New Historic Preservation Ordinance Allows Local Historic Districts To Be Established:  On June 22, 2006, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance allowing for the establishment of local historic districts (“LHDs”) by providing rehabilitation incentives for properties in such districts.  The stated purpose of these LHDs is to preserve the areas.  The neighbors in a LHD will devise a “preservation plan” and the city will grant some tax abatements for preservation efforts.  Austin will be joining other major Texas cities that establish these districts to protect areas of historic significance.  The City has worked out the application process, and estimates that the first district will take about 18 months to create.

To qualify for a local historic district designation, the ordinance requires that:

1.            a petition be filed requesting local historic district designation by the owners of at least 60% of the land within a proposed local historic district to initiate rezoning of the property;

2.            51% of the structures within a local historic district must be contributing at the time the nomination is placed on the agenda of the Historic Landmark Commission, but not at the time the case is heard by Council;

3.            at least 25% of the contributing buildings within a local historic district must be documented with ownership and occupancy histories in no less than 5 year intervals);

4.            Section 25-2-355(A) clarifying the criteria for designation of a historic landmark and a historic area combining district;

5.            the Historic Landmark Commission to review applications for remodel permits which affect the exterior of a building within a National Register Historic District

The Historic Task Force Recommendations are available by clicking here, the Task Force Report is available by clicking here, and the actual Ordinance is available by clicking here.

On August 24, 2005, the Heritage Society sponsored a seminar on the upcoming local historic districts.  You can download the presentation by Steve Sadowsky, City of Austin Preservation Officer, and the draft application, which is soon to be finalized.  A summary of the new ordinance that was sent out to landmark owners may be obtained by clicking here.  Another summary from the City of Austin Preservation Officer, entitled “LOCAL HISTORIC DISTRICTS IN AUSTIN,” may be obtained by clicking hereSee also, Revisions to Historic Landmark Ordinance that established local historic Districts.

According to the summary, “owner-occupied residential properties would be eligible for a seven-year abatement on the added value of the rehabilitation with the re-investment of 25% of the pre-improvement value of the structure in qualified rehabilitation expenditures, including at least 5% of the pre-improvement value of the structure re-invested in exterior restoration or rehabilitation.”  That’s a mouthful, but essentially, the City won’t tax the increase in value from any improvement/rehabilitation for seven years if (1) at least 25% of the pre-improvement value of the structure is used for “qualified rehabilitation expenditures” and (2) at least 5% of the pre-improvement value of the structure is used for “exterior restoration or rehabilitation.”  Different rules apply for income producing properties.


Related Posts

  • City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department is planning to turn Reed Park’s ball field into a water retention pond – depositing 30,000 lbs of sediment per year into the ball field.  Our green space and park land are in danger of becoming a mud pit and the historical preservation and natural beauty of our park […]

  • President’s Message   by Holly Reed   Preserving Black History in Austin   February is Black History Month, and we are honored and privileged to have a nationally recognized Civil Rights Landmark in our West Austin Neighborhood Group area. The Lions Municipal Golf Course (MUNY) was the first public golf course in the southern United […]

  • The West Austin Neighborhood Group supports the preservation of the entire 141 acres and all 18 holes of Lions Municipal Golf Course (MUNY) as a historic public golf course and open green space. We are working with the Muny Conservancy and Save Historic Muny District to preserve MUNY in perpetuity, for the citizens of Austin […]

  • The Forever Green Tournament was held on Sept. 15th at the historic Lions Municipal Golf Course. This beloved annual tournament benefits the Muny Conservancy and its mission to Save Muny for Good! The 4 person scramble with 8 AM and 1 PM shotgun starts was followed by a party with BBQ dinner and music at at […]