Urban conservation staff members will review alterations to interior fixtures of all buildings more than 50 years old to determine compliance with an emergency ordinance adopted last week by the Board of City Directors.
The measure was hurriedly passed to stop the removal of more valuable fixtures from the Blacker House, a house designed by pioneering architects Charles and Henry Greene and acquired last month by a Texas rancher who removed its light fixtures. But officials of the city’s Cultural Heritage commission said the ordinance could affect thousands of buildings because about one-third of all the structures in the city were built before 1935.
Although it has been referred to as a moratorium, the measure does not bar interior alterations, the officials said, adding that it will expire in 90 days unless extended by the board of directors. Urban conservation staff assigned to the Building Department will review building permit applications to decide whether the structures involved are landmarks and whether proposed changes might harm their status. If so, a Cultural Heritage Commission member will review the decision and if he agrees with the staff member, the full commission will review the changes. Their decision may be appealed to the board of directors. Buildings in which alterations are deemed to have no adverse impact will be subject to normal permit procedures.