Historic Preservation depends almost entirely on the active support of the owners of historic properties. Without individuals willing to devote their time, energy and money towards keeping up the historic homes in Westmoreland, our unique window into historic Houston would have passed away.
There is a legal framework in place to assist in historic preservation as well. Only a few of these laws will apply to a property without the voluntary participation of the owner.
The City of Houston, State of Texas, and the United States government all have laws directed at the preservation of historic properties. The jurisdictions establish a variety of potentially applicable laws to the properties in Westmoreland. The owners here have made use of most of them.
Westmoreland has also seen one of its houses preserved by removing it from the neighborhood and locating it in Sam Houston Park. The Staiti House, formerly located at 421 Westmoreland was purchased by the Heritage Society and moved to Sam Houston park and made available to the public.
Generally speaking, laws directed towards historic preservation fall into three categories:
Recognition Restriction Reward
Westmoreland is subject to three jurisdictions that have active programs geared towards historic preservation
Recognition laws directed at recognition allow for the formal designation of properties or districts as historic. Formal designation may or may not carry with it additional meaning, but often the primary goal is public education and opportunity for appreciation of the historic nature of the buildings in the area. The Westmoreland neighborhood has been recognized by the National Register and the City of Houston as a Historic District. Several individual properties in Westmoreland have been recognized by the National Register, the State of Texas, and the City of Houston as historically significant buildings.
Restriction Owners can restrict changes to their property by private easement or restriction, or the property may be subject to additional legal restriction by the City, State or Federal Government in certain cases. In the Westmoreland District, because of our status as one of the City of Houston's Historical Districts, any new construction, and any major change to the appearance of a building that contributes or potentially contributes to the historic character of the district, must submit an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness. More stringent restrictions on construction and the application of state or federal law to property in Westmoreland depend on the participation of the individual landowner.
Reward The City, State and Federal government have a variety of programs aimed at reducing the taxes or making direct financial assistance available for owners who commit to historic preservation and spend funds to renovate and restore historic properties.