Houston Strategies – Historic preservation should be a neighborhood choice
“In Houston’s Old Sixth Ward, the city’s first fully protected district, property values have shot up 27 percent in the last year. When given the chance, historic preservation works.”
This is great news! It means there should be absolutely no problem getting voluntary neighborhood buy-in for deed restrictions. If it boosts their values, who could be opposed? Why do we need the government to impose it, when it’s obviously in their own self-interest?
I argued a similar point in comments about the Carroll Gardens’ downzoning. In the case of Historic Preservation, neighbors could voluntarily form a corporation that owns facade easements on their properties. The corporation would protect the historic structures via property rights, as opposed to by mandate. Outsiders could always donate money to the corporation to buy easements on certain historic properties or make repairs. Did you know that facade easement donations by owners of historic buildings are considered tax-deductible contributions?
If a municipality really feels it needs to step in, it could purchase those easements at market price, but it would probably be unnecessary.