Historic Preservation Protesters Claim "Bait-And-Switch" Tactics Against Mayor Annise Parker

historicpreservationprotest.JPG
Steve Jansen
Yesterday's scene in front of Houston City Hall.
There are a bunch of folks in Heights South, Woodland Heights and Glenbrook Valley seriously P.O.'d about what they're calling a classic "bait-and-switch" technique pulled by the City of Houston.

Today about 50 of them (which dwindled to about half that number once the rains came) gathered in front of the City Hall building on Bagby to speak out against recent historical preservation measures passed by the office of Mayor Annie Parker.

In between chants of "Where's the vote? We want out!" and the waving of handmade signs that read "Mayor Parker, Let Our People Go," residents of the aforementioned districts spoke out against the recent changes made to Houston's historic preservation rules.

By June 8 of last year, Woodland Heights, Glenbrook Valley and Heights South (which has since gone through a reconsideration process) had turned in their respective historic district applications that had a fifteen-year-old historic preservation ordinance attached. On October 13, the city adopted a new ordinance that, in the minds of some protesters, adds another unnecessary layer of red tape to home modifications.

Here's where the alleged switcheroo comes in: These neighborhoods are bound to the recently passed amendments, even though petitions were signed with the old ordinance in place. This, in other words, makes the subdivisions de facto historic districts bound to heftier provisions.

Another common complaint amongst the members of the rally is that city council hasn't voted on the issue for a year. If approved, Heights South, Woodland Heights and Glenbrook Valley would become historically preserved.

"The focus of the rally is not to express support or opposition to historic designation," says Glenbrook Valley's Stephen Stovall. "Our only message is to demand that the mayor bring the matter up for a vote by city council."

Heights South homeowner Shannon Cunningham adds, "We're not necessarily against historic preservation. We just don't agree with the process and that it has taken [city council] so long to vote."

Marlene Gafrick, City of Houston's Planning and Development Department director, tells Hair Balls that in order to become a historic district, three bodies, in the following order, have to approve: the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (HAHC), the Planning and Development Department and City Council. Heights South, Woodland Heights and Glenbrook Valley are awaiting that final step.

Gafrick adds that she expects Mayor Parker to put these issues on the agenda after the budget is approved. Once there, Gafrick says that city council can cast a yes, no or a yes with modified district boundaries.

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26 comments
Trina Evenhouse
Trina Evenhouse

UN agenda 21 coming to a city new you.. Alway implemented through Historical, Planning and Development, EPA, Green, Sustainable, Preservation.  After implemented they will use your money paid to trustees to take your property....Democratic and UN control...Pay attention....

Maria isabel
Maria isabel

1 2 3 4, we want parker out the door!too many policies that are damaging to my family and many other houstonians.

BettyGetReady
BettyGetReady

WOW......Defensive aren't we...... The truth of the matter is that deeming a community Historic has its pros and cons.  Pros being the homeowners who CAN afford to follow the Ordinance codes will be happy homeowners  those that CAN NOT afford to maintain the codes will be forced to move......  I have done my homework ...You should do yours....

 Here is one example of a community who decided to Preserve.......A few homeowners in West Columbia Texas thought it was a great idea to preserve their community until the ordinance fees stockpiled............  www.westcolumbiatx.org%2Findex.aspx%3FNID%3D898&t=West+Columbia%2C+TX+-+Official+Website+-+Code+Enforcement

As for GLENBROOK VALLEY..... A community lives together not reside apart!

Rps324
Rps324

Homeowners are NOT required to make changes to their home. 

They do not need to hire a historic specialist

foundations?  What is she talking about?

The petitions in Glenbrook Valley were in both English and Spanish

The incomes she lists include the apartments on Broadway.

Betty why are you such a pathetic liar?

BettyGetReady
BettyGetReady

Many Many Downsides.  In preserving Glennbrook making sure that all homes remain archaelogically correct for the era.  Homeowners are required to make changes to their homes  NOT ONLY are thery required to make historical changes to their homes.  They must Hire a Historical specialist to return the home back to its historic state. Changes in reference to roofs, foundations rwindows, the list goes on.  If THEY DO NOT MAKE THESE CHANGES  they will be fined heavily every month until they sell or make the change.   Another unfortunate factThe petition was in english  Many spanish speaking  only residents signing a petition that they did ot understand..  Right they should not have however they should have been shown this in Spanish.  The votes were tallied by lot not by owner.  Many owners have more than 1 lot  which of course drive the chance for historic preservation up.  Some lot owners deceased. These lots were thrown into the Signed petition .  . Here is a little info.. The median property tax bill for all homes in Glenbrook Valley is $2,002, With a MEDIAN Income of $27,841 ONLY ranking 6th OUT OF THE 51 VOTES NEEDED TO PASS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION ....The top property taxpayer in Glenbrook Valley  The highest tax bill is $8,705    Point.  More than Half of the Area can afford the Historical refurbishes and others can not.  refer to   homeshttp://www.google.com/url...

BettyGetReady
BettyGetReady

Many Many Downsides.  In preserving Glennbrook making sure that all homes remain archaelogically correct for the era.  Homeowners are required to make changes to their homes  NOT ONLY are thery required to make historical changes to their homes.  They must Hire a Historical specialist to return the home back to its historic state. Changes in reference to roofs, foundations rwindows, the list goes on.  If THEY DO NOT MAKE THESE CHANGES  they will be fined heavily every month until they sell or make the change.   Another unfortunate factThe petition was in english  Many spanish speaking  only residents signing a petition that they did ot understand..  Right they should not have however they should have been shown this in Spanish.  The votes were tallied by lot not by owner.  Many owners have more than 1 lot  which of course drive the chance for historic preservation up.  Some lot owners deceased. These lots were thrown into the Signed petition .  . Here is a little info.. The median property tax bill for all homes in Glenbrook Valley is $2,002, With a MEDIAN Income of $27,841 ONLY ranking 6th OUT OF THE 51 VOTES NEEDED TO PASS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION ....The top property taxpayer in Glenbrook Valley  The highest tax bill is $8,705    Point.  More than Half of the Area can afford the Historical refurbishes and others can not.  refer to   homeshttp://www.google.com/url...

BettyGetReady
BettyGetReady

Many Many Downsides.  In preserving Glennbrook making sure that all homes remain archaelogically correct for the era.  Homeowners are required to make changes to their homes  NOT ONLY are thery required to make historical changes to their homes.  They must Hire a Historical specialist to return the home back to its historic state. Changes in reference to roofs, foundations rwindows, the list goes on.  If THEY DO NOT MAKE THESE CHANGES  they will be fined heavily every month until they sell or make the change.   Another unfortunate factThe petition was in english  Many spanish speaking  only residents signing a petition that they did ot understand..  Right they should not have however they should have been shown this in Spanish.  The votes were tallied by lot not by owner.  Many owners have more than 1 lot  which of course drive the chance for historic preservation up.  Some lot owners deceased. These lots were thrown into the Signed petition .  . Here is a little info.. The median property tax bill for all homes in Glenbrook Valley is $2,002, With a MEDIAN Income of $27,841 ONLY ranking 6th OUT OF THE 51 VOTES NEEDED TO PASS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION ....The top property taxpayer in Glenbrook Valley  The highest tax bill is $8,705    Point.  More than Half of the Area can afford the Historical refurbishes and others can not.  refer to   homeshttp://www.google.com/url...

Tandcw
Tandcw

In my mental youth, I always assumed that those protesting for Historic Preservation were near holy and undoubtedly correct in their views. After reading some, the situation is more nuanced than that. Preservation often has some downsides.....anyone?

Jackiep
Jackiep

I'll zero out your vote.  She stood up to the developers and realtors out to make a quick buck and destroying my neightborhood in the process.  1, 2, 3, 4...Mayor Parker forevermore!

JA
JA

Oh, I get what you are trying to say.  Correct me if I am wrong....

What you are trying to say is that the ordinance can be changed at any time, meaning that it can become as restrictive as you were describing.  If that is the case, I agree.

Regia
Regia

WOW! looks like someone is a little testy, are we?  hmmmm, wonder if it's bc he's about to loose his marketing tool to try to inflate prices, while inflating his pocket book, in GBV now that the jig is up?  Naw, surely he wants the best for the residents of the same neighborhood he CLAIMS to reside in. Nothing for him to gain WHAT SO EVER, off of the backs of people who trusted thier civic club leaders to do the right thing.

Garbanzo
Garbanzo

" Homeowners are required to make changes to their homes ... They must Hire a Historical specialist to return the home back to its historic state."

Citation please. Could you please point out where in the ordinance it says the homeowner must hire a "historical specialist"?

"If THEY DO NOT MAKE THESE CHANGES  they will be fined heavily every month until they sell or make the change."

Could you please let me know how much the city has collected in fines from those who have violated the preservation ordinance?

WhiskeyR
WhiskeyR

So I'm guessing you agree with the previous two posters...

Jackiep
Jackiep

Betty, you are 100% wrong.  I am a lawyer--and I have read the complete ordinance three times.  You can't be fined for doing nothing to your property (unless you qualify as a dangerous nuisance, which was already the case) and there is no requirement to return property to historic state.  IF you alter or renovate, ONLY THEN do the rules apply.  You can't make changes unless you do so in a way that is historically and visually compatible.

By the way, it wasn't 51 votes needed; it was 51 PERCENT.  Big difference.

Rps324
Rps324

Everything BettyGetReady put in this is a lie and shows just how the opponents lied and misled people to get retractions. 

For starters, learn how to spell the neighborhood correctly, it is Glenbrook Valley, not Glennbrook. 

The historic ordinance does not make people do foundationw work or hire a historic specialist.  That is all made up.  It does not make people who own previously renovated homes revert them back, another outrageous lie. 

If people don't want it because they feel it is an intrusion of property rights or they just don't want the extra layer of red tape, fine.  Those are legitimate reasons.  Bettygetready is just a liar. 

BettyGetReady
BettyGetReady

Yes..... When the city takes over and the deep pockets move in, over time the community will change...the aesthetics may be appealing but it will come at a cost..... To some, their home..... If you are a resident. Keep in mind. What is said today may change in a unanimous vote.....a vote that you MAY NOT be aware of. The deep pockets of Developers can be hard to challenge. Good Luck to Glenbrook Valley.

BettyGetReady
BettyGetReady

Hairballs. Am I really wrong?!?!........Take a look at West Columbia Texas.See the ordinance code violation fees that acrud over tim> Jackiep(unregistered) wrote, in response to BettyGetReady:

Bettygetready
Bettygetready

RPS  Clearly you are excercising the right of the FIRST AMENDMENT, However,the TRUTH is that  You WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BY THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION.  YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY  and YOUR checkbook will not be affected either way.   Redirect you intent to fight an issue that WILL affect you and leave GleNbrook business to the residents of GLENBROOK. 

JA
JA

RPS324, (which i believe is the prefix to the email address rps32@msn.com that belongs to a realtor who does business in Glenbrook Valley.)You are correct, BettyGetReady is incorrect in his/her understanding of the city's preservation notice, but I wouldn't be so rude as to call him/her a liar.  Furthermore, I wouldn't try to attach her to a group who knows the truth about what happened in GBV.  Such actions by you look desperate, petty, and childish. 

So let's do this, we will say BGR is confused and we will also ask everyone reading these comments to disregard what he/she said.  Then we will state facts:

Fact: The petitions were in both English and Spanish.  The problem with the Spanish petition is in the line were the non-English speaker states the he/she read the English only ordinance.  Did your side FULLY translate the ordinance, RPS? No, you did not.

Fact: People who opposed the historic district designation were treated with disrespect and malice by you and people whom you associate with. 

Fact: After being PROPERLY notified of the restrictions the ordinance puts on homeowners, enough retractions were collected to bring the support level down to 45%. 

Fact:  We are constantly getting phone calls from residents of GBV asking to be removed from the list of supporters.  We tell them its too late but it stands as a testimonial of your side's utter failure to properly inform YOUR NEIGHBORS. 

RPS324, I think your time would be better served making amends with your neighbors than to be calling people names on a comment board.  

Rps324
Rps324

Thank you for showing just how far you all will go to twist things, truly sad.  

JA
JA

Thank you for the well wishes.  I have faith that Mayor Parker and enough city council members will do the right thing.  Now that you have had the opportunity to clarify your comments, I wonder if RPS will apologize?  You can ask him to if you wish - you have his email address.

Bettygetready
Bettygetready

JA  Thanks for spelling out the intent of my post and clarifying the facts :)

MRM
MRM

The City prepared summaries are true and correct representations of the ordinances. Your opinion of them is colored by your very strong anti-ordinance stance.  Your "job" was easy. The information that GetReadyBetty and others rely on is at best "confused" and more appropriately categorized as fabricated.

There are discrepancies in the petitions, just as there are in your retractions that are on file with the City.  These errors don't rise to fraud or forgeries and the process is intentionally designed to eliminate as many errors as possible. The key words in your comment is "a few."

JA
JA

I don't recall any of the summaries including a true representation of the process needed to make modifications to your home.  I wish it did because it would have made my job a whole lot easier!  Probably would have had 20% support in GBV.  As far as forgeries go, I recall a certain story on ABC 13 that validated that claim.  Also, what of the multiple signatures from the same person?  There are a few examples of that too.  The truth is that those things exist.  They have been reported on and they are on file with the city.  Were the advocates in GBV the ones responsible?  Probably not, but they sure didn't mind them being used to get the necessary percentage. 

MRM
MRM

JA's "Half facts" Facts:

The sentence in the petition is " I (we) have read the City of Houston preservation ordinance or a summary of it and understand how it will apply to my (our) property." Summaries of both the old and new ordinances prepared by the City in English and Spanish were provided to all homeowners by proponents of historic preservation when the petitions were signed and by multiple mailings. Additionally, the City mailed the multi-language summary of the new ordinance to all homeowners in the proposed districts.

JA and the associated Heights realtors group certainly lost the respect of proponents when they declared war on the neighborhood with their unfounded allegations of fraud, forgery and racism, but that doesn't amount to "malice and disrespect."

BettyGetReady's first post is Exhibit 1 of JA's version of a properly notified homeowner and the methods that were used by the anti-historic preservation group.

Rps324
Rps324

Confused? I would think so if it was the first time this deliberate misinformation was spread to obtain retractions.  Lies are lies even if you want to sugar coat them. 

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