When most people think of the Heights, they think historic homes and may even be familiar with the Heights Historic Districts. That’s right, districts. What we commonly think of as the Historic Heights is actually a collection of 5 distinct historic districts designated in the Historic Preservation Ordinance of 2010: Houston Heights East, West, South, Norhill, and Woodland Heights, not including nearby Freeland and Germantown. And those are just a portion of Houston’s 22 historic districts.
Being in a historic district means that you and your neighbors are probably limited in how you can alter property. That includes restoration, rehabilitation, additions, exterior alterations, new construction, relocation and even the demolition of what’s known as “contributing structures,” which are essentially the buildings that are preserved as playing a key role in maintaining the historic character of the district. The review process deeming what can and can’t happen with properties in the historic districts takes place in the Historic Preservation Office of the Planning & Development Department, with some items going before the Houston Archaeological & Historical Commission depending on the scenario.
Now that a draft of the guidelines is available, it’s going to be brought back to the community to be reviewed. Next Tuesday, June 20th, a community meeting will be held from 6 to 8 PM at the historic Fire Stattion located at 107 W 12th St, Houston, TX 77008 for those interested to have their voices heard.
There is no doubt these new guidelines will mean major changes for the Heights. In short, the guidelines will tighten home additions, improvements, and new construction. But to develop a comprehensive understanding of what the guidelines would mean for the Heights, it’s critical to review and discuss with someone knowledgeable experienced. One way to further your understanding of the guidelines would be by attending the Houston Heights Historic District design guidelines meeting on Tuesday.
If you’re not yet convinced and are still wondering if attending Tuesday’s meeting would be worthwhile, we’ve come up with a list of reasons why you would want to attend the meeting.
1. If you own a house in a historic district, this meeting is for you.
2. If you plan on buying or dream of buying a house in the Heights, this meeting is for you. This is true even if you don’t plan on buying in a historic district. Why? Because the price values for houses and land haven’t been the same in historic districts and non-historic districts.
3. If you plan on selling your Heights home – in or out of a historic district. Why? Because the price values for houses and land haven’t been the same in historic districts and non-historic districts.
4. If you’re a builder. Because knowing what you can and cannot build makes you a better builder for your clients.
5. If you’re planning on building in the Heights. Because knowing what you can and cannot build can save you money, time and headaches. And who needs those?
OK, so we’re realtors. So we think of buying, selling and building first. But there are more reasons:
1. If you’re a tax payer in the Heights area. OK, this is related to #1 above. But it’s also related to #2 and #3 above as well. Why? Because the price values for houses and land haven’t been the same in historic districts and non-historic districts. And no one wants to pay more than their fair share of property taxes.
2. If you have a family or plan on starting a family and you want to expand your Heights Historic District home. Or perhaps you have aging parents who may need to move in with you. Why? Because the new guidelines define how much you can expand or add onto your house.
As with many guidelines and restrictions from governing bodies, there are supporters and opponents. We present these reasons to go to this presentation from a neutral position. Whether we support or oppose these guideline revisions isn’t nearly as important as wanting to hear what you have to say and wanting to make sure you’re aware of one of the best opportunities to hear and be heard. You are our neighbors, clients and friends. We live and work in this community together. We hope you’ll come to hear and be heard with me on Tuesday!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org as I am your Heights resource!