Texas Heritage, Special Issue: Annual Convention 1984

The Preservation Center of North Texas, Inc.

Recent interest and involvement in historic preservation
by public and private sectors in North Texas
has been nothing short of spectacular. While part of
the energy can. be attributed to increased public
awareness in this rapidly growing region, financial incentives
and the role of a few local governments has
also contributed to the entire enterprise. Information,
educational programs, and technical assistance
have been extremely limited. It was in this environment
that the Preservation Center for North Texas,
Inc. developed.
The Center provides technical services and advice
to individuals and communities on preservation issues
in the North Texas Region. The Center further
provides educational programs and literature on
preservation and, in general, facilitates preservation
activities for both public and private sectors. Additionally,
the Preservation Center is chartered as a
non-profit corporation to accept facade easements.
The Preservation Center has become a successful
consortium of area professionals and selected faculty
in the School of Architecture and Environmental Design
at the University of Texas at Arlington. Since its
incorporation in September 1983, the Center has
sponsored one conference, and has developed the
technical mini-conference for the Texas Historical
Foundation's Annual Convention.
The series of seminars presented by the Preservation
Center at the Annual Convention of the Texas
Historical Foundation will focus on translating good
intentions into good programs and projects. The format
of the sessions will permit you to select that seminar
which coincides with your interest. Regardless
of whether you are a member of a local Landmark
Committee, a citizen activist, or an entrepreneur, this
conference is for you. If you want to get the facts on
zoning, architecture, taxes and planning, this conference
is a first step. If you have wondered about how
to begin or improve your community's preservation
program or your knowledge of preservation, this conference
is essential.
Kenneth Breisch, Architectural Historian for the
Texas Historical Commission, will present a lecture
on the National Register Program, its criteria and process.
Ken's presentation will increase your understanding
of the relationship between the National
Register and the state-administered financial assistance
for surveys; a necessary first step in implementing
a successful Landmark program.
Professor Michael Yardley's presentation on dominant
architectural styles in Texas will cover the primary
periods and basic vocabulary. An understanding
of the specific characteristics, the duration of a style's
period and common qualities is an important component
of any preservation effort.
The link between architectural style and structural
detail is crucial in analyzing a building's past and its
significance. A structure that has been "updated" may
have been stripped of its more obvious architectural
qualities. Details provide accurate links to a building's
past and period, especially when the period is obscure
as in many transitional styles common in residential
architecture. Professor Richard Ferrier's presentation
will deal with this issue.
Because of the extensive amount of case law supporting
local ordinances and historic preservation,
zoning must be considered as the cornerstone of any
viable preservation program. Alan Mason was for five
years the principal preservation planner for the City
of Dallas, and was responsible for the development of
an ordinance that successfully coordinated zoning

Photo by Craig Kuhner, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Arlington

and comprehensive preservation planning. The important
links between the basic zoning precedents
and their relevance to Texas will be examined. This
presentation will be of particular interest to anyone
that needs to understand more of the basic legal concepts
of police power (zoning) and eminent domain
and their application to preservation policies.
Alan's experience in the development and administration
of landmark committees will be of immense
value to anyone involved in the process anywhere in
the state. Because of the evolutionary nature of the
Dallas preservation program, this "warts and all" presentation
will be valuable to those new and experienced
in preservation.
Preservationists are often perplexed by what they
consider to be questionable decisions by the developer
and often forget the developer is in business to
make a profit. Even developers whose values go beyond
those of the ledger must resolve conflicts between
those qualities they would like and those they
can afford. It is Jim Hengstenberg's responsibility to
resolve those issues for the Pinnacle Group in Dallas.
While decisions must be consistent with good management,
assessing the value of a structure's aesthetic
and cultural contribution to a community is difficult
even under the best of circumstances. This presentation
will provide a broader understanding of the developer's
role and the necessity for a balanced perspective
of preservation.
Two' seminars in particular will deal directly with
financial incentives and their link to successful preservation
activities. First, while federal programs have
for many years provided direct or indirect subsidies,
no legislation has engaged the private sector to the
extent permitted in the 1981 Tax Recovery Act. This
law, and its subsequent modifications, has had a dramatic
effect toward eliminating the economic incentives
that supported the demolition of historic structures.
Dennis Allen, a Dallas CPA, is aware that jargon
often clouds an understanding between an accountant
and client. His presentation of the application of
the 1981 Tax Act to the preservation of historic

structures has been developed for laymen in
particular.
The second seminar on economic issues will be
presented by Professor R. Gene Brooks. The topic is
Municipal Tax Incentives and concerns techniques
being used by communities to support preservation
at the local level. The presentation compares how
major Texas cities use this progressive technique and
will review and compare the outstanding features of
five ordinances and how they have produced successful
and equitable tax incentives for historic preservation.
While there are differences in the ways the communities
have formulated their programs, a local
incentive program is the most effective single strategy
local governments can use to support historic
preservation.
Facade easements have a great potential to supplement
local municipal programs and enhance the feasibility
of individual projects. Although facade easements
have not enjoyed broad use here in Texas
(with the exception of the Galveston Historical Foundation's
efforts on the Strand), the concept has been
employed successfully in other parts of the United
States. But with the passage of the Conservation Easement
Act in May 1983, the Texas Legislature eliminated
the primary legal constraint to this important
technique. Boyd Mooney and Prof. Brooks will
present the case for this preservation strategy that
has been so successful in New Orleans, San Francisco,
Washington D.C., and Charleston, S.C.
The emergence of the Texas Antiquities Committee
is one of the most significant changes in the role
of the State to occur in recent history and an understanding
of the agency's change and function will be
of great benefit to every preservation activist. Dr.
Fred Wendorf, a faculty member in the Department
of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University,
was a pioneer in the development and establishment
of the Texas Antiquities Committee. His leadership
and participation as a member of the Committee provides
him with a keen insight into the Committee's
work and he will share that in his seminar.

Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Special Issue: Annual Convention 1984. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45448/. Accessed September 1, 2015.