Woodland Heights Historic District?
Woodland Heights subdivision** is not yet a historic district, but took its first step in getting there by turning in to City Council a petition signed by 51% of residents. Maybe it will join other Heights Historic Districts: Houston Heights East; Historic Heights West; and tiny Freeland Historic District. The historic designation issue was a pretty straightforward until the city also voted to put a moratorium on demolitions within historic areas.
The following is taken from the Houston Chronicle regarding the moratorium :
“Historically, Houston hasn’t cared much for its history. Victorian mansions, Fourth Ward row houses, art-deco storefronts, mid-century highrises: You name it, we’ve torn it down.
Among big cities, our preservation ordinances are the weakest in the nation. In the entire 600-square-mile city, only one tiny neighborhood — the Old Sixth Ward — is a “protected” district, meaning that the city’s historic commission can deny permission to raze a historically significant house. In the Old Sixth Ward, no means no.
Fourteen other neighborhoods — most tiny, and most in the Montrose or Heights areas — have petitioned and been declared historic. But in those neighborhoods, the protection is much weaker. No doesn’t mean no. No means “the bulldozer has to wait 90 days.”
Last week, City Council indicated that it’s willing at least to consider expanding real protection. Councilmembers voted 13-1 to declare a temporary moratorium on demolitions in all the historic districts while a committee holds public hearings about beefing up the laws.” Read the complete story on the Houston Historic Area Moratorium here.
So, what does this do to our neighborhood of 100 year old homes? That remains to be seen. Will become a historic district? If so, will the laws be toughened? Will we have to jump through hoops to remodel or ad-on to our homes? We will see what happens in the next few months.
**Note: It is the Woodland Heights subdivision that is seeking designation; not the encompassing Woodland Heights area. See WHCA write-up.
Meanwhile check out activities at the Woodland Heights Civic Association website.