Swamplot has a scoop.
Some major changes to the implementation of Houston’s long-ridiculed historic preservation ordinance may be coming very soon, if a proposal supported by Mayor Annise Parker passes a city council vote that could occur as early as next Wednesday, Swamplot has learned. Under the current ordinance (for all designated historic districts except for the Old Sixth Ward, now a designated “protected” historic district), owners of historic-district properties whose plans for demolition, new construction, or remodeling have been rejected by the city’s Archaeological and Historical Commission have been able to proceed with their plans anyway — simply by waiting 90 days.
But in an email to Swamplot, a spokesperson indicates the Mayor wants the commission to “temporarily discontinue” the issuing of such 90-day waivers for the remainder of this calendar year — or until amendments to the preservation ordinance are hashed out and approved by city council (whichever comes first). Under some revisions to the ordinance likely to be considered in that 7-month period, 90-day waivers could be eliminated entirely.
Changing the historic preservation ordinance so that it actually preserves historic buildings instead of merely putting off their demolition for a few weeks would be a huge change in how Houston does things. I can’t wait to see what they come up with, and I expect the pushback to be fierce. Click over and read the whole thing.