Historic Preservation Commission and the impact they make in our city

Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Historic Preservation Commission and the impact they make in our city


By Annette Pernell

As an owner of one of the many Historic Homes in the Orange Historic District, I am in awe of the other homes around me and love boasting about the significance of being the care-taker of my humble abode.  One of the things that separates living in the Historic District as opposed to elsewhere in the City is the use of our very own Historic Preservation Commission (“HPC”) Board.

The HPC Board carries a lot of weight and they are the gate-keepers per se to all things Historic.   For example, when I want ideas, I look out to other Cities near and far for information, solutions, and inspiration. The Oaks Historic District is just 25 miles away in Beaumont, Texas – Their website shows some beautiful homes and the slogan says “Come see why life is good in The Oaks”.  They further state their District is held together by City Law which tells me the Historic District and the City are working hand-in-hand.

That brings me back to Orange Historic District (Name Change would be great and we must make sure to incorporate ALL the Historic Areas).  Most people have heard me talk on and on about getting things done and the fact that there is “nothing new under the sun.”  Well, it’s true. Anything that we need to get done, has more than likely been done before. There are hundreds and hundreds of examples of how to do things in a way that will help make our endeavors a success.  What makes them different? What makes their Historic Districts better? What do they have that we don’t? The answer is NOTHING! They are people like you and I. They chose to live in the Historic District because that is where their hearts are – just like you and me.  

Historic Preservation Commission

Created by Resolution 1996-131, the Historic Preservation Commission consists of five members. The Commission promotes the historic features of Orange to residents of Orange County; disseminates information to the public, owners of historic landmarks and owners of property within historic districts about the preservation and enhancement of historic landmarks; and reviews building plans with applicants anticipating new construction in designated historic districts. The Commission also conducts research on the historic features of the city; makes recommendations on potential historic landmarks; considers landmark improvement plans, and other duties as set forth in the City of Orange Code of Ordinances. Meetings are held on as needed basis in the Community Room at the Neighborhood Facility 303 N. 8th Street Orange, Texas 77630.

At present we have two members on the five-member board.   This alone has halted the progress in the Historic District.

Interim City Manager, Kelvin Knauf has taken over the role of what could be done by the HPC and being that the Historic District is part of District 4, I have to be the one who stays the course to make sure questions are being answered and progress is being made.

In the past few months, a nice chunk of Mr. Knauf’s time has been taken away from other things because residents in the Historic District inquired about the need for more of the Decorative Light Poles like the ones displayed in front of some homes on Pine Street and around the Central Fire Station.   Another resident in the Historic District asked about more Entergy light poles on their street as well as changing the bulbs on the existing poles so the streets could have sufficient lighting which will deter some of the break-ins that have happened.

While it’s wonderful to be connected with the people in my District and see things get done on their behalf, the HPC Board would be a better conduit to get these factors implemented and brought before Council to approve.  

I LOVE WHERE I LIVE!  I love being able to talk to the people around me and get to know some of the ideas they have that will improve their surroundings and the City as a whole.  I would love it if YOU, the people who share my love of Historic Homes would volunteer your time to help me help you. We work for you and asking for your help does not make us work less, it makes us work harder so that together we can do what needs to be done.

Our History is Second to None – Life Enjoyed in the Present while Preserving our Past.”   Enjoy this life on purpose and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you.

Annette Pernell, CMO, City Council, District 4