City Committee To Review Houston’s Historic Preservation Ordinance

Aug. 28, 2014Houston Public Media

City Council passed the historic preservation ordinance in 2010 to preserve more historic homes in Houston.

Four years later, the city’s Planning and Development Department is forming a committee to improve it.

“They are specifically going to look at ways to improve the efficiency and provide more information for the commissions on which to base their decision,” said Margaret Wallace, the department’s deputy director.

“They’re such things as expanding the scope of projects that can obtain administrative approval from the department. That’ll shorten some of the waiting time for applicants and get them a faster decision.”

Homeowners in a designated historic district have to apply for a permit with the city’s historical commission if they want to make any exterior changes to their home.

The committee charged with reviewing the ordinance will consist of members of the historical commission and the planning commission. Wallace expects City Council to see a draft of the changes by the spring.

Sue Lovell, a former City Council member who championed the historic preservation ordinance, applauded the city’s efforts to improve it.

But she would like to see stakeholders involved in the process.

“The public comments are good but you get maybe one minute — maybe — to state what you think,” she said. “And I think having the people, the stakeholders at the table with you in the decision-making process always helps.”

The committee meetings will be open to the public and residents can sign up to receive updates about the process by sending an email to historic.ordinance@houstontx.gov.