A bill introduced in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. John Cyrier, HB 2496 (and its companion in the Senate by Sen. Dawn Buckingham, SB 1488), would prohibit a municipality from designating a historic landmark without the property owner’s consent.
The bill was drafted and filed without any input whatsoever from the historic preservation community in the State of Texas.
It curtails the power vested in municipal governments under Sec. 211.003(b) of Texas’s Local Government Code to regulate the demolition of buildings and other structures of historical, cultural or architectural significance.
Remember that in those very rare occasions when local governments seek to designate a building as a historic landmark over the objection of the property owner, it is because the property owner wants to bulldoze the building, and the city wants to save an important and irreplaceable landmark for future generations.
The bill will also make it impossible to create meaningful local historic districts, as 100% owner consent for a local zoning district is almost impossible to obtain and no other form of local zoning has such a requirement.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s legal department has written a strongly-worded three page letter to the committee outlining the repercussions of this poorly conceived bill.
HB 2496 is a clumsy legislative solution to a problem that simply does not exist and should be withdrawn.
A hearing on HB 2496 will be held by the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee in the Texas House of Representatives this Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in the State Capitol, Room E1.014
Your voice needs to be heard!
Contact members of the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee before the hearing on Tuesday.
Let committee members know that HB 2496 should be withdrawn because it attempts to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and prevents local governments from regulating the demolition of historically, culturally and architecturally significant buildings.
Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee
Rep. John Cyrier (Chair and Bill Author)
Rep. Armando Martinez (Vice Chair)
Rep. John Bucy III
Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins
Rep. Justin Holland
Rep. Jarvis Johnson
Rep. Kyle Kacal
Rep. Geanie Morrison
Rep. Steve Toth