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Council passes demolition moratorium for historic properties

Houston City Council has taken a step forward to providing stronger protection for historic properties.

City Council passed a temporary law today that puts a moratorium on demolitions in Houston’s 15 historic districts.

The city’s 15-year-old preservation ordinance has allowed a property owner to proceed with a renovation, demolition or relocation in one of the districts after a 90-day waiting period — even if the change had been rejected by the Houston Archeological and Historic Commission.

After today, the commission’s ruling will stand as the city makes permanent changes to the law.

The vote was 13-1 in favor, with Council Member C.O. Bradford the lone “No”; CM Mike Sullivan, who had previously voiced some objections to the law, was absent. I had thought this would be more contentious, but maybe that will come when the permanent ordinance gets debated. I’m glad to see this happen, and I look forward to that discussion. Along the way, Council also designated First Montrose Commons as a historic district. One subdivision of my neighborhood is also working on that. Quite the change for Houston, isn’t it?

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  1. Mike Sullivan, Council Member says:

    You are correct in noting that I was “not present” for the vote, but I am not even in Houston today. I am in Washington DC working on city-related business. I had a meeting with Congressmen Kevin Brady and Ted Poe in their DC offices regarding an issue affecting my council district. Flying back to Houston tonight and I will be present at Thursday’s budget meetings. Thank you. Mike Sullivan, Council Member.

  2. Greg Nino says:

    I have a property listed in the Heights for “lot value.” This temporary moratorium is scaring off buyers. An investor called today saying it could take 1-6 years to build on the lot after a purchase. This will ultimately cause lots in the Heights to “sit” on the mkt longer than anticipated. This does not help property values. I am concerned that only 1 CM had the balls to stand up to such a change. I’ve contacted TAR Mark Lamen. Likely too late and not enough voice coming from just one agent on this thread.