Five homes in McKinney will remain in the city's historic district after a June 18 City Council vote.

McKinney's Historic Preservation Advisory Board voted May 2 to prevent the demolition of two of the homes in this district and relocate three others. McKinney City Council's vote upheld this decision.

“We’re protective of the Historic District,” council member Patrick Cloutier said. “I am concerned about what goes there.”

The city’s Historic Overlay District encompasses an area between US 75 and SH 5 that has zoning restrictions intended to maintain the historic character of properties in the area, according to the city’s development code.

The property owner submitted an appeal for each of the five denied requests, and council affirmed the denials for each property, with all but one vote being unanimous. Council member Charlie Philips was absent for all votes.

The details

The demolitions and relocations would allow for a redevelopment of these sites, Director of Planning Jennifer Arnold said at the June 18 meeting.

The requests were to acquire a certificate of appropriateness for work on each property. The certificate is required for any new construction, redevelopment or other alterations to properties within McKinney’s Historic Overlay District that can be seen from the public right of way, according to the city’s website.

Two of the certificate requests were to allow for demolitions for the properties at:
  • 301 S. Kentucky St.
  • 311 S. Kentucky St.
The property at 301 S. Kentucky St. is classified as low priority on the city’s 2023 Historic Resources Survey, according to a presentation at the meeting. The priority rating indicates how important the property is in terms of historical preservation, according to the survey.

The ratings also allow properties in the Historic Overlay District to be compared based on the priority rating. The property at 311 S. Kentucky St. has a medium priority rating.

The applicant opted to request demolition for these homes due to existing structural issues, said Jeremy Jones, a representative of the applicant Barratt Properties, at the May 2 meeting.

The other three requests were to allow for relocation of houses located at:
  • 303 S. Kentucky St.
  • 305 S. Kentucky St.
  • 312 S. Tennessee St.
The two properties on South Kentucky Street were both given low priority ratings in the Historic Resources Survey and were both proposed to be relocated outside of city limits, according to presentations at the meeting.

The property on Tennessee Street, which has a high priority rating, was proposed to be relocated to the northwest corner of Tennessee Street and East Standifer Street. The property is used as a wedding and reception venue called The Surrey House.

Jones said a multifamily project is planned to be developed across the affected properties, during the May 2 meeting. The redevelopment plan includes 240 units in a four-story apartment community, he said.
The city's Historic Overlay District covers an area between US 75 and SH 5 in East McKinney. (Courtesy city of McKinney)

Diving deeper

Bob Roeder, representing the applicant at the June 18 meeting, noted all five of the certificates of appropriateness being requested were applied for and approved in 2022 but expired after one year. At the time, the process did not include approval by the Historic Preservation Advisory Board and was instead approved by city staff, he said.

Roeder noted when the applicant reapplied and the request was heard by the Historic Preservation Advisory Board, the conversation focused on the project planned for the site rather than the considerations outlined in the city’s ordinance for the request types.

“[The] board didn’t follow the standards,” Roeder said. “Their decision was made upon an outcome-determinative position, and so I think they’re wrong.”

Council agreed with the denials issued by the board, with all but the one vote being unanimous. The nonunanimous vote was in regard to the demolition request for the property at 301 S. Kentucky St., with McKinney Mayor George Fuller voting against denial of the request.

“I will be voting in favor of the appeal based on the pure facts and what I feel in my heart I should be doing, and not bowing to my own emotional position on it,” Fuller said.

What they’re saying

Six residents spoke at the meeting, and another six submitted their positions in a written format, all expressing opposition to the five agenda items.

Tom Michero, one of the community members who spoke at the meeting, said most of the properties being considered have been standing for over 100 years and have contributed to McKinney’s history.

“It’d be a tragedy to see them just disappear or [be] moved off,” Michero said. “McKinney’s famous for its unique history, and it’s hard to argue that removing these homes or demolishing [them] will have anything to do about making McKinney a better place.”

Mayor Pro Tem Geré Feltus said the Historic Preservation Advisory Board’s consideration of the cases was not focused solely on the redevelopment plan for the site but also on preserving the historical value of the properties.

“Their job is to do the best they can to preserve the history in the Historic District, that is the top of their concern when making these decisions,” Feltus said. “If there is any method we can choose to help encourage people to keep what is already here and maintain the fabric of the Historic District that already exists, then they’re going to be in favor of moving that direction.”

Quote of note

“We all like to be logical people. When it comes to the Historic District, we ain’t terribly logical. We’re pretty emotive, and that’s reasonable to me because once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Cloutier said.