8 out of 16 Houston Historic Districts Are Now Up for “Reconsideration”

8 OUT OF 16 HOUSTON HISTORIC DISTRICTS ARE NOW UP FOR “RECONSIDERATION” Planning department spokesperson Suzy Hartgrove tells Swamplot the city has received petitions from 8 of the city’s designated historic districts: Avondale West, Boulevard Oaks, First Montrose Commons, Houston Heights East, Houston Heights South, Houston Heights West, Norhill, and Westmoreland. The department is currently verifying them. Do they all meet the 10-percent threshold that’ll trigger balloting and possible dissolution? “Our initial glance tells us that they probably do but we must conduct a thorough check,” writes Hartgrove. Okay, who’s left? Audubon Place, Avondale East, Broadacres, Courtlandt Place, Freeland, Shadow Lawn, and West Eleventh Place, carry on: You may continue to live in the past. [previously on Swamplot]

17 Comment

  • Can we tear down during ‘Reconsideration’? Please? Please!

  • Please, let Westmorland be voted down! Please!

  • Interesting that at least 10% of the mayor’s own neighborhood, Westmoreland aka Westmoreland Place, had second thoughts.

  • Westmoreland was a Historic District before the Mayor moved in.

  • Also of note two is that two pending historic districts, Glenbrook Valley (a post WW-2 subdivision close to Hobby airport) and Woodland Heights are being challenged by property owners who submitted retraction letters yesterday withdrawing their initial petitions for historic district status. Thus the city council decision in June, made permanent in October, to eliminate the 90 day waiver from the ordinance, which allowed property owners to alter or demolish a property after a 90 day delay, has stimulated events that may mean a total of 10 older neighborhoods will not be certified as “historic.” This change was Mayor Parker’s idea and now she has to acknowledge the blowback.

  • Correction. The retraction letters for Glenbrook Valley were submitted yesterday and today, the deadline.

  • Footnote to the reconsideration story: An application for reconsideration was also submitted for the Sixth Ward, though the preservation ordinance amended last month specifically exempted the Sixth Ward and the Main Street-Market Square Historic District from the reconsideration process.

    To this non-lawyer, I see the possibility of a lawsuit by the Sixth Ward applicant that invokes the equal protection argument.

  • The reconsideration provision was for districts changing unprotected to protected status. Old Sixth Ward was already protected.

  • I live in Westmoreland and was all for being a Historic district. However, dealing with the city for the last few moths on a verity of issues (relating to property, but not any historic district issues) caused me to get so jaded that I’ve changed my mind and was for the reconsideration petition.
    I didn’t realize that our mayor lived in Westmoreland. I have sent a few e-mail updates to a Westmoreland e-mail group regarding a multifamily I’m working on and have said some pretty terrible things about the city. I hope those didn’t reach her inbox :)

  • I find it sadly, obvioulsy and hypocritcally hilarious that the primary objection Lovell, Parker and Gafrick had to sending out postcards for an automatic re-survey was that it would cost to much.
    But over the last month they have been sending snail mail to every home owner in a district, with informational mailings (or should we say propoganda)and presenting powerpoint outlines at various neighborhood meetings. So they are spending the money anyway pushing what they know is a unwanted agenda but exactly what the mayor wants. What a sham this entire thing has been.

    Am I surprised. Not at all, this group has used deception and red herrings to get there way. They honestly believe that the ends justifies the means. BTW did anybody else see the ethics lecture yesterday at the Historic commission. To sum it up- if relative is appearing before the commission you should recuse yourself. This is something that these people didn’t know to do? Ohhh that is right- they must not have since they have not been doing it and one member was confused and had to ask does this mean that a family member cannot appear to the commission? She doesn’t even get the idea of recusing oneself because of a conflict of interest.

    And these are the people that want to control what you can do to your home.

    Maybe with our rights taken away we will began once again to value them and demand that gov’t do its primary job of protecting our rights not stealing them.

  • And yes, I know my spelling and typing sucks. I hit post before I reviewed. There are periods where question marks should be and I used there instead of “their”.

  • Right on Mark!
    I remember the first meeting, Gafrick, indicated that if they sent cards out, and if only 4 were returned, three for & one against, that would mean 75% support. Then someone asked is that fair, she said we will have to talk to our Lawyers to see what we can get away with. They have not reached out to individual districts for input. Why is this all or nothing.
    They make the rules, they can change them.

    I went to the farmers market in front of city hall, talked to a vendor that sold food, drinks. They said since the Mayor wanted this market, “no one has to pay the $70 for a food permit”, as they do at the Rice market.
    The mayor wants these Historic Districts, she needs to give up something, and this all or nothing sounds like a threat

  • I’m surprised they only got 8; you could probably get 10% of the owners of any neighborhood to sign anything. When you wrap it up in the fuzzy “preservation through destruction” stuff the “responsible preservation” group was putting out, it can’t have been too hard.

  • Yea, your right I suppose those in favor of the new ordinance, could have gotten at least 10%, in thirty days. The problem though is they had years, to get signatures, for the weaker old ordinance, and even then you know deals were made. I heard of the promise for a variance from the Planning commission to one owner of a very large property, if he signed.

  • Mark,

    What are the Pro’s and Con’s of The Historic District ? Im not up to date on this subject at all… I see you are very passionate about it… Thanks any advice is helpful.

    God Bless Everyone,

    Sonny Jimenez
    Real Estate Broker
    713.320.0122 Direct / Mobile

    By the way I am never too busy for your referrals, in fact that is the highest compliment you can give me.

  • TXRP,
    I don’t presume to tell you about real estate, but have I got the place for you! Just look at this: it may look like a rock from the outside but just look under it! Look at all that room! You can do anything with that kind of space. I think a decorator could do wonders: some drapes just over here, and there is a perfect place for a dining table. Why don’t you just move in for a while and see how it feels.

  • So is Marlene Gafrick still trying to figure out how to turn 10.01 percent into 9.99 percent and thereby invalidate the reconsideration petitions?

    Or maybe it’s taking so long because she’s trying to figure out how to turn 20.01 percent into 9.99 percent.