Cynthia Mullins

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Renovations we won't see anymore in the Houston Heights Examples from the East Historic District

November 9th, 2010

The following properties are located in the Houston Heights East Historic District and were built between 1900 and 1935.  Somewhere in the last century they were modified to meet the changing needs of their owners.  According to the Historic District Designation Report HPO File No. 07HD11 dated October 26, 2007, these properties are now considered noncontributing properties by the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (HAHC) due to their renovations. 

What exactly does noncontributing mean?  Per the definition on page 3 of the Historic Preservation Ordinance (HPO), noncontributing structure means a building, structure, object or site that does not reinforce the cultural, architectural, or historical significance of the historic district in which it is located, and is identified as noncontributing upon the designation of the historic district in which it is located. 

WOW!  And did you know that because these structures were identified as a noncontributing structure upon the designation of the historic district, they can obtain a COA be demolished?  Not that it makes economic sense today, but maybe 50 years from now? 

I know, I feel like I'm crazy too.  You're not alone.  But see Sec. 33-248, pg 33, of the HPO for demolition of noncontributing structure in case I some how have forgotten how to read.

To see detailed examples of renovations and how they violate the HPO, visit

I think whoever wants to  preserve a structure according to what the HAHC deems acceptable is wonderful and I commend them on their endeavor.  What I don't think is so wonderful is limiting not only the current homeowners on what they can do with their home, but also all future homeowners.  To gain additional square footage in Heights homes from now on, additions will be added to the back where the back yard once stood.  To see detailed examples of acceptable additions permitted under the HPO, visit 

Renovations you can't do anymore:

To see what the future of the Houston Heights Historic District East looks like, visit

Only one chance to  opt out of the Historic District, many chances to opt in!

AS AMENDED 10/13/2010

Just want the petition? Print from .   Email signed petition to myself at or Bill Baldwin at or fax to 866-552-6180, by November 17th. 

We are trying to educate as many people as possible before this November 17th date so that when the ballot comes in the mail and you have 15 days to return it to the city, we can:

1) remind you it is coming
2) tell you what it looks like so you won't mistake if for junk mail

This exact ballot must be filled out within these 15 days (unknown exactly when as of now, but probably mid December).  If you lose or do not receive your ballot, you can't copy someone else's and turn it in.  AND remember, not returning a ballot means YES for the Historic Preservation Ordinance.
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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Houston Association of REALTORS®

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