After a lengthy and contentious debate, the Houston City Council has approved
ordinances designating three neighborhoods as protected historic districts. The neighborhoods are Houston Heights South, Woodland Heights and Glenbrook Valley. The three neighborhoods join sixteen additional neighborhoods previously designated as historic districts by the Houston City Council.
The votes took place at the regular meeting of the Houston City Council on Wednesday, June 29. Historic district designations for the Houston Heights South and Woodland Heights neighborhoods were approved by a 9 to 5 vote, with Mayor Annise Parker, Council Members Brenda Stardig (Dist. A), Wanda Adams (Dist. D), Al Hoang (Dist. F), Ed Gonzales (Dist. H), James Rodriguez (Dist. I), Stephen Costello (At-Large 1), Sue Lovell (At-Large 2), and Melissa Noriega (At-Large 3) voting “Yes” to approve the historic district designation. Council members Anne Clutterbuck (Dist. C), Mike Sullivan (Dist. E), Oliver Pennington (Dist. G), C.O. “Brad” Bradford (At-Large 4) and Jolanda Jones (At-Large 5) voted “No” on the historic district designation. Council Member Jarvis Johnson (Dist. B) was absent from the proceedings.
Glenbrook Valley was approved as a historic district by a 10-4 vote, with Council Member Mike Sullivan joining the 9 “Yes” votes listed above.
A designated “historic district” is a geographic area of historical, cultural or aesthetic importance to the community, as designated by the City of Houston. Properties within the historic district are covered by Houston’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. This means that in order to perform certain repairs and alterations to a structure located in the district, homeowners must obtain city approval.
City approval comes in the form of a “Certificate of Appropriateness” issued by the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (HCAC). A Certificate of Appropriateness is generally required for new construction in historic districts; additions or exterior alterations to existing structures; and relocation or demolition of contributing historic structures located in the district.
A Ceritificate of Appropriateness is generally not required for ordinary repair and maintenance; changes to the interior of the house; rebuilding a home as it was if destroyed by fire or natural disaster; and relocation or demolition of a non-contributing (i.e., non-historic) structure located in the district.
More on the New Historic Districts
Houston Heights South is located within the larger Houston Heights neighborhood and is bounded by 11th Street to the north, Heights Boulevard to the west, 4th Street to the south and Oxford Street to the east. The neighborhood contains predominantly small 19th century, one-story cottages and larger, two-story Victorian-era homes, and numerous early 20th century bungalow style buildings. The neighborhood also contains a large number of buildings that have been individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Woodland Heights is located two miles north of downtown Houston and is roughly bounded by Omar Street to the north, Julian Street to the west, Euclid Street to the south and Morrison Street to the east. The neighborhood contains many one and two-story houses and cottages primarily in the bungalow, craftsman, Queen Ann and late Victorian styles.
Glenbrook Valley is located in southeast Houston and outside Loop 610 and is roughly bounded by Sims Bayou to the north, Glenloch and Hollygrove Drives to the west, Wynlea and Wilmerdean Streets to the south, and Glencrest Street to the east. Glenbrook Valley was developed beginning in 1953 and is the first post-World War II neighborhood in Texas to receive historic district designation. The neighborhood primarily consists of American Ranch Style and Mid-Century Modern homes.