Judge rules in favor of city district
The City of Fredericksburg’s Historic District expansion ordinance in now back in effect following a ruling last week from 216th District Court Judge Keith Williams.
According to City of Fredericksburg Historic Preservation Officer Anna Hudson, a temporary restraining order remains in effect for the property that is the basis for the lawsuit, located at 602 West Travis Street.
“The restraining order was reduced to the property in question on West Travis, which will allow the city to negotiate with the property owners,” Hudson said.
“We are working with the Blairs with the hopes that things get worked out,” City Manager Kent Myers said.
Because of the ruling, the ordinance pertaining to the expansion of the historic district, passed by the city in June, is now in effect.
“This is really one of the first cases that pertains to House Bill 2496 across the state, so its implication may be seen across the state,” Hudson said. “We didn’t really want to be the guinea pigs on this issue, but here we are.”
HB 2496 relates to the designation of property as a historic landmark by a municipality.
It states: “For the designation of a historic landmark, a municipality that has established a process for designating places or areas of historical, cultural or architectural importance or significance through the adoption of zoning regulations or zoning district boundaries may not designate a historic landmark” unless consent is given by the property owner or it is approved by a three-fourths vote.
The bill pertains to historic landmarking rather than historic districting, according to Hudson.
“We feel like we have a strong case, and we have entities such as the Texas Municipal League on our side,” Myers said. “I think we set a strong precedent across the state for any cases that may come up in the future concerning historic districts and landmarks.”
The property on 602 West Travis street is owned by Ed and Rena Blair.
According to the Gillespie Central Appraisal District, the Blairs purchased the 1.8-acre tract in March 2015. The property was appraised at $270,410 in 2019, up $18,540 in one year.
Currently, according to a local real estate listing, it is on the market for $1.25 million.