Historic Preservation Gets Some Teeth

The city wants public comments on proposed changes to its Historic Preservation Ordinance. The new ordinance would tighten up some restrictions for the kind of development that can be built in historic districts. It would also make it easier for neighborhoods to get a historic designation. Laurie Johnson reports.

The amendments are intended to protect Houston’s historic neighborhoods — places like the Heights, Montrose and the Museum District. Right now less than one percent of Houston falls into that category.

David Bush with the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance says the new ordinance makes it easier for neighborhoods to become historic districts.

“The changes appear to be that now not only may the property owners begin the designation process, but now the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission would be allowed to begin the designation process by sending out letters to the owners in the proposed district to begin the process.”

The proposed ordinance would also give more teeth to the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission’s ability to stop development that’s not in keeping with the surrounding area. As it stands now, development can go forward after a 90-day waiting period, even if the Commission denies a permit to build. The new ordinance would do away with that 90-day waiver.

“They really just bring us in line with what other major cities in Texas are doing. It’s not — it’s not really innovative it’s just what’s being done and what’s working in other cities.”

There will be a public meeting on July 27 to discuss the changes. A series of meetings after that will focus on specific neighborhoods.

Laurie Johnson, KUHF News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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