GRAPEVINE — Concerns over new construction and additions to historically designated properties have prompted city officials to consider changing the Historic Preservation ordinance.Citizen input at a public hearing at the March 5 City Council meeting was mostly positive regarding possible updates to the ordinance.Scott Williams, director of development sources, outlined the issues and proposed amendments at the meeting.“Our ordinance is generally quite weak,” Williams said. “What we have now is really guidelines. If adopted by the council, this would be an ordinance that would give the Historic Preservation Commission the tools they need to review these cases.”David Klempin, historic preservation officer, agreed.“We’re looking at dealing with issues before they become issues,” Klempin said.The City Council meeting drew about a dozen speakers, including Adam Troeger, who owns a home in the historic district on Worth Street.“I want to thank you for helping us preserve what we have,” Troeger said.His mother, Linda Troeger, who does not live in Grapevine, said she takes issue with a home in the 300 block of East College Street where the owner has done extensive renovations.“It’s built from front to back,” said Linda Troeger. It puts everything around it in shadows.”David Cox, who owns the home, said he is aware of the criticism his home is receiving, but it is unfair because he received approval from the city to build it.Cox grew up in the 1927 home that his parents bought in 1983. His mother died and his father wanted to move, so Cox bought the house from him in a “handshake deal.”“I decided to move back home,” said Cox, a Dallas businessman. “I did it for sentimental reasons.”He began demolition and construction in June and his family moved in on Jan. 9. The size grew from approximately 1,700 square feet to approximately 4,000 square feet, he said.Cox attended the March 5 City Council meeting, but did not speak.Williams said no home was the catalyst for the city’s recent efforts.“We’re looking at it from a broad view,” he said.City Manager Bruno Rumbelow said he was supportive of possible changes because there are instances of people building large homes next to bungalows.He said the city is “trying to do something unique” by strengthening existing rules.“Everybody’s got a good idea about what we’re trying to do,” the city manager said.“I’ve seen a lot of changes, some I’m not completely happy with,” said Carolyn Ernst, who lives on Wood Street.The proposed amendments will apply only to single family structures in historic districts or on individual properties with an historic landmark sub-district overlay.Anne Somerfeld, who said she lives in “one of those cute little houses” in the historic district, said she appreciated the city “trying to keep the integrity” of the historic areas.“I love the historic district,” said Somerfeld, who has lived on Worth Street for nine years.Significant elements of the proposed amendments include:-- Requirement for applicant to submit drawings showing the proposed structures on each side of it.-- Maximum floor area not to exceed by more than 10 percent the largest house within 300 feet, but never to exceed 3,400 square feet.-- Total area of the floor shall not exceed 65 percent of the area of the first floor.Structures already built would not have to modify to fit the criteria, but they would have to adhere to new codes when making updates.The council took no action at the March 5 meeting, but Rumbelow said they will seek further input from the community, including another public hearing, before making any changes.“I think the staff has come up with some good recommendations,” Rumbelow said.
Marty Sabota, 817-431-2231