City of Grapevine Prepares to Remove More Property Rights in Historic District

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Grapevine, TexasThe City of Grapevine is working on a new ordinance in the historic district that will restrict size of homes, size of garages, distance between homes, and require presentation of photographs and drawings of construction proposals including the homes on both sides of construction areas. The ordinance is being developed under the guise of protecting the historic nature of the area.

Many residents on both sides of the issue gathered and voiced their concerns at the last two joint Planning and Zoning / City Council meetings.

Here are the problems:

Lack of Communication

Lack of communication is a recurring theme with city government. Given that this is the largest issue facing the city council today, you would think the city could make an extra effort to communicate the issue effectively. Here is a simple test. Go try to find the proposed ordinance regarding the new property rights in Grapevine’s historic district. Good luck.

The city should make an effort to place the proposed ordinance where it easy to find on the city website. Maybe even a link to in on the main page.

Property Rights

The proposed ordinance reduces the rights of property owners. Property owners would only be allowed to build a home or add on to an existing home to a maximum of 3,400 square feet in the historic district. The problem is the lots in this area are a wide range of sizes so putting a cookie cutter limitation on home size does not make much sense. And the size restriction is just the start of the restrictions.

The process of making construction changes becomes more rigorous and costly given the new restrictions. Homeowners would have to submit drawings and photographs of the proposed construction and surrounding houses to comply with the proposed ordinance. They would be at the mercy of the Historic Preservation Commission on construction decisions.  Not surprisingly, the ordinance is complicated and nuanced.

As a side note, Lazy Bones, a long time bar and restaurant in the historic district burned down over a year ago. At the time Lazy Bones was destroyed, the owner was quoted as saying he wanted to rebuild the restaurant exactly like it was before. Construction has not started on the new Lazy Bones and we can only imagine why.

Historic Preservation Commission

At last Tuesdays city council meeting, one home owner referred to the Historic Preservation Commission as a “Home owners association on steroids.” Whether that is accurate or not is still to be determined, but we cannot figure out why anyone would vote for giving up control of their property to such a commission.

This ordinance gives the Historic Preservation Commission new power and control over construction and renovation in the historic district. As mentioned earlier, this will not make the construction process any faster. City government is notoriously slow moving and Grapevine is no different in that regard.

Toward the end of the council meeting, Mayor William D. Tate commented that he did not hear any new suggestions in regard to changes to the proposed ordinance. Here’s our suggestion: Come up with a new ordinance with the sole purpose of giving property owners in the historic district more rights, not less.

58 Responses to City of Grapevine Prepares to Remove More Property Rights in Historic District

  1. Amanda J May 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Excellent article. Thank you for exposing this issue. One clarification that is important to make is that the vast majority of property owners that will be affected by this proposed ordinance will never be permitted to build a home anywhere near as large as 3,400 square foot because the proposed ordinance is actually much more restrictive than that. The proposed ordinance states that the total floor space cannot exceed by more than 10% the square footage of the largest home within 100 yards (but in no event larger than 3,400). For illustration purposes, if your lot is located between a 1,400 square foot home a 1,300 square foot home, then your home cannot exceed 1,540 square feet (1,400 +10%). Alternatively, if your lot is located between two homes that are each 4,000 square feet, then your home cannot exceed 3,400 square feet. Irrespective of lot size, home size will be determined based on the size of neighboring homes. The effect that this proposed ordinance will have is arbitrary and completely unreasonable. The City of Grapevine has plenty of power already. Does the City really need to take away more property rights from the residents of the Township?

  2. Amanda J May 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Oops…I said 100 yards, but I just re-read the public notice that we received and the proposed ordinance is actually even more restrictive than that. It says that lots are restricted by the size of homes within 100 FEET (not yards). Sorry about my mistake.

    Here is part of the language which was proposed at the public hearing:

    “Total floor area of all structures on the subject property shall not exceed by more than ten (10) percent, the largest total floor area of all structures on any lot on which a single family residential structure is located, any portion of which is located within a one hundred (100) foot radius….Under no circumstances shall the floor area of all structures on any lot exceed 3,400 square feet.”

  3. Joe May 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Thanks for the clarification. It doesn’t take more than a couple of scenarios to figure out how illogical that rule is. I probably should have touched on that in the article.

    It’s almost like they are trying to use a jack hammer to kill an ant.

  4. Amanda J May 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Great analogy, Joe. Does the Mayor, any of the City Council Members or any of the Historic Preservation Commissioners live in the Township? I would think that if they are governing like a “home owner’s association on steroids” the decision makers should be the home owners in the area affected. In other words, I wonder if the Mayor, the Council Members and the Commissioners are subject to the same irrational rules they are trying to put in place or are they just planning to impose those absurd rules on others (while they remain immune)?

    • Sam Thompson May 3, 2013 at 7:31 am #

      Amanda, great observation. Two additional things. First, when staff presented how the public hearing went to the Historical Preservation Commission (HPC), the indicated that generally, most of the presenters were infavor of the new ordinance. They failed to say that more spoke against the proposal than for it. They failed to say a petition, with over 100 signatures, was presented against it. They failed to say that letters were read into record against it. The commissioners were basically mislead. Second, two commissioners are in the area. One is Vic Cox and the second is Ashley Anderson. Ms Anderson was the only commissioner who voted against the new rules from the beginning. She is an attorney. I wonder why she voted against it!

      • Don Bigbie May 3, 2013 at 8:24 am #

        I was one of the ones who spoke against the “land grab” and control of our land by the city, at the public hearing. My position is well known and I appreciated being given the time to present my concerns I did find it interesting that two of the folks who spoke “for” the “new level of control by government” came to me after the public hearing and said that the city had called and ask them to speak in agreement with the city. How interesting.

  5. Stephen Hofmeyer May 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    The city plays down how the Department of Interior rule will effect home owners, this rule is 36CFR67(code of federalregulations) is over 300 pages long and was written for the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, or reconstruction of historic properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Register. It would apperar that the city is trying to create a large historic looking area by adopting rules from the federal register and applying them to homes that are only 40 to 70 years old and have no “significant historical importance” and would not qualify for the National Historic Register. I live in the township and actually bought here because there were limited building code restrictions. If I am forced to live with these rules according to the Grapevine Historic Preservation Board diercted by David Klempin an approved 30″x60″ window would average 950.00dollars each verses 250 for excellent replacement windows. I get the feeling the city is telling me that if i cant afford to build by thier desires its time to sell!

  6. Max Powers May 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    I live in a Home Owners Association in Grapevine and the proposed ordinance in effect creates a HOA for the people who live in the township. I’m not always comfortable with the power my HOA wields, but I can only imagine what the city will expect and try to impose if they own the HOA. Is the city going to require all members, including the director of the Historic Preservation Board to live in the township under the same rules just like in any other HOA? Otherwise it’s city goverment with unbridled power over property they dont own!

  7. James Gray May 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Ive read the proposed home invasion ordinance is it only protecting little homes? What if there are a group of large home and they don’t want someone to build a small home next to theirs where is their protection!!!

    • Amanda J May 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      Good point James. Home builders, realators and banks all know that, generally speaking, as the square footage of a home increases so does the value of the home and the surrounding homes. And normally HOAs and deed restrictions seek to protect the value of all homes in a neighborhood by preventing a small home from being built which would decrease the values of the surrounding large homes. The proposed ordinance, however, appears to do just the opposite of protecting home values. Instead, the proposed ordinance purports to undermine free market principles by inserting an artificial City-made barrier between the home owner and the home owner’s ability to increase the value of their home through increased square footage.

  8. James Gray May 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    In addition i thought each home was judged against the code individually!

    • Don Bigbie May 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Sorry, James, but you would be controlled by the homes within 100 feet…..so you lose control. Second, to your question on building a small home next to larger ones and the protection one might have as a larger home owner. As I read it, that protection does not exist even though we have council members who live in restricted areas with minimum square footage requirements. Just the opposite of what this ordinance calls far!

  9. Amanda J May 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    If the Township is run largely by people with no “skin in the game” I can see why someone would describe them as a “home owners association on steroids.” If the rules and decisions of an HOA affect the HOA board members and the rest of the HOA equally, then the HOA board members have a naturally built in incentive to be reasonable with the rules they come up with because they will personally feel the sting of every unreasonable rule and decision of the HOA. This is the basic foundation that makes representative government (by the people and for the people) more reasonable and fair than other types of government. However, if the rules don’t affect the HOA board members, then the board members are free to make decisions that have no impact whatsoever on them personally, which effectively eliminates the critical safeguards inherent in representative government. Giving board members total authority with no personal accountability is like giving a teenager your credit card to go on a shopping spree while you get stuck with the bill.

  10. Ross Bannister May 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    A few thoughts:

    1. Joe, your selected photo is of a historic home owned by a family that very much supports the proposed amendments to the historic preservation ordinance. They’ve said so at both the Public Hearings.

    2. Don, weren’t you the chairman of the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors when the original ordinance was established? And at that time wasn’t historic preservation a function of the CVB? If I recall correctly, the CVB famously was able to develop a marketable tourism identity as “historic” AND use tourism taxes to help initiate efforts to identify, protect and preserve Grapevine’s historic fabric.

    3. This is not something new, folks. The time to get all worked up was back in 1991 when the preservation ordinance was established. You can’t unring the bell.

    Look, for more than 20 years Grapevine has had in place recognized historic districts and sensible preservation guidelines that incorporate land-use restrictions and other limits. And in that time people have flocked to the Grapevine historic district to be a part of a program that has reaped much economic success.

    Sure, private property rights are among the many rights enjoyed by Americans. Yet you are mistaken if you think that property rights are absolute. Do you think you can really do anything you want with your property even if those actions harm the property rights of your neighbors or the public welfare? You can’t.

    The value of Grapevine’s historic district stems as much from the public investments (paid for by the community as a whole) as from the investments of individual property owners. Things like sewer, drinkable water, roads, libraries, parks, restored buildings and homes and historic preservation ordinances.

    Consider this…the City is investing millions in the planned upgrade of Grapevine Mills. Why? Because the owners of the mall and the City both understand how design guidelines and rules enhance economic value. Expanded historic preservation measures such as zoning restrictions and design standards and guidelines will protect the district’s appearance and economic vitality.

    According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation literally thousands of American cities and towns have enacted and enhanced historic preservation ordinances, design standards and land-use laws that stipulate what a property owner may or may not do with their property. Furthermore, American courts including the SCOTUS have repeatedly upheld these laws when properly enacted and enforced.

    Grapevine City Council is being very prudent and responsible in their continuing efforts to utilize historic preservation as a smart means to help property owners protect and preserve their property rights and value. The more we can do to protect the essential integrity of the scarce remaining fabric of our community’s historic assets the better.

    • Stephen Hofmeyer May 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

      Ross I still want to know why your HPC adopted 36CFR67 to follow when the code clearly states it is meant to be used in specific historic projects that are elgible or listed on the National historic register. I called the state historic program friday and they stated they have never heard of anyone blanking an entire neighborhood, and that grapevine has no projects listed for application to the national register. I want to know did you restore your home according to ALL the rules listed in that code?

      • Local Guy May 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

        Stephen – my house is all-new construction, not a restoration. And prior to building we did voluntarily place the “H” Overlay zoning designation on the property. The purpose there was to demonstrate that it is possible to build a new house according to the City’s design guidelines.

        Interestingly, as built, our house would easily meet the proposed amendments to the preservation ordinance.

    • Don Bigbie May 5, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Ross, I was chairman of the CVB during those years, but the function was not under the CVB. I believe it was under Tommy Hardys control and later taken over by the CVB. However, the point as not relative to the current take over of the Township nor the restrictions now being place on homeowners. You should know this as it was always intended to be a voluntary program which you were brought in to implement. Remember, voluntary not forced!
      Don

      • Stephen Hofmeyer May 5, 2013 at 10:34 am #

        Exactly its a voluntary program, not what the current city govt. or HPC leadership is attempting to push upon the residents

      • Ross Bannister May 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

        Don – To clarify, historic preservation was under CVB control until 1998. In a somewhat punitive administrative action, Tommy Hardy’s office took over historic preservation from CVB. This re-org followed the embarrassing and infamous vote-rigging scandal when the CVB admitted to manipulating the results of the 1997 GrapeFest Peoples Choice Wine Tasting voting.

        Then, in 2006, the historic preservation function was returned to CVB and I returned that year to guide the division. I resigned CVB in February of 2011.

        But, to reiterate my point, as a citizen of Grapevine, I support the proposed amendments to the existing ordinance. They are sensible, create value and benefit our community.

      • Don Bigbie May 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

        Ross, we must, once again, agree to disagree on a couple of points. How can you span a gap between historical preservation and “the embarrassing and infamous vote-rigging scandal when the CVB admitted to manipulating the results of GrapeFest Peoples Choice”? Especially when the CVB never admitted to the same! There may have been an individual or individuals within the CVB, who admitted to such, but certainly not the CVB as a city department! You know your statement is not correct, when you say, “CVB”, that is a blanket statement/indictment of some wonderful people (many your former colleagues) who were not involved at all. Your statement is unfair to them.

        Also, while you support the amendments, I do not. Historical preservation efforts have always been, as pointed out earlier, a voluntary program. You were brought back to implement that voluntary program….. not a program of forced implementation by a few who do not live in the affected area.

        Further Ross, I love your home and what you and Tami have done with it. After it was completed you chose to put it in the historical overlay. Any reason you waited to place the house in the overlay after it was completed…….rather than before construction started? Do you realize your home would look much different if you had to build it under the proposed ordinance? What is the largest house, within 100 feet, that was there in 2006? And that three car garage, is it over 500 sq ft? The list goes on…..but I’m sure you get my drift.

        Ross, another thing I love about you is that you don’t mind using your name, just as Mr. Cox, Ms. Somerfeld, Mr. Hofmeyer, myself and some others do. It’s the ones who post with pseudonyms and only initials that you have to wonder if they really have a dog in the hunt or just another shill for the ordinance!

        Come and see me sometime!

        Don

    • Sarah Wright May 6, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      Ross,

      Well said! As I just recently saw this online article, I VERY much appreciate you defending our stance. That is my home depicted in the picture of this article, and yes we are very much in favor of the proposed amendments. My husband and I spoke at both public hearings saying so. I’m curious as to the author’s rationale behind choosing my home as the image for the article? Nobody spoke to or asked us; maybe the author simply did not do his homework. Or maybe the picture was chosen to depict as Mr. David Cox so tactfully states below “some of the junking homes in the district”. I would certainly hope not. Am I mistaken that Grapevine’s heritage is that of a modest farming community? Are we or are we not trying to preserve a piece of history for future generations to enjoy? Ladies and gentleman there are times to put the “me” aside in order to benefit the future “we”.

      • Joe May 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

        The photo used in the article was chosen because it is the only photo I have of a home in the historic district. It was meant to be a sample historic home from the district. Generally, these articles work better with photos.

        That was the rationale.

      • Don C May 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

        Sarah, Your home is in the voluntary overlay program — isn’t that correct? Therefore you (or a prior owner of your home) voluntarily applied to restrict your home via the voluntary overlay guidelines presumably because (1) you cherish the original structure of your home, or (2) you received a grant from the City’s grant program used to improve your home. Either way, it was your choice to either apply to be in the voluntary overlay or to purchase a home that was already part of the voluntary overlay. That was your choice.

        And you seem pleased with the choice you made and I’m very happy for you.

        With that said, I have elected not to give up my property rights in exchange for a grant. In fact, I specifically looked for and purchased a home from an owner who had not voluntarily applied to be part of the overlay program. The prior home owners even advertised that the home “is not subject to the Historic Ordinance” because they knew that fact would matter to certain prospective buyers. I would not have purchased my home if it had been part of the Historic Ordinance or part of an HOA. That’s my choice.

        I’m not suggesting that this is your position, but I would like to point out that it is not reasonable for anyone to take the position that simply because certain home owners voluntarily made a particular deal with the city (one that they may be quite happy with), that other home owners should be forced to make the same deal.

      • Sarah Wright May 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

        Don C.-

        My husband bought the house when it was already part of the Historic Overlay (previous owners had already volunteered), and yes, we are happy with the decision to purchase our beloved historic home. I respect all opinions in this particular issue. Personal rights are not something I take lightly, but yes I am passionate about Historic Downtown Grapevine, beyond my immediate property rights as owner of the home.

        Please understand I have not called any particular person out by name nor made any comments directed at a particular person. It has been a very distressing ordeal that by association of a “Worth St.” address I have been accused of bullying a fellow community member, that I do not know on any personal level, nor have had any interactions with.

        It seems that because certain downtown residents feel “animosity” and “mean spiritedness” from other community members, that it is okay for them to go on a public website and counter with mean spiritedness of their own. I was NOT raised that “two wrongs make a right.” I do feel for the family that they have not had a welcoming experience in the community…. that is not the Grapevine I know nor wish to be a part of. After the 2nd public hearing my husband made it a point to shake hands and make that fact known. We emphasized that although we disagree on this issue, we do respect the people opposed to the amendments and our fellow neighbors. Particularly a gentleman who is a well respected long time resident of our community. He’s also one of the most eloquent speakers I’ve had the pleasure of hearing at City Hall. We are civil people.

        As far as being here in regards to the grant $….check public records. We have not to date EVER applied for grant $, although we are entitled and encouraged to do so. We are not wealthy people, but up to this point all restoration and maintenance to our landmarked home have come out of our own pocket, and much of the work has been done ourselves. We could have applied for the full grant amount many times over, but have not done so as of yet. We truly love the home. We hope to be here well into our retirement, this is not an investment property for us.

        The reason that I felt the need to comment on this article, is because my home is depicted in the picture, when in fact we are in support of the amendments. The overall message of this article is that there are problems with the amendments. I do not feel this way. If an article had been posted in FAVOR of the amendments and your home had been depicted without your permission, you probably would have felt the need to comment as well. You felt strongly enough to address me specifically, and I do appreciate you doing so in a civil, respectful manner.

        I do NOT wish to participate any further in mudslinging and name calling. My heart hurts to see this going on in my beloved community, especially on a public website for all to view.

    • Anne May 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      Thanks Ross, I’ve seen similar things done in WI as well. No one flocks to downtown Grapevine to “see” what “used” to be there, they come to see a bit of local Americana that has been preserved. No one is going to drive by some of these areas and say “Wow that brand new house that looms over the top of that older historic home reminds me of the house that my Grandmother grew up in.” It will be the smaller one that is the historic or even historic looking that will evoke that feeling and keep them coming back to the downtown area.

      • David Cox May 8, 2013 at 10:35 am #

        Anne

        Can you honestly says everyone feels the same as you???? The above statement “No one”. Maybe there are people that don’t feel the same way. I acknowledge that all people do not feel the way I do.

  11. David Cox May 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    I am the homeowner on College St that cause this to happen. I am very shocked this has not come up before. Make no mistake, PW runs the HPC. Everyone know who I am talking about. He is Klempin’s boss. Also, PW owns three properties in the District overlay. Seems to be a conflict of interest?????? What is the relationship of Tate and PW?? Does anyone know?? It is the “good ole boy system”!!!! Tate is knee deep in it. Tate has done a terrific job in the past years, no one can argue that. However, sometimes when we get older we get out of touch. Sorry Mayor!! I believe this is where we are. My family and I have been the victim of many hostile comments in the past year. Name calling and etc. The clan on Worth Street are the worse. This only makes my resolve even stronger. I will not bully anyone, but will NOT allow my family to be bullied. I want to be clear.

    Yes, I said it. HPC is a Home association on steroids!!!!! Has anyone been to one of those meetings?????? What a joke??? You have to get permission to paint your house the same color!!!!! Look at some of the junking homes in the district. They will never be fix with this system. Who would want to go through this. I did because is was my family home for 30 years and was special to me.

    Stop by say hello. I am not ashamed of anything.

    • PhilG May 7, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      Grapevine has done well in many ways, as you say, but the arrogance of those individuals at the City who demand that their vision for Grapevine replace my property rights shows how misguided the City has become. I guess even well intended public servants can develop a God complex after too many years of control. We need some fresh ideas!

  12. Anne Somerfeld May 6, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    Were any of you commenting on this article at this meeting or even previous meetings? Have you spoken with your council members? City Staff? Do you know your neighbors? Do you support your City? Do you shop here? Do you volunteer at Main St Days/GrapeFest? Clean up at Lake Grapevine? Feed the Chickens at Nash Farm? If the only council meeting you have EVER been to was this one, or better yet have never been, then get going down to City Hall every first and third Tuesday of every month. Be a part of the different committees, get involved, KNOW THE FACTS! before you read an article that is slanted one way or the other. And stop using pictures of houses in my neighborhood of folks that DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ARTICLE!!! Ask permission before you use and get your facts straight before you print. Develop your opinions from the information you glean from your own fact finding missions, not what some random person is spouting that probably DOES NOT LIVE IN THIS DISTRICT!!! Goodness people, grow up!!

    • CA May 7, 2013 at 5:07 am #

      Ann — I share your skepticism regarding giving too mucn weight to the opinions of random people who don’t live in the district. You live in the district and I live in the district and while our opinions differ on this subject, I value your opinion more than the opinions of the HPC, Council and Mayor because almost none of them live in the district. Why, then, should these random people have an opinion about our homes when they don’t even live here?

      • PhilG May 7, 2013 at 5:58 am #

        Klempin (the de facto president of the HOA) doesn’t live in the Township. Klempin doesn’t even live in Grapevine. In fact, Klempin doesn’t even live in Tarrant County folks! Klempin lives in Dallas. That’s right, DALLAS! Look it up. It’s quite fitting for the president of the Township’s notorious homeowner’s association on steroids to live in Oak Cliff. That makes sense. I’m so grateful that a Dallas resident is willing to drive all the way to Grapevine each day to tell me what color I can paint my house. Well done Grapevine City Council! Please vote for term limits so we can end this tyranny.

  13. Anne Somerfeld May 6, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    For those of us who do live within the Historic District/Township we are trying to protect ourselves from some ridiculously overbuilt brand new McMansion dwarfing our sensible smaller scale older homes. That’s all, you need look no further than Fort Worth Camp Bowie/Arlington Heights area or Highland Park/University Park areas to see egregious abuse of overdevelopment and taking advantage of “current” antiquated building codes. If you had a 2000 sq foot home would you want an 8,000 sq foot home going in right next to yours and dwarfing it? Well that’s what you expect us currently living here to do. If you need a bigger home and want the conveniences associated with more space then by all means build your home…..somewhere else. I have people every month knocking on my door, leaving notes in my mailbox and on my car asking me if I would be interested in buying my home, do you? There are plenty of people wanting to purchase these quaint historic homes in the historic township, your monstrosity of a dwelling does not attract more people to this area, on the contrary is turns them off. I am not against new construction, tastefully and within scale yes, looming monstrosities……no!! Take your 3 car garage somewhere else……

  14. David Cox May 6, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Wow. I believe Ann is angry.

    I did not move here from another state. I was at the meetings. I know the facts. Remember, my family did not move into a Historical District in 1983. The city made it one. You moved into one, your choice. This is what is great about our country. We have choices.

    You have every right to stand up of yourself. Good for you!!! However, I have that same right. Let me be clear again, I will not be bullied or the subject to hostile words anymore. I have shown restraint in the last year!!!!! I will defend my family and rights. I was right about the clan on Worth Street.

    • Sarah Fullhart May 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      I am not angry and appreciate the right to express your opinion (if done respectfully and tastefully without mud-slinging).

      I would; however, be angry if someone overdeveloped the house next door to mine, so that it blocked all the sun from shining on my front porch, or backyard; or built their home so high and towering over mine that their upstairs windows overlooked my property. That would make my home value go down and be less desirable because it would leave my historical home in the dark shadows and would infringe on my privacy in my own yard.

      I too am very sorry if someone was not welcomed to the neighborhood – my fiancé and I were VERY welcomed when he bought a home in that same neighborhood.

      The previous owners of the house were very thorough and interviewed all interested buyers and their number one priority was not price, but that the new home owners would maintain the historical integrity of the home and take good care of it, and not destroy the home by tearing it down or building over it.

      With the purchase of the home, came a picture of the home as it was in the early 1900′s ~ a small house with a family standing together on the front porch. We proudly hang that original photo in the home (and the home is very much the same, with just a larger front porch). This photo is the first thing I show friends when they come to see the house. From the front, the house is the same size. There were renovations and new construction done by previous owners, but they only added on behind the house, and did not change the main historical home or change the front of the house, to maintain the original charm of the house that it has had since 1913. There is a way to have new construction without losing the historical integrity of the home from the street.

      We already have great relationships with our neighbors, and I love that our neighborhood stands up for each other, watches out for each other, knows each other, and get together. I love driving down the street and seeing neighbors out in their yards, enjoying their historical neighborhood, and wave to each other and look out for each other’s property. Just this week my neighbor let me know she was keeping an eye on my house when we are not home if she is. This is why my fiancé and I chose to buy in this neighborhood ~ to have the pride of working on a historical home together, and to raise a family in a neighborhood where neighbors interact together, and your children can play outside! That is difficult to find. That is unique ~ that is what makes Grapevine great. This is what I want my future children to also know about Grapevine.

      -Sarah Fullhart
      Worth Street neighbor

      • Sarah Fullhart May 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

        PS ~ I have spent all but the first 3 years of my life being a Grapevine resident. While I am new to Worth Street, I am not new to Grapevine.

      • David cox May 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

        Sarah

        Not ashamed of my house. This is where I grew up as a boy. My Mom passed away in that house in 1994. The home is special to me and my kids. Read my sons above response, he is 16 years old. He understands and is not ashamed either. You guys know where I am if you want to talk. I am not going to bother anyone, I will just defend my family.

  15. Evan May 7, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    Ann — Your apparent hatred of three car garages is a bit odd. But thankfully you don’t speak for the majority of the Township. I wonder if your anger at David is based on the fact that (accoording to the property tax records) your “historic” home value has steadily declined losing roughly 10% of its value since 2009 while David’s home more than tripled in value following reconstruction of his home and construction of that “evil” three car garage. It’s all about your choices as a home owner. We aren’t trying to tell you what to do with your home, so please stop trying to tell the rest of us what to do with our homes.

    David — Thank you for your comments! You are absolutely correct in your observations about PW running the HPC and controlling the mayor, many council members and Klempin. Make no mistake…..he is the man behind the curtain. Ross Bannister, who worked directly for PW for many years, still apparently supports PW’s pet project of keeping all the junked up homes under the guise of “preserving history.”

    Also, I’m very sorry that you and your family have had to face the wrath of a few people (who don’t speak for the majority of the home owners in the Township). PW and Klempin have undoubtedly rallied the Worth Street clan and I’m sorry they have been so uncivilized and vile toward you, your wife and your kids. Unfortunately, there are a few home owners in the Township who are widely known to be pawns of the City, showing up dutifully to heckel those who threaten PW’s agenda of “saving” every single ugly, old, broken, inefficient, environmentally unfriendly, costly, junked up home in Grapevine..You have a lovely family, David, and your house is absolutely beautiful and only adds to the desirability of living in the Township. We need more investment like your home in Grapevine’s Township if we hope to keep home values moving in the right direction. Keep up the fight, David. There are MANY who are with you.

    Joe — If you need a picture of a home that PW and Klempin have deemed “historic” that is owned by someone opposed to this zoning change, there’s a petition signed by more than 150 home owners circulating who oppose this zoning change, so there should be plenty of homes to choose from.

  16. Amanda J May 7, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    The Tarrant County Appraisal District’s website shows the value of my home in the Township went down more than 15% over the past 5 years. Granted, home values are down everywhere, but I keep hearing the argument that home values are better protected if the property is designated historic, however, the Tarrant County Appraisal District’s website tells a different story. From a cursory review of the home values for the Township properties listed on that website, it appears that the home values of many (if not most) of my neighbors in the Township have also declined (some of them significantly). To be sure, there are some properties in the Township that have increased in value but many of those were recently remodeled or expanded. If the City insists on significantly handicapping any future expansion of homes in the Township, any upward trend in home values that those home owners might have seen as the market turns, will be lost due to government interference.

    I wonder how many property owners in the Township purchased a vacant lot with the intent to build their dream home, but now won’t be able to do that because the lot happens to be adjacent to small homes.

    i wonder how property owners purchased a home in the Township with the intent to expand, but now won’t be able to do that.

    I wonder how many of the supports of the ordinance built or expanded homes under the current ordinance, but would not have been permitted to build or expand their homes as they did if the proposed ordinance was in place when they built or expanded.

    • Anne May 7, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      As far as property values, a home that I built in 1996 has lost value in the past 5 years (and is in Grapevine), and a home that is 3 times the size of what I currently own (by choice), so I would assume, and I have checked several addresses in various parts of Tarrant County, that most home values have gone down in the past 5 years. I am not referring to anyone in any of my posts, I think it is actually funny that you all call yourselves out as one that I am targeting when I am targeting no one. I’m not an angry person, to the contrary, I moved here from WI almost twenty years ago because downtown Grapevine reminded me of a small town in WI. In the past ten years working with municipalities I have come to appreciate what Grapevine has to offer, because I see the same ambiance here that I have seen in many small towns across Texas, but we are so lucky to be able to have those same qualities and yet live in a thriving metroplex. Don’t make this tiny little section of downtown into just another suburb, preserve what little we have left, appreciate what we have, mourn what we don’t and try to respect your neighbors, the City’s heritage, and our future. No downtown Grapevine is not Beacon Hill in Boston, it’s not meant to be. Appreciate each other’s differences and opinions and let’s work together to come to some conclusions about how to preserve and best use what we have for many generations to come. Make it bigger than you.

  17. David Cox May 7, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    First of all, I do not have a three car garage. I welcome anyone in the district to take a tour of my home.

    Anne, I appreciate your speaking out. Do not stop speaking your mind. I have nothing against you, just your stance. I am more upset over the system, the ordinances just makes the system even more of a problem. It is broken at the HPC. We need a global fix.

    Did you know there was a motel across the street from me in 1985. Is this historical??? Should we bring that back?? A lot of the homes in the District were moved there. I saw it growing up.

    Ross worked for PW?? David lives in Oak Cliff?? Wow!!! It is becoming more clearer everyday. Has anyone been the subject of one of PW’s history lessons??? I have, guess I am the lucky one!!!!!!

    • Anne May 7, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      The first block off main st is commercial/mixed use in either direction. I cannot make my house into a bed and breakfast or a fast food joint/saloon.

      • David Cox May 7, 2013 at 10:45 am #

        Thank you Don

        I thought your presentation was by far the best!!!!! Would love to meet you sometime. We have receive much support and apologies in the last few weeks. Thanks to all those supporters.

      • David Cox May 7, 2013 at 10:47 am #

        Anne

        You built your dream home in 1996. Why can’t I remodel my family home that I grew up in???

    • Anne May 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      In another subdivision in Grapevine……Carriage Glen. Other homes in the subdivision are of a similar size ranging from 3000-4000 sq feet. Similar look and feel, and I would not have been able to build a 1300 sq foot home in that neighborhood even though it was adjacent to Parr Park and in a beautiful neighborhood. I opted to purchase a smaller home with different amenities and to have a more eclectic feel to my neighborhood, it is a different experience, plus to have an older home.

  18. Don Bigbie May 7, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    David – As stated earlier, I was at the public hearing, spoke at the public hearing and was very impressed with your presentation at the same. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone could possibly be critical of your efforts when you followed every rule in the book and preserved a family home. Also David, as a native Texan, you know that the critical comments directed toward you or your family, are not representative of a typical Grapevine resident…..certainly not a native Texan. So, on behalf of the rest of us, I would like to apologize to you and your family for any rude, malicious, ribald actions you have experienced from others…..regardless of their address. We need more citizens like you to better our city. After all, it’s your city as well.
    Don Bigbie

  19. AO May 7, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Mr. Cox-

    As a 3rd party observer, and Grapevine resident, I was not partial one way or another on these particular amendments. I did attend BOTH public hearings to further educate myself and listen to all sides presented. I found BOTH sides to be respectful. I am not sure what you are referring to with your comment: “My family and I have been the victim of many hostile comments in the past year. Name calling and etc. The clan on Worth Street are the worse.” I have consulted with many of the residents on Worth St. and find them to be pleasant respectful persons, that are involved in the community. I know many of these residents personally and I feel such behavior has not and would not happen. I have asked them about their previous interactions with you, and the majority state they have never had any 1 on 1 interaction, conversations etc with you or about you other than what was stated at the Public Hearings. I did not hear you called out by name or victimized at the public hearings???? If you have experienced name calling, I think you need to blame the appropriate persons. Not “sling hash” and the persons (in this case the majority) who oppose you. I do see however on this blog comments like: “The clan on Worth Street are the worse.” I also heard the comment that many homes in the district “look like a garage sale” at the last public hearing. I see the phrase “junking houses in the district”. I see Ms. Anne called out as making “poor choices as a home owner” because she has not opted to enhance her property value by adding additional square footage??? Although I’m still on the fence as far as my feelings to the amendments are concerned, I think you need to question what a bully is Sir! The only slandering, bullying etc I see or have heard is on this blog.

    I took extensive notes at the last public hearing, and here are some things I observed upon reviewing my notes:

    1. Of the supporters for the amendment, a large portion were residents of Worth St. I also know this is one of the longest streets in the historic district. It would make sense that a majority of the township residents would live on this street. However I heard from supporters on Dooley, Smith, etc. I found none of the comments to be offensive or victimizing in any way. The residents on Worth St. that spoke had similar themes, and seemed to be united. This now makes them “a clan”? I thought that was a community?

    2. I counted how many persons spoke in favor of the amendments and how many spoke against them. The above statement that “more spoke against” is inaccurate according to my count.

    3. I have read the proposed amendments thoroughly, and I find the documentation provided with the above mentioned “petition” that I was handed at the community Rec Center full of misleading information and errors and written in a typical “Agitator-style” language. I find it odd that if 150 persons signed said petition, and that such a large percentage of the Grapevine township residents are opposed to the amendments, why the author was unable to find a photo to use of a historic resident owner opposed? I find his answer to why he used the photo lame.

    Although I question some aspects of the amendments, I do NOT align myself with persons opposing them on this blog. I find your actions and comments similar to an obstinate child that will yell, scream, cry and accuse until they get their way. My discussions with residents in favor of the amendments have been of community members looking to find a compromise that will allow for new construction, while preserving the heritage of Grapevine. Why you Mr. Cox are receiving “apologies” for supposed accusations is beyond me. It appears you should be the one apologizing Sir.

    • Joe May 7, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Hi AO,

      One point of clarification: This isn’t a blog. It is a community news website with over 1,200 local subscribers.

      Thanks for your well thought out comment.

      Joe

      • Anne May 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        Joe you may want to present yours news in a bit more neutral tone. You are a reporter? of news? not a presenter of your own personal views. You classify this site as a “City of Grapevine” online newsletter, for all not for a select few that share in your viewpoint. Ask David Cox if you can use his house picture to represent the neighborhood, and not my friend’s house. That seems to be where the trend is going towards……..

      • Joe Thomas May 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

        Hi Anne,

        The article above was written as an editorial and reflect the editorial opinions of this website. It has been presented as such since the day it was published.

        Thanks for your questions and candor.

        Joe

      • Sarah K May 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

        Anne — Joe has written an editorial, which is.an article written by or on behalf of an editor that gives an opinion on a topical issue. Editorials are not intended to be neutral.

        AO — Why should David apologize? David and his home have been the subject of repeated criticism by City officials and a handful of vocal home owners (many of whom seem to live on Worth Street for whatever reason) for following the rules and building a home within those rules. I’m sure that some of those who have been critical of David intend for their criticism to be constructive, but many have been quite mean-spirited. At the public hearing a woman told me that seeing that “monstrosity” on College Street makes her “want to vomit.” That’s more than a little over the top and I’m sure David and his family can feel the animosity that some people in our community feel free to direct mercilessly on a family who merely followed the rules and remodeled their home to make it suitable for their family. Again, David, let me join in those who apologize for the treatment your family has endured (especially your children).

    • David Cox May 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      AO

      No apologies here. I followed ever rule. Thank you for your comment. Proved my point perfectly.

    • Quinn Cox May 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Allow me to enlighten you upon the specifics of the issue of this “bullying” that my father was referring to. Obviously, one would not express these derogations in such a place as a city council meeting where a third party could witness. On the contrary to your observations, some of this “bullying” has occurred right in this commentary through the over exaggerated comments directed towards our new home (which none of us take offense to whatsoever). I would define this as a “bullying” of sorts. “Behind the scenes” which many are not aware of, there have been a few instances in which uninvited “visitors” have walked around our house and onto our property, claiming they were “looking at it.” In one instance, there was somebody who tried to open the front door to the house while it was thankfully locked. There was a recent discovery that some within and out of the city has called our family “renegades.” I have also been in the front yard of the house and, on countless occasions, seen many people drive by and slow down, staring at me and giving me their “evil eye.” All of these I would consider forms of harassment.

      • AO May 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        Quinn,

        Thank you for your clarification on this matter. I understand completely the “uneasiness” uninvited persons on your property would cause. I too have experienced persons driving by my home, while in repair mode (painting etc), slowing down and looking. I consider it curiosity or interest in my home. I am sorry that it has caused you distress.

        Understand that many members of the community prior to the public hearings toured the town and viewed homes and took notes to gather their thoughts and form their own opinions. I myself drove past your home in addition to MANY others and took notes, so that I was not walking into the public hearings completely ignorant to the homes in discussion. I needed to compare current structures to the proposed new amendments. I find your home to be absolutely beautiful! I do however respect the opinion of some residents that it may be out of scale compared to the neighboring houses. If I had not viewed your home first hand…..what right would I have to an opinion at all?

        Please understand my defending Worth St. residents, that I feel are also good outstanding community members, who are simply excercising their voice the same as Mr. Cox. I have not heard them use the term “renegades” in reference to your family. I do not think on them as persons with malice in their hearts towards your family or any other member of the community. I know them to simply be neighbors of similar belief and united in this particular cause. I feel they too should be defended, the same as others who have come forth on this website to defend David.

      • Sarah Fullhart May 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

        Sorry if you felt harassed. I must mention, though that people drive slowly down the historical home district streets every day, and they drive slowly by so they can see the beautiful historical homes and admire them. I take it as a compliment. I do the same thing when I am in another town or state that has a historical home district. David Cox, on this site, has welcomed everyone to come see and tour the home.

    • Anne May 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Touche AO. You know none of use on Worth St, which by the way is the longest running street in township area colluded or really “Got together to conspire”, our opinions are similar because we think very much the same. Concerned citizens with a passion for preservation. Preservation of lifestyle, home ownership and neighborhood friendship. Nothing more. We are not running amok smashing windows or chaining ourselves to trees in front of bulldozers, or slandering our neighbors for their choices. It’s about making it bigger than yourself, and your needs and meshing your needs, wants and desires with your neighbors, cohabitating and working together to make it just that much more enjoyable. I know every neighbor on my block and many of my surrounding neighbors on other streets. We like each other, we work together, we borrow each other’s lawn equipment and ladders and catch up on what is going on and look out for each other. It’s what you are supposed to do. Sooooooo……..let’s get on with the task, work together to come to some kind of an agreement, stop slinging the mud and name calling folks and start doing something about it. I was banned from posting awhile ago because I was Spam? Really? Let’s put this one to rest here folks.

      • Joe May 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

        For the record, no one has ever been banned from posting comments here. There is an automatted spam filter here if you use too many repeat words or add too many links in your comment, but that’s it.

        We support basic freedoms here. :)

  20. Amanda J May 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Anne, I agree that there must be a way to reach a mutually respectful and collaborative solution that is better for the Township than the proposal that the City Staff has come up with so far. I love my neighborhood and I am fortunate to have neighbors who are warm and fairly reasonable. I feel sure that working with my neighbors would actually be far easier than working with the City and the Commissioners. Maybe the Historic Preservation Commission should be abolished and replaced with a true HOA governed by the homeowners. In the public hearing, Mayor Tate said he was open to that idea (or least that’s what I understood him to say). Anyone have any thoughts on that option?

    • David Cox May 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Amanda

      I heard the same from the Mayor at that hearing. I agree 100%. I believe the HPC needs to be abolished. I understand Anne and I have extreme positions on each side. We need to work both to come to the middle. We both will not get everything we want. That is the nature of a compromise. The whole system is not working for Anne and I.