Grapevine City Council approves historic preservation ordinance

Posted Monday, Jun. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that will strengthen the requirements for residential structures within the historic district at a recent meeting.

The vote ends months of discussion and two public hearings regarding the controversial change.

Concerns over new construction and additions to historically designated properties prompted Mayor William D. Tate, council members and city officials to consider changes to the Historic Preservation ordinance.

Development Sources director Scott Williams said concerns were raised because the current ordinance was considered “generally quite weak” and was more a set of guidelines than restrictions.

Historic preservation officer David Klempin said the time was right for making changes “before they become issues.”

A home owned by David Cox, a Dallas businessman, came under fire by some residents. With approval under the old ordinance, Cox extensively renovated his boyhood home on East College Street, and its size grew from approximately 1,700 square feet to approximately 4,000 square feet. The houses on either side are much closer to the size of the original structure.

“It’s built from front to back,” Linda Troeger, a neighbor, told the Star-Telegram in March. “It puts everything around it in shadows.”

City manager Bruno Rumbelow said he was supportive of the changes because there were too many instances of people building large homes next to bungalows.

He said the city was “trying to do something unique” by strengthening existing rules.

The proposed amendments will apply only to single family structures in historic districts and individual properties with an historic landmark sub-district overlay.

Significant elements of the proposed amendments include a requirement that an applicant submit drawings showing the proposed structure and the structures on each side. Maximum floor area can not exceed 3,400 square feet.

Detached garages and storage buildings of certain sizes will not count toward the total floor area.

Mayor Pro Tem Shane Wilbanks said that although the Council recognizes the requirements “may need to be tweaked from time to time, I think it’s a good ordinance.”

Wilbanks said he believes the new ordinance “retains the historic flavor” while trying to “accommodate people trying to rebuild.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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