March 09, 2007
Demolition moratorium in Old Sixth Ward

The proposed temporary ban on demolition in the Old Sixth Ward has been implemented.

The Houston City Council on Wednesday approved a six-month ban on demolitions of historical buildings in the Old Sixth Ward neighborhood west of downtown.

Even though it's temporary, it doubles an existing waiting period on demolitions that still applies in other neighborhoods, and is among the most restrictive measures the city ever has adopted regarding privately owned historical structures.

Councilwomen Addie Wiseman and Anne Clutterbuck cast the only votes against the measure, which passed without discussion.

Clutterbuck said later that she supports historic preservation but thinks any new protection measure should apply citywide.Wiseman could not be reached for comment.

The measure exempts buildings in the Old Sixth Ward Historic District from a provision in the city's preservation ordinance that allows owners to alter or tear down historical structures after a 90-day waiting period, even if the city's Archaeological and Historical Commission disapproves.

As noted, this expires on September 1, at which time there should be a comprehensive plan in place. I look forward to seeing what that will be. In the meantime, I note that Council Member Berry apparently had a change of heart from two weeks ago. Like the Chron's Mike Snyder, I placed a call to Berry's office to inquire about this, but did not hear back from him. If he returns my call today, I'll print an update.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 09, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston