Texas May Demolish Your Local Preservation Laws

TEXAS MAY DEMOLISH YOUR LOCAL PRESERVATION LAWS 2120 Sabine St., First Ward, Houston, 77007Ever worry that Houston’s historical preservation rules are just too darn strict? Tired of having to wait a whole 90 days to go ahead and do whatever you were going to do anyway to that non-protected city landmark? A public hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday in Austin on a state bill that would gut and restructure local historic preservation procedures across Texas. The bill, as Preservation Houston Texas put it to VBX‘s Adolfo Pesquera last month, “clumsily attempts to impose a woefully old-fashioned ‘George Washington slept here’ standard of historical significance:” The measure appears to limit new historical designations to either 1) structures lived in by a famous person or 2) places where something “widely recognized as a historic event” happened. (Under that standard, the Astrodome might make the cut for Evel Knieval’s 13-car motorcycle jump.) Houston’s own District 135 rep Gary Elkins is the only sponsor of the measure, which would also require that any movements to designate areas of “historical, cultural, or architectural significance” get support from 3 quarters of the city council or the local planning commission. The measure also may put the final say on any proposed changes to a protected structure in the hands of a single “municipal official,” who will have 30 days to give a yea or nay. [Virtual Builder’s Exchange; bill here; previously on Swamplot] Photo of protected former home of August von Haxthausen at 2120 Sabine St.: HAR

6 Comment

  • Demolish your Great Aunt’s soup tureen!
    Every person wants to preserve her/his family history yet is bonkers to bull-doze the neighbor’s…
    All of it is Houston’s history whether, or not, George Washington or George Bush slept there.

  • This late in the session it is clear that this is just right wing trolling. But I am actually all for it. I am going to start a business where I get nominal celebrities (i.e. Pauline Short, Kato Kaelin) to come live in your house for a few weeks to meet the standard for historic preservation a la Jersey Village talk radio right winger. Streets will be lined with plaques identifying the Dale Murphy House and the Warren the Ape estate and so on. That way when a builder comes along and wants to knock down a beautiful craftsman, you won’t have to get into arguments about architecture to save it. You can just say “hey, you can’t tear down the Larry Wilcox house!

  • Oh so Abbott tweets that he rejects federal government meddling with Texas in a recent eminent domain issue, but it’s okay for him and his state circus to meddle in our city affairs? Ridiculous double standards and a complete overreach of state government! Enough city meddling by the loony state! Texas’ larger cities are what keep this state halfway sane and progressive. What’s worse is too many ignorant voters will accept this and keep electing these corrupt GOP trolls.

  • “Denzel Washington acted here” (1986). Hope that counts.

  • I love small government arguments coming from big government Republican advocates.

  • Greg Abbott is da Debil! Momma says so!