The new ordinance is essentially the same as the previous one except for specific exemptions of landscaping, paint, fences, and light fixtures from application for certificates of appropriateness. The term "roof" is also included as an exemption, but in other parts of the ordinance there are specific roof limitations and requirements to be considered in granting of CA's. So, that's unclear. If your home is "non-contributing" and it's destroyed by a "natural disaster", (whatever that means) you can reconstruct it like it was. Is arson a natural disaster? Is an accidental fire a natural disaster?

Pretty much all the rest is the same. You can't alter the original structure of your home; you can't add on unless you construct a camelback, you can't do anything to change the front exterior. To do anything to an old bungalow you're going to need a certificate of appropriateness from the HAHC. Have fun with the red tape. It appears that you cannot add-on by replacing the back of your home unless you include the old exterior inside the addition - "proposed additions or alterations must be done in a manner that, if removed in the future, would leave unimpaired the essential form and integrity of the building."

"New materials to be used for any exterior feature...must be visually compatible with, but not necessarily the same as, the materials being replaced in form, design, texture, dimension and scale" Notable is that the language does not say you have your choice - "but not necessarily the same as" means that it might be required to be the same. It's up to the HAHC. So far the HAHC has denied the use of aluminum frame insulated windows and hardiplank. There is no provision in the new ordinance that relief must be granted for these materials. I guess you'll have to scavenge for old windows if they need to be replaced.

Basically, all contributing structures will be museum pieces that you cannot remodel the way it's been done so successfully in the Heights up to now. Your home will be straitjacketed. Isn't that wonderful?

Edited by OutfieldDan
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Arguably, the worst language in the new ordinance is on the bottom of p.13 where applications for historic district status immediately invoke historic district rules until the application is declared a failure by the director of the HAHC.

To declare a failure, the full procedure must occur including:

1. Notice of public meeting to property owners within 15 days

2. Notice of public meeting in newspaper

3. Public meeting no sooner than 30 days thereafter

4. Cards mailed to property owners to vote yes or no after the public hearing

5. Thirty days required for receiving cards from property owners

6. HAHC decides to either modify the boundary to achieve 60% within or declares failure of the application.

Therefore, the earliest the application can be declared a failure is approximately 90 days; probably it will 180 days given the HAHC meeting schedule, etc.

A year later it's permitted to do this again.

The bottom line is that if you live in a neighborhood in Houston with at least 10% activist preservationists, they can invoke historic district rules on you every year and you will be under those rules for approximately 6 months until the application is declared a failure one way or another.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The bottom line is that if you live in a neighborhood in Houston with at least 10% activist preservationists, they can invoke historic district rules on you every year and you will be under those rules for approximately 6 months until the application is declared a failure one way or another.

Yet, there is only one opportunity to reject or rescind Historic District status, and that requires 25% of residents to petition within 15 days of passage by City Council. It only takes 10% of my neighbors to restrict my rights...and they have unlimited time to do so...but it takes 25% of neighbors and only one 15 day period to get them back.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read the new proposed ordinance and despite the cover letter language from Anise Parker, there are no provisions for removing a historic district from historic district status in the future. However there is a temporary provision for the current "Transition."

The proposed "Transition Provisions" allow for reconsiderations that require formal requests including 25% tract owner signatures within 15 days after passage of the new ordinance. Two weeks? Ten business days? This is certainly disingenuous. The formal request must be given to the Director of the Panning and Development Department who must mail out a first class letter to all property owners notifying them of a public meeting and that includes a card for yes or no support to historic district designation. Apparently the Director can do what he wants with the vote. He just has to "consider" the current level of support in making a recommendation to city council. In other words, there is no threshold of support that must be exceeded - nothing about 50%, 60% or 67%. The Director may recommend no action, repeal of historic district, or change of the HD boundary.

So, to be clear, they are not mailing out cards for a re-vote (I'm in Heights West), unless we gather 25% of the owners' signatures requesting a re-vote? If so, they just lied to our faces at all of those meetings, especially the last one where we all "voted" to have a re-vote. To say I'm p_ssed off if such an understatement. And we've already done all of our remodel work! Friggin' politicians. They ALL need to go. Vote them all out and let them go find real jobs with accountability. So ticked off.....

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I read it but it was late and I was dozing off - does it say whether the designation of contributing vs non-contributing is something that is done as a district is getting historical-ized, or does it only get deemed one or the other if a matter is put before the HAHC? My place is clearly non-contributing, but I'm certain that applies to the existing structures only and not if I decide to do a new structure.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad days indeed ahead as we watch with seemingly little recourse political wheels steamrolling ahead. The Heights stands to lose many homeowners with vested interests that have brought the Heights from its intrepid depths that it reached at its low ebb. Stagnant property values and slow redevelopment certainly lie ahead. I will be looking to take my own investments in Houston elsewhere when the Heights South becomes officially Historic. We are good people who simply dont share a common opinion regarding government involvement with my personal property.I'm certain that my investments will be welcomed elsewhere - Good riddance Heights, Good riddance Houston.... it was a pleasure knowing you.....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sad days indeed ahead as we watch with seemingly little recourse political wheels steamrolling ahead. The Heights stands to lose many homeowners with vested interests that have brought the Heights from its intrepid depths that it reached at its low ebb. Stagnant property values and slow redevelopment certainly lie ahead. I will be looking to take my own investments in Houston elsewhere when the Heights South becomes officially Historic. We are good people who simply dont share a common opinion regarding government involvement with my personal property.I'm certain that my investments will be welcomed elsewhere - Good riddance Heights, Good riddance Houston.... it was a pleasure knowing you.....

It's not a done deal yet. For one, more than 20% percent of the tract owners who initially signed on 4 years ago have rescinded their approval, making the current percentage of supporters around 40%. City Council may not even pass this thing. If they do, we have 15 days to get 191 signatures to force a re-vote. Is that BS? Yes. Is it a blatant attempt to subvert the will of the neighborhood? Of course. Is it possible to garner 191 signatures in 15 days? Absolutely. There are 42 blocks in the proposed district.As few as 10 people could canvas one block per day in 4 days. Hell, there may be more than 190 opposition signs in South Heights yards right now!

I've already committed, along with 3 neighbors, to collect signatures. It can be done. I won't give these people control of my house without a fight. They've already shown themselves to be misleading, deceitful, and outright liars. It does not bode well for the treatment we will receive once under their thumbs.

Edited by RedScare
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not a done deal yet. For one, more than 20% percent of the tract owners who initially signed on 4 years ago have rescinded their approval, making the current percentage of supporters around 40%. City Council may not even pass this thing. If they do, we have 15 days to get 191 signatures to force a re-vote. Is that BS? Yes. Is it a blatant attempt to subvert the will of the neighborhood? Of course. Is it possible to garner 191 signatures in 15 days? Absolutely. There are 42 blocks in the proposed district.As few as 10 people could canvas one block per day in 4 days. Hell, there may be more than 190 opposition signs in South Heights yards right now!

I've already committed, along with 3 neighbors, to collect signatures. It can be done. I won't give these people control of my house without a fight. They've already shown themselves to be misleading, deceitful, and outright liars. It does not bode well for the treatment we will receive once under their thumbs.

Do you think it too early to begin the signature collection process? We could learn where we stand and get a jump on the 15 day BS.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think it too early to begin the signature collection process? We could learn where we stand and get a jump on the 15 day BS.

Perhaps not. An education campaign could begin early, with a list of willing signers made. That way, when the time comes, we'd know which houses to go to and which to avoid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Article on the new ordinance. This is not how I read the thing, but if it requires South Heights (and others with only tepid support for a more restrictive ordinance) to re-vote, then I might could live with it. I do not relish having to walk the neighborhood in order to be left alone, but if it keeps the City from becoming my interior designer, I'll do it.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7206511.html

Looking at the Transition Ordinance, I don't think the Chronicle article is entirely correct. The pending districts are specifically mentioned, and have 15 days to appeal.

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/HistoricPres/docs_pdfs/HPO_TransitionDraft.pdf

See bottom of page 2.

Edited by RedScare
Link to post
Share on other sites

Article on the new ordinance. This is not how I read the thing, but if it requires South Heights (and others with only tepid support for a more restrictive ordinance) to re-vote, then I might could live with it. I do not relish having to walk the neighborhood in order to be left alone, but if it keeps the City from becoming my interior designer, I'll do it.

http://www.chron.com...an/7206511.html

Looking at the Transition Ordinance, I don't think the Chronicle article is entirely correct. The pending districts are specifically mentioned, and have 15 days to appeal.

http://www.houstontx...sitionDraft.pdf

See bottom of page 2.

The Chronicle article is misinformation. Here is the pertinent language and the burden is on the neighborhood to officially request redesignation:

"The owners of property in an historic district previously designated by the City Council who desire the City Council to repeal the designation may submit a request for reconsideration of the designation of the district. The request must be submitted in writing...not later than 15 days following the date of the passage and approval of this Ordinance. The request must be signed by the owners of at least 25 percent of the tracts within the historic district or proposed historic district."

Edited by OutfieldDan
Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps not. An education campaign could begin early, with a list of willing signers made. That way, when the time comes, we'd know which houses to go to and which to avoid.

In a communication I had this morning with the folks at http://www.responsiblehistoricpreservation.org/ they met yesterday as a small group to do determine a path forward to collect additional signatures on the proper paperwork that the city will require. They think that early next week they will have that paperwork and hopefully can disseminate information regarding a sign up process.

Are there any business owners out there who would act as sign up location without fear of alienating clients who think differently? Would the neutral Heights Association allow use of Marmion Park as a sign up location that could be marketed for a specific time/date? 15 days wont be a lot of time

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chronicle article is misinformation. Here is the pertinent language and the burden is on the neighborhood to officially request redesignation:

"The owners of property in an historic district previously designated by the City Council who desire the City Council to repeal the designation may submit a request for reconsideration of the designation of the district. The request must be submitted in writing...not later than 15 days following the date of the passage and approval of this Ordinance. The request must be signed by the owners of at least 25 percent of the tracts within the historic district or proposed historic district."

Agreed. The section containing the 15 day provision is specific to the 3 pending historic districts, including South Heights. I have sent an email to CM Gonzalez asking that he push for a longer...and preferably permanent...opt-out provision, but I am not hopeful. He appears to be attempting to curry favor with the small number of preservationists pushing for government control of our homes. Still, reminding him of the 60% opposition can't hurt.

Regardless what the time limit is, I believe that we can blanket the neighborhood quickly. The overwhelming number of anti-ordinance signs in South Heights suggests that we will be well received.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. The section containing the 15 day provision is specific to the 3 pending historic districts, including South Heights. I have sent an email to CM Gonzalez asking that he push for a longer...and preferably permanent...opt-out provision, but I am not hopeful. He appears to be attempting to curry favor with the small number of preservationists pushing for government control of our homes. Still, reminding him of the 60% opposition can't hurt.

Regardless what the time limit is, I believe that we can blanket the neighborhood quickly. The overwhelming number of anti-ordinance signs in South Heights suggests that we will be well received.

What's worse is the language (see p.13 at bottom) that an application for a historic district can be made with only 10% of lot owner signatures, and poof! the applied for district is immediately and completely restricted as if it were already approved. It will take about 6 months for the process to occur that may return the neighborhood to normal. This can be repeated a year later!

Do I believe that this will happen? Yes, absolutely. I currently do not live in a historic district, but I’m very close and there is an active minority that wants my neighborhood to be one. It’s almost a certainty that they will apply for historic district status if this new ordinance is passed by city council.

Edited by OutfieldDan
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a recording of Sue Lovell at the Heights meeting where she SPECIFICALLY says that the Heights WILL have a re-survey.

Quote, after the hand vote, (time stamp 1:34:45 on my recording) "Pretty much as we thought, we will be doing a re-survey in the Heights. We will be sending you your ballots and we will be getting the correct information to you." Nothing ambiguuous about that statement to me.

We need to get that out. Nothing is better than her lying to us in her own words. If anyone wants the recording of that meeting I'm happy to send it to you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a recording of Sue Lovell at the Heights meeting where she SPECIFICALLY says that the Heights WILL have a re-survey.

Quote, after the hand vote, (time stamp 1:34:45 on my recording) "Pretty much as we thought, we will be doing a re-survey in the Heights. We will be sending you your ballots and we will be getting the correct information to you." Nothing ambiguuous about that statement to me.

We need to get that out. Nothing is better than her lying to us in her own words. If anyone wants the recording of that meeting I'm happy to send it to you.

I recorded the same thing but unfortunately, I deleted mine off of my phone. I say you call the Chronicle and the news stations, and email the mayor and council members (and specifically CM Gonzalez). I agree that this is absolute BS. And in the end, if they stick to this draft, I would be willing to sacrifice a day to at least hit the houses with the "blue signs" for signatures for the 25% limit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. The section containing the 15 day provision is specific to the 3 pending historic districts, including South Heights. I have sent an email to CM Gonzalez asking that he push for a longer...and preferably permanent...opt-out provision, but I am not hopeful. He appears to be attempting to curry favor with the small number of preservationists pushing for government control of our homes. Still, reminding him of the 60% opposition can't hurt.

Regardless what the time limit is, I believe that we can blanket the neighborhood quickly. The overwhelming number of anti-ordinance signs in South Heights suggests that we will be well received.

If help is needed in getting out and getting signatures, I am volunteering my time. Send a message to me on HAIF and I will go garner signatures. This whole ordeal is a joke.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We need to start getting signatures now for the Heights districts to force a re-vote. I personally doubt the ordinance will pass with the current 15 day BS and/or the lack of a threshold for returned cards but we need to start preparing just in case. It is my understanding that ResponsibleHistoricPreservation.org will have the needed petition forms very soon. A meeting hosted by the same group is tentatively scheduled for September 30th at 6:30 PM at the United Way on Waugh to get signatures to enable the re-vote, and to discuss further ordinance changes.

The Mayor and Lovell have made some good changes to the ordinance, but many feel it is still very restrictive for new construction and renovations. We need to be prepared to opt-out if they prove unwilling to compromise further.

Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI...

The Chronicle printed a correction in regards to the article mentioned above....

"A story on Page B1 Saturday incorrectly characterized how existing historic districts will be affected by the changes to the city’s historic preservation ordinance. The districts will keep their historic designation unless 25 percent of property owners within the boundaries petition the city for reconsideration"

Link to post
Share on other sites

I sent an email to Councilman Gonzalez as well as the Historic Preservation Planning and Development group (see email address below), to explain that the people have already spoken up that they would like a re-vote and that we shouldn't have to gather signatures in order to "earn" the ability to re-vote. Can't hurt to have a few hundred similar emails sent to them with this same point. Let us vote. If the majority wants it, then I guess I will have to live with it. My guess is that it wouldn't pass a re-vote however.

Notice of Public Hearing

The City of Houston Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance (Chapter 33), Thursday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the George Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de Las Americas, General Assembly Room on the 3rd Floor.

For a map and directions to the George R. Brown, please go to www.houstonconventionctr.com/Home/MapsParking.aspx.

Some street parking may be available or attendees can park in the Hilton/George R. Brown parking garage located on Polk Street subject to availability. Attendees can submit their parking stub for validation (from that garage only).

Speakers will be allowed one minute to make their comments at the public hearing.

To view the proposed amendments and other information about the process, please to the following web page: www.houstontx.gov/planning/HistoricPres/hist_pres_amend.html.

If you cannot attend the meetings, but would like to comment please email historicpreservation@houstontx.gov or mail your comments to Historic Preservation, City of Houston, Planning and Development Department, P.O. Box 1562, Houston, Texas 77251-1562 by September 22, 2010.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I sent the recording to Swamplot, the Chronicle, and Council Members Lovell and Gonzalez. I asked Councilmember Lovell to clairify that the Heights would get a re-vote regardless of the new guidlines since she promised it at a public meeting in front of about 800 people. If anyone reacts I'll let you know.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's troubling that so much misinformation has been distributed about the revised ordinance. Yesterday we received our copy of the Leader and it has a cover page article with the same false report that historic districts will all be required to re-vote for their historic designation. Bill Baldwin is quoted as favoring the new ordinance. I'm not a conspiracy freak, but the misleading articles in the Chronicle and the Leader might have been created to purposefully diminish the neighborhood's reaction to the ordinance.

There is a public meeting tonight where everyone can have one minute to speak. I predict that plenty of the historic activists will be there just like the last one. I fear that the misleading articles in the Chronicle and the Leader might serve to reduce my neighbors to participate and thereby reduce the voice of reason and dissent about the detriments of the new ordinance.

If you care about your neighborhood and want your freedoms preserved about how you can remodel your home, I suggest you plan to attend the meeting tonight and plan to speak. It's our last chance for public comments. All Houston neighborhoods are affected because of the new language in the ordinance that provides for immediate historic designation when an application is made with only 10% homeowner signatures. It will take at least six months for the process to occur to return the neighborhood to normal and those same 10% activists can do it again one year later. This will happen.

If you live in a newer home and think that it's not important to you personally, think again. Your neighborhood will stagnate and decay if the new ordinance becomes law. Please be there tonight and speak up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what they're planning to do. The key is that the neighborhood has to petition to OPT OUT.

  1. Heights South scrambles for 25% signatures for reconsideration in 15 days - success!
  2. Cards are mailed out to all owners of record in Heights South
  3. Most cards are returned - perhaps 60% vote for removing historic district status
  4. OOOPS! Guess what! The 60% voting to opt out are less than 50% of all recorded owners
  5. The recommendation to City Council is to leave the neighborhood status unchanged because less than half of the neighborhood voted to get out

There is no language in the new ordinance or the Transition Provisions about how the Director of the Planning and Development Department must interpret the vote.

Heights South - Welcome to Historic District Status!

Link to post
Share on other sites

And the preservationists wonder why heretofore old house lovers have been turned into hardcore anti-preservationists seemingly overnight. The level of animosity I now harbor toward preservationists can hardly be described. Any elected official who goes along with a plan like that should be prepared to spend a lot of money on his or her next campaign, because as long as these people hold control over my property, I intend to make their political lives hell...as well as short.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I sent a email last week to City Council Members about the ordinance. I got this email back from CM Lovell (both emails are below). Needless to say, they are ticking me off. I sent a reply, again requesting a re-vote, since that is what we were promised and what we all "voted" on at the last town hall meeting. Just thought some might want to read it. Please email them yourselves and tell them what you think.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Ms. Lovell's response]

Dear XXXXX,

We are keeping our word. We have put in place a process that will allow property owners to reconsider their decision.

Currently in the ordinance a vote of 25 percent of property owners (this number could go higher or lower, depending on the vote of City Council) in a historic district can request an opportunity to reconsider their decision.

We kept our promise to the property owners that they would have the opportunity to reconsider, and this is the process that we have recommended. In order to be fair to everyone, there must be a uniform process put in place.

When the preservation ordinance is passed by City Council, the passage will automatically trigger this procedure.

Thank you for contacting my office and for caring about your neighborhood and your city.

Best regards,

Council Member Lovell

At-large, Position 2

From: Sent: Friday, September 17, 2010 11:24 AM

To: COH - Mayor; Gafrick, Marlene - PD; CNL District H; CNL District A; CNL District B; CNL District C; CNL District D; CNL District E; CNL District F; CNL District G; CNL District I; CNL At Large 1; CNL At Large 2; CNL At Large 3; CNL At Large 4; CNL At Large 5

Subject: Historic District Ordinances

Mayor Parker and Houston City Council Members,

I am writing regarding the proposed amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance which was recently posted. I live in the Heights West District.

If what I’m reading is correct, I believe we were misled on what we should have expected when we attended the public meetings over the past several weeks. During the last meeting for the Heights districts, CM Lovell took a vote of those in attendance to determine if we, the citizens of the city and district, wanted a re-vote and overwhelmingly, all three districts voted “yes”. I was in attendance and heard Ms. Lovell speak very clearly that cards would be mailed out once the new ordinance was finalized and posted.

However, based on my reading, it appears that we would have to collect signatures constituting 25% of the tract owners within the district requesting this re-vote (which was already promised to us), and it must be done within 15 days. If I am misreading this, I apologize and look forward to hearing the explanation.

If this is the correct procedures that you’ve created, I feel you have deliberately misled your constituents, and forced your own beliefs upon the citizens who voted you into office. This is not a minor change and affects the property values on what is our largest investment. During the last Heights meeting, you provided the opportunity for the peoples’ voices to be heard and you are now changing what you said. Let the people vote. You promised us that option, we voted on having that option, and we deserve that opportunity, and without having to gather any signatures.

If anyone would like to contact me, please feel free to contact me directly at 713.xxx.xxxx.

Sincerely,

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is short notice but it's I got as well.

There is a meeting Thursday September 30th at 6:30 PM at Anderson Properties, 741 E 11th.

Members of the neighborhood are going to discuss how to amend the proposed ordinance, sign re-vote petitions, and get organized.

We only have another week to lobby City Council Members for changes to the current draft.

Please show up if you care to affect this issue!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the identical email from Ms. Lovell. I cannot think of a nice word for it, so I'll simply have to say she lied to us. She has not kept her word. She apparently does not realize how much effort we will expend to right this wrong, including voting her out of office. My email reminded her that the overwhelming majority of voters is opposed to this ordinance. We may have to prove it to her at election time.

In the meantime, I plan to show up tomorrow night, though I may be late. I look forward to meeting my neighbors who oppose this draconian and expensive restriction of our rights to maintain our homes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the identical email from Ms. Lovell. I cannot think of a nice word for it, so I'll simply have to say she lied to us. She has not kept her word. She apparently does not realize how much effort we will expend to right this wrong, including voting her out of office. My email reminded her that the overwhelming majority of voters is opposed to this ordinance. We may have to prove it to her at election time.

In the meantime, I plan to show up tomorrow night, though I may be late. I look forward to meeting my neighbors who oppose this draconian and expensive restriction of our rights to maintain our homes.

Unfortunately, I think I recall Lovell saying (at the Heights Town Hall meeting) that either she isn't running or is term limited and can't run for re-election again. So she is a perfect candidate to head up this cram-down ordinance. She has NOTHING to lose.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, I think I recall Lovell saying (at the Heights Town Hall meeting) that either she isn't running or is term limited and can't run for re-election again. So she is a perfect candidate to head up this cram-down ordinance. She has NOTHING to lose.

That's the kicker! But we CAN vote against anyone she endorses. This has become quite a drama of dirty politics - who needs the movies when we have this engaging battle? We WILL get the 25% votes and we WILL fight the each step of the way. I made a plea to the Houston Press to come to the GRB since they write opinion pieces but I don't know if they were in the audience or not. I spoke to Rich Connolly. I think if they dug through these posts they would have a great report. I'm picturing the nasty illustration on the front cover right now...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the identical email from Ms. Lovell. I cannot think of a nice word for it, so I'll simply have to say she lied to us. She has not kept her word. She apparently does not realize how much effort we will expend to right this wrong, including voting her out of office. My email reminded her that the overwhelming majority of voters is opposed to this ordinance. We may have to prove it to her at election time.

In the meantime, I plan to show up tomorrow night, though I may be late. I look forward to meeting my neighbors who oppose this draconian and expensive restriction of our rights to maintain our homes.

I'll be there tonight. I'm itching to get to work! :angry2:

Link to post
Share on other sites

For those of you who don't know, here is a reminder about the city council vote this week:

The proposed amendments to the historic preservation ordinance are on next week's city council agenda. If you want to be heard, you can show up for Tuesday's public council session. You can sign up to speak for 1, 2, or 3 minutes. The meeting begins at 2 p.m. To reserve a spot on the speaker's list call the City Secretary at 832-393-1100 on Monday.

If you cannot attend, please email all council members and tell them your position.

districta@houstontx.gov; districtb@houstontx.gov; districtc@houstontx.gov; districtd@houstontx.gov; districte@houstontx.gov; districtf@houstontx.gov; districtg@houstontx.gov; districth@houstontx.gov; districti@houstontx.gov; atlarge1@houstontx.gov; atlarge2@houstontx.gov; atlarge3@houstontx.gov; atlarge4@houstontx.gov; atlarge5@houstontx.gov; historicpreservation@houstontx.gov

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just another endorsement:

Please attend the Council meeting on Tuesday October 5th (see Poyea's entry).

We want a HUGE presence - this is making a positive impact on council members in attendance. BRING OTHERS YOU KNOW WHO CARE ABOUT THIS ISSUE!

Important*** If you want to speak you MUST call BEFORE 11:00 am on October 5th to reserve a right to speak.

If anyone from the City Government contacts you after you have scheduled, ASK FOR THEIR NAME. Council members and their staff have called people who are going to speak to "inquire" about their views in the name of "grouping" opinions before the meeting (more BS). If they ask what your position is simply say that you are undecided and that you prefer to give your feedback AT the meeting.

If you hate public speaking you can still make an impact keeping it short with a simple "I don't support this" statement.

I've heard a lot of encouraging information and if we remain organized and driven we will get whatever percentage of votes/signatures/retractions/whatever that this BS Council tries to impose.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Heights needs homes like these about as much as the Heights needs a Walmart.

The problem with your comment and the Chronicle's Sunday editorial is that both of you deny that the Heights homes that were built in the 1920's are obsolete. They're too small, they're built with obsolete materials, they have obsolete designs, and they have obsolete energy efficiency. The list goes on and on. Forcing my neighborhood to not evolve is stupid. It's like forcing motorists to drive 1950's autos, forcing them to replace tires with obsolete bias ply designs, and forcing the use of leaded gas. All this so some arrogant snobs can have their pleasure to stop progress, and live in their personal definition of utopia.

All the remodels before historic district rules were forced upon us used modern materials such as Hardiplank, new energy efficient windows, and modern designs including some very nice second stories. All new construction has been creative and replaced the worst old homes. New construction and freely administered remodeling brought the Heights out of the gutter. After "no means no", the HAHC routinely denies use of modern materials, the HAHC denies demolition permits for even the most dilapidated cases, the HAHC absolutely denies widening your home, the HAHC absolutely denies adding a second story in the front, and the HAHC makes everyone seek their permission to do any structural modification to the outside of the home at all - including minor structure changes despite the misinformation published by the Chronicle.

Since the Heights has been around for 100 years and has preserved its historical character on its own, it's a very safe bet that the Heights will preserve its historical character over the next 100 years on its own. More remodeling will happen that is necessary, and that remodeling will continue to be in the character of the Heights, just like it has been in the past decades. Government permission for normal structure and building decisions has not been necessary before and it's not necessary now.

If anyone cares, I live in the Heights, I'm not a builder, and I have no business relationship with any builder, realtor or home designer. I'm a Houston citizen who has lived in Metro Houston for 25 years and I moved into the Heights because I appreciate the diversity of my neighbors and all the homes - both old and new. If my neighborhood had been under government control, I would not have in the least considered moving here. I'm sorry that you're so against new two story new homes being constructed. I happen to own one of those and I resent your prejudice. It's jerks like you that are ruining the neighborhood, not my new construction.

BTW, you may have noticed that I've been persistent in this thread and elsewhere. I'm not going away. I had a sign in my front yard for Annise Parker last year. I will not vote for her again unless she starts supporting my freedoms instead of taking them away for the "greater good."

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Heights needs homes like these about as much as the Heights needs a Walmart.

Removed my post because it isn't relevant to the topic.

I will say that this attitude is not very neighborly, and seems generally offputting as well as not in line with what the neighborhood is about. The neighborhood has an accepting feel to me, and the random modern or weird homes just add to the flavor.

To keep the "integrity" of the neighborhood, you kill its personality.

Edited by SilverJK
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...



×
×
  • Create New...