At that time, I pointed out that if one accepted the premise underlying the ordinance--that it is proper for council to violate property rights--it would only be a matter of time before somebody would demand a complete prohibition on demolitions of historic buildings. In a remarkable display of evasion, a council member remarked that he could not concern himself with what future councils decided.
My "prediction" is indeed coming true, as city council has enacted a "temporary" moratorium on any demolitions of in historic districts. According to the Chronicle, preservationists aren't happy with the current ordinance:
“The 90-day ordinance we have has not worked to preserve the historic character of the city of Houston,” said David Beale, a resident of the West Heights Historic District who has fought a development under way to build four homes where there once were two. “We need a better ordinance, we need a new ordinance, and this new temporary ordinance will give us the time that we need.”The "compromise" reached on the original ordinance was a complete surrender--it established the principle that council could restrict or prohibit the demolition of buildings deemed historic, regardless of the desires or judgment of the property owner. That the ordinance established a 90-day waiting period was only a minor detail.
In principle, the ordinance stated that, for 90-days the city can dictate what a property owner can do. But what is so magic about 90-days? Why not 120-days, or 180-days, or 3-years, or forever? In principle, if 90-days is proper and just, then so is any amount of time.
The fact is, any controls on land-use that initiate force against property owners (as the preservation ordinance does) are improper and unjust. The preservation ordinance should not be strengthened; it should be repealed.