Today, for the reading of ordinances, our City Council voted unanimously for item 32 on the agenda, deleting Section 20.20.080.A.1 of the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, which purported to regulate properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The vote was 5-0 with Reps. Annello, Hernandez, and Canales absent.
There will be a final vote, with public comment, at the next City Council meeting in two weeks.
The Texas Historical Commission and § 60.2 of the Code of Federal Regulations make very clear that privately-owned National Register properties are not subject to any regulations unless their owners wish to apply for historic tax credits to restore them
Thus, Section 20.20.080.A.1, which had been on the City books for decades, violated federal law.
For years, critics of establishing a Downtown El Paso National Register Historic District cited Section 20.20.080.A.1 as the reason for their opposition, even though the City declared publicly that their concern is unfounded.
Now that the section has been deleted, the City can finally support the County’s plan to establish the proposed district so that generous federal and state tax credits will become available to restore the 191 historic properties in our Downtown.
That would include the 12 historic buildings within the former “Arena Footprint” in Duranguito, which will need those tax credits if they are to be sold to private investors who wish to restore them.
MAYOR LEESER NEEDS TO WRITE A LETTER TO THE TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
Once the section is question is deleted, the next step will be for Mayor Leeser to write a letter to the Texas Historical Commission supporting the County’s plan to establish a National Register Historic District in Downtown El Paso.
At this point there is no conceivable reason to oppose this project.