The Waxahachie City Council adopted historic residential design guidelines during its Monday, Nov. 15, meeting for homeowners and developers doing work in the city.
Downtown development director and heritage preservation officer Anita Simpson presented the guidelines for consideration.
“This is the culmination of about two years’ worth of work for the Heritage Preservation Commission,” Simpson said. “We got our downtown guidelines in 2011 and they have proved to be an exceptional tool for the commission and all of our property owners and developers. We anticipate that these residential guidelines will be a great tool for our residential property owners.”
The residential design guidelines cover topics including proper maintenance, repair, and restoration of historic buildings. The guidelines also cover additions to historic properties and infill development in historic neighborhoods.
“Everything is voluntary,” Simpson said. “This is not a regulatory document. This is a guide to help people maintain their property properly. There are no rules that they have to follow. This is information to help them protect the integrity of their investment. So, it is going to be a great tool for our property owners.”
HPC’s mission is to assist in the preservation of historic Waxahachie. When considering historic properties for its tax exemption and incentive programs, HPC only looks at the exterior of properties. More than 200 properties each year participate in the tax exemption and incentive programs.
Simpson said the need to have residential design guidelines was due to home renovation television shows’ influence on historic neighborhoods.
HPC contracted with Winter & Company to assist it with the residential guidelines. The planning and urban design firm consults nationwide with public agencies, downtown improvement committees, and property owners.
The project was partially funded through a certified local government grant from the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior that was administered by the Texas Historical Commission. The remaining funds came from the city of Waxahachie’s general fund.
The residential design guidelines are available through the city’s website, www.waxahachie.com. People can also stop by city hall at 401 S. Rogers St. in downtown Waxahachie.