ADVOCACY ALERT: HISTORIC BUILDING MATERIALS
A bill introduced in the Texas House of Representatives, HB 2439 (and its companion in the Senate, SB 1266), would prevent local governments from directly or indirectly prohibiting the use of specific building products or materials in the construction, renovation, maintenance or alteration of residential or commercial structures, whether by ordinance or regulation.
HB 2439 will be considered during a meeting of the State Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives this Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 10:30.
Your voice needs to be heard!
What does the bill do?
HB 2439 would enable the use of any building material or product anywhere, as long as it has been approved for use by a national model building code that has been adopted by the local government.
Why is this harmful to Texas’s historic downtowns and neighborhoods?
In the preservation community, which supports billions of dollars in economic activity in the state of Texas each year, we understand that the historic character of our communities is the result of a consistent use of building materials that are unique to that place.
Think of the limestone buildings of Lampasas, the red sandstone buildings of Mason, the stone and fachwerk buildings of Fredericksburg, the adobe buildings of Marfa, the delicate wood buildings in our precious Victorian-era neighborhoods, or the wood and brick of our beloved bungalow neighborhoods.
The preservation of historic character through the use of appropriate building materials is the foundation of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for historic preservation, restoration and reconstruction projects. These standards are incorporated into local historic district ordinances and design guidelines in cities across Texas, large and small.
Without the ability to regulate and prohibit incompatible materials it will be impossible to maintain the historic character of our communities we have all worked so hard for decades to protect and restore.
What does this mean in practice?
Local governments would no longer be able to require that property owners repair or replace historic materials in kind. Examples: A damaged stone wall could be patched with concrete and covered with plastic siding or century-old historic wood windows could be replaced with ill-fitting, disposable vinyl windows.
Local governments could no longer prohibit incompatible building materials on new buildings or additions in historic districts. Example: a new building on a historic courthouse square could be clad in rusted metal or vinyl, or even constructed of exposed concrete blocks.
What is the solution?
This bill must be amended to permit the continued regulation and prohibition of certain building materials pursuant to historic preservation ordinances.
What can you do?
Contact members of the House State Affairs Committee before the hearing on Wednesday morning.
Let committee members know that HB 2439 should be amended to enable local governments with historic preservation ordinances to continue to protect their historic character by regulating the use and application of building materials.
House State Affairs Committee
(click a name to send an e-mail)
Rep. Dade Phelan (Chair and Bill Author) (512) 463-0706
Rep. Ana Hernandez (Vice Chair) (512) 463-0614
Rep. Joe Deshotel (512) 463-0662
Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra (512) 463-0578
Rep. Sam Harless (512) 463-0496
Rep. Justin Holland (512) 463-0484
Rep. Todd Hunter (512) 463-0672
Rep. Phil King (512) 463-0738
Rep. Tan Parker (512) 463-0688
Rep. Richard Pena Raymond (512) 463-0558
Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (512) 463-0674
Rep. John T. Smithee (512) 463-0702
Rep. Drew Springer (512) 463-0526