San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 5th, 2008
Hopkins historic district gets first OK

UPDATED | 7:43 p.m. Feb. 5: The historic district is approved 6-0-1 on the first of three votes without discussion. Council member John Thomaides abstained because his home is on the street.

Managing Editor

More than two years after the last attempt failed in a parliamentary muddle, the city council is scheduled to consider tonight designation of a historical district along West Hopkins Street.

With some of the city’s oldest and most architecturally significant homes, the neighborhood includes the Augusta Hofheinz House, 1104 Hopkins St., the Walter Hofheinz House, 819 Hopkins Street, and the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, now an office at 516 Hopkins St. All three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Augusta Hofheinz House is a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark.

But the district also includes more than a few decidedly non-historical commercial and residential property making it a difficult call for leaders in years past.

In 2005, the proposal failed 3-2-2 in the city council when member John Thomaides and then-member Ed Mihalkanin recused themselves because they both own homes in the proposed district. The resulting plurality, led by Mayor Susan Narvaiz, fell short of the required majority of the full body.

Now the plan is back on the table with unanimous backing of both the city’s planning and zoning commission and the historical preservation commission.

Owners of property in a historic district cannot add to or alter the exterior of their property, except for paint color, without securing a “certificate of appropriateness” from the historical commission. Appropriateness is determined relative to the property in question’s age and historical value, not that of surrounding property.

The same year, the council approved creation of the Burleson and Lindsay-Rogers historical districts adjoining the proposed Hopkins district. The San Antonio Street and Dunbar neighborhoods on the other side of Hopkins were previously designated.

The council’s regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. today.

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