Saturday, November 18, 2006

Protected Landmark

Our House, as I have mentioned before is on the Nation Register of Historic Places. The impact of this on us, is nonexistent.

But Houston has recently passed a more forceful Historic Preservation ordinance. Now, just so that you don’t think that this violates the Takings clause of the Fifth Amendment, rest assured that this designation cannot be imposed on a property by the city, it is requested by the owner. The subsequent owners of the property must abide by this designation, but that will be inculcated in the price of the property when it gets sold.

The “Protected Landmark” status prevents the destruction or modification of the property without the city’s approval. This is the first time that the City of Houston has instituted this sort of control.

All structures that are already on the National Register of Historic Places are “pre-qualified” by the city for consideration for Protected Landmark status. And we had all the paperwork that was used to gain a place on the Register. We submitted that to the (de facto) City Historian, Randy Pace, and that was about it.

Last week I received an e-mail from the city that our house would be considered for Protected Landmark Status at the next Houston Archeological and Historical Commission meeting. Our house was one of only two being considered for Protected status. There were about 30 or so others being considered for Landmark status, but that does not confer any additional restrictions on the property.

I can understand people’s reluctance to apply for the Protected status. It may reduce the value of the property when you sell it. We struggled with the same issue. But then we thought about all the houses and buildings in Houston that we have seen torn down, and how the city can me a much more interesting place had those structures survived.

We decided that it was sort of “our part” to place our house on the Protected list.

Terrance said that “Charity begins at home” We believe that charity begins WITH our home.


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