Appeals court upholds Houston's historic preservation ordinance

A home on Avondale Street in one of Houston's historic districts shows the architecture unique to the area.

A home on Avondale Street in one of Houston's historic districts shows the architecture unique to the area.

The First District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Houston's historic preservation ordinance June 25, backing a trial court decision over whether the law violated the city's charter against zoning.

"It's a relief," said David Bush, executive director of Preservation Houston, a private nonprofit that advocates for historic preservation efforts. "It could have had a significant impact on the historic districts."

The ordinance, adopted in 1995, allowed for the creation of historic districts, which requires property owners to file for certificates of appropriateness before tearing down, modifying or developing property in its boundaries.

Homeowners in Heights East, one of the city's largest historic districts, filed suit in 2014 to have the ordinance tossed out, saying that it constituted a form of zoning, which Houston lacks. There are about 20 such districts in Houston, which, according to evidence cited in the court ruling, comprise just over 1% of property in the city.

"The other thing to remember is, when the Heights historic districts were created, a majority of property owners approved it. In other cities, the city just says, 'Oh, this is a historic district,' and there's a process from there," Bush said.

Part of the decision hinged on the fact that the ordinance only applied to the visual character and construction of the buildings in a district, but did not regulate the use of the buildings, which would have made it more like zoning. The court maintained that cities have the right to allow such protections.

“This decision reaffirms the City’s rights as a home-rule city to protect its precious heritage,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in release.

A copy of the ruling can be accessed below:



SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

At the annual State of the County address Nov. 15, County Judge Lina Hidalgo spoke on several initiatives launched in 2019, including criminal justice reform and emergency recovery, among other topics. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lina Hidalgo reflects on boundary-pushing first year in State of the County address

Early childhood development will be major focus of 2020, Hidalgo said.

Houston Private School Guide 2019: K-12 schools, tuition, enrollment, deadlines

Parents have a variety of education options beyond the public school system. This guide includes a list of area private schools as well as information to help parents make the best decision for their children. Would you like to suggest a school to include in our guide next year? Leave us a suggestion in the comments or send an email to hrmnews@communityimpact.com.

Meyergrove Apartments detention pond
Harris County Flood Control district buys former Meyerland apartment site for detention

After enduring multiple floods, the demolished Meyergrove Apartment property located at North Braeswood and I-610 could soon become a flood mitigation project in the Brays Bayou watershed.

Iora Primary Care continues expansion with Braeburn location

Health care provider Iora Primary Care opened a clinic at 6613 S. Braeswood Blvd., Houston, on Nov. 5, its sixth clinic in the Houston area.

Courtesy Memorial Hermann
Memorial Hermann opens urgent care clinic near West University

A Memorial Hermann Urgent Care clinic opened Nov. 13 at 3501 West Holcombe Blvd. near West University

McHugh Tea Room
McHugh Tea Room and Gifts: Business owner steeps Bellaire in tea culture and knowledge

Kim McHugh’s obsession with tea began with a concern for the health of her husband, who would drink multiple cups of tea a day.

Co-owners Sara Saber, left, and Carin Giga opened Three Dog Bakery in Rice Village in September 2018. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
Three Dog Bakery: Pet-friendly store creates pastries and treats for furry friends

The display case at the front counter of Three Dog Bakery is filled with a variety of creatively designed and named cookies and cakes, though none of them are meant for people to eat.

Athleisure apparel brand Tasc Performance opens Rice Village popup

New Orleans-based athleisure and lifestyle clothing brand Tasc Performance opened a popup store in the Rice …

Houston Sichuan restaurant Pepper Twins charts two new locations

Sichuan-style Chinese restaurant Pepper Twins will open a location inside Houston’s Galleria, 5065 …

In a split 3-2 vote, the Harris County Commissioners Court passed a nonbinding resolution in favor of legislation requiring universal background checks for all Texas firearm sales, including those involving an unlicensed gun dealer and stranger-to-stranger gun sales, at its Nov. 12 meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)
In split vote, Harris County approves resolution supporting universal background checks for all Texas firearm sales

The nonbinding resolution's passing demonstrated the court's support of legislation requiring universal background checks for all gun sales in the state, including those involving an unlicensed gun dealer and stranger-to-stranger gun sales.

Ahead of the Dec. 14 mayoral runoff election for the city of Houston, Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced plans Nov. 12 to move the county’s ballot box collection center to a more centralized location in hopes of expediting election result returns. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County clerk to move ballot box collection center to centralized location in effort to expedite election result returns

Ahead of the Dec. 14 mayoral runoff election for the city of Houston, Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman announced plans Nov. 12 to move the county’s ballot box collection center to a more centralized location in hopes of expediting election result returns.

One of the major themes found in the report was a nearly 24-year range in average lifespan that varied across the county from as low as 65 years to as high as 89 years. According to the report, the Memorial/Bear Creek area has the highest average lifespan, while the East Little York/Settegast area has the lowest. (Courtesy Harris County Public Health)
Benchmark study reveals 24-year lifespan variance, high obesity rates and limited health care access across Harris County

A study by Harris County Public Health found life expectancy in Harris County alone varies by nearly 24 years depending on where a resident lives.

Back to top