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Proposal could preserve historic buildings

By DAVID TEWES
Oct. 3, 2010 at 5:03 a.m.

Denise Rangel

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Victoria City Council meeting

WHERE: 107 W. Juan Linn St.

WHEN: 5 p.m. Tuesday

More of Victoria's historic buildings might be saved from being bulldozed if a proposed ordinance becomes law.

The city council will meet Tuesday to consider imposing a 60-day moratorium on demolition of historic structures in the city. That could be extended for a second 60-day period by the council.

"I think being able to salvage a historic structure is critical," said council member Denise Rangel, who proposed the ordinance. "If we could save just one house every five years, that's pretty incredible."

Her idea was sparked by demolition earlier this year of the Krenek House that sat at the corner of Main and North streets for 84 years. It was demolished because of its deteriorating condition.

The structure was listed with the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places for its unique architecture. It was a rare Spanish colonial revival home.

Jared Mayfield, the city's planning manager, said the regulations would apply to structures in the city's historical districts. It would also apply to those outside the districts if they are listed as a Texas Landmark or on the National Register of Historic Places.

The buildings would have had to be constructed before 1950. The city would still have the option of razing a building that is declared unsafe.

Rangel said the 60-day moratorium would give the public a chance to find out historic buildings are about to be demolished. "Then someone could buy them, they could move them or they would work with the owners."

Mayor Pro Tem Paul Polasek said he likes that the ordinance is specific about what structures would be covered. He said he also likes that it doesn't permanently prevent a building from being demolished.

"But I have mixed feelings about it," he said. "I would like to hear from the public and have our discussion at our meeting before I make a final decision."

Council member Tom Halepaska said he'll probably support it if it would help preserve some of the city's history.

"There are things that I wish hadn't been torn down," he said. "The old Denver Hotel is one because it was quite an elegant hotel."

But he added he's not sure how much difference 60 days would make.

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