Update, 1/5: Unless, of course, city council decides to shrink a few of them anyway.
The results are in, and it looks like the great campaign to dissolve Houston’s historic districts has been a bit of a bust. Houston planning director Marlene Gafrick reports that the “survey period” for Heights East, Heights West, Heights South, Boulevard Oaks, and Avondale West historic districts has closed and that the planning department has determined that “none of the districts achieved the 51% threshold that requires the Planning Director to recommend repeal of the designation or, in the case of Heights South, recommend denying the designation.” Neighborhood meetings and subsequent “surveys” for 2 more districts — Norhill and First Montrose Commons — haven’t taken place yet (the meetings are scheduled for January 8th and 18th, respectively). That’s it for the 7 districts where petitions from owners triggered the “reconsideration” provisions of the preservation ordinance changes city council approved last fall. According to the new ordinance, if owners of 51 percent of the lots in any of the districts had returned notices sent to them by the city, the districts might have been dissolved — or, more likely, had their boundaries adjusted.
Opponents of the preservation-ordinance changes had focused their dissolution campaign on the Heights historic districts. But if the 51 percent threshold wasn’t attainable in those districts, it seems less likely their efforts will succeed in Norhill and First Montrose Commons. Meanwhile, the city’s planning commission and archeological and historic commission have both recommended that city council approve 2 additional pending historic districts, in Woodland Heights and Glenbrook Valley.