AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin's landscape has changed a lot in the last few decades. Now a group of people in a north Austin neighborhood hope to save a home from demolition and redevelopment.
The McKown House on Richcreek Street sits in the heart of Crestview. It's a big one, sitting on a lot three times the size of its neighbors.
Neighbors in the area are at odds with each other over the home's future.
R.J. McKown built the house in the early 1950s. He had a hand in developing Crestview and other parts of Austin, even constructing I-35 through the city.
"People love this house. They're drawn to this house," said Nancy Harris, who wants to see the house saved from demolition.
A California woman bought the foreclosed home.
"We have zero landmarks in this neighborhood, historically speaking. This would be the first one in the entire neighborhood" said Mike Lavigne, "We don't get a lot of say as to what is built here if the house is torn down."
Supporters of the owner's rights say--of course you don't!
"She has a personal right to her property that she spent money on, and we feel that it's inappropriate for a small group of people to push something that interferes with that personal right," said Elizabeth Von Flatern.
Those fighting for a historical landmark have collected about 275 petition signatures.
"They by no means represent the feelings from the entire neighborhood," said Von Flatern.
The homeowner next door to the house in question, Fred Bosse, says calling the house historic would be a stretch.
"I think that trying to find historical value is a way to try to keep it standing. I'm not sure that just the sentimental desire to keep that building in the neighborhood is enough to establish historical value," Bosse said.
The city's Historical Landmark Commission will review this property Monday night.
The meeting is at 7:00 at city hall.
If the commission sees a historical landmark fit, they'll send it on to the Planning Commission. Ultimately city council would have the final vote to protect that house from demolition.
So what qualifies a place as historic in Austin?
- The building must be at least 50 years old
- It must be pretty spot on with the historic style
- Rare examples of architecture
- Historical associations, such as a famous person who lived there
- Community value
- Archeological significance
Landmark owners enjoy benefits like tax exemptions, but there are plenty of hassles because the exterior must be kept up, and the owner has to get approval for any outside changes.
So where are these historic spots?
Check out this map with nearly 570 official historic landmarks.
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