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Tuesday, February 4, 2014 by Elizabeth Pagano
Commission votes to initiate historic zoning on Clarksville house
A band of Clarksville residents won their first victory at the Historic Landmark Commission last week. They found unanimous support for historic zoning on a house that they say is integral to their community’s history.
The commission voted
The house, which is a contributing historic structure in the Clarksville National Register Historic District, was built in 1950 by Cary Baylor. Beginning in 1953, Mary Frances Freeman Baylor and Charles Edward Baylor resided in the house, where they lived until 1971.
Mary Baylor is
Baylor held community meetings at the house that addressed the need for paved roads,
“In a lot of
Two of Baylor’s
“Mary Baylor was my friend, and she was my conscience,” said Greenstein. “She got people to do things. And because of her, the neighborhood is the way it is. We started a corporation to slow down gentrification in Clarksville. We own 14 units of low- and moderate- housing. Clarksville is a mixed neighborhood, in large part, to Mary Baylor’s vision.”
Though initially the owners were asking for permission to demolish the house, they are now hoping to move the house outside the city limits. This is despite assertions from professional home mover Kevin Whitworth, who told the commission that the house “is worth zero dollars.”
“It just doesn’t make sense, with the values of the properties in that neighborhood, to try and restore it,” said Whitworth, who went on to explain that a new house would help the neighborhood to improve, essentially honoring Baylor’s legacy.
“I’m trying to create a
Clarksville Community Development Organization
“The owner is in this situation because he made a bad decision when he purchased 1607, despite the fact that he is a realtor,” said Reed. “He went ahead and bought a home that presents him with a whole host of problems. A tiny, historically-contributing house in a National Historic District. A home that sits on a very small lot… He would have been far better off purchasing a house in a less-urban neighborhood.”
Though the Historic Landmark Commission voted unanimously to approve the historic zoning, City Council will ultimately have to approve the change for it to take effect. Chair Laurie Limbacher and Commissioner Terri Myers were absent.
“I think it’s our responsibility to maintain the character of historic districts and, particular, buildings of significance,” said Commissioner Dan Leary. “I think we would be remiss if we didn’t establish historic zoning on this house.”
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Historic Landmark Commission: The city’s Historic Landmark Commission promotes historic preservation of buildings and structures. The commission also reviews applications and permits for historic zoning and historic grants.
historic preservation: Official actions of a municipality such as the City of Austin taken to preserve structures with their jurisdiction. Preservation is often accompanied by a property tax exemption.