AUSTIN (KXAN) — A longtime east Austin business could get historical protection soon.

The Historic Landmark Commission voted Wednesday to initiate the historic zoning. It was brought forward by two commissioners as a committee-initiated process.

The owner of Green and White Grocery, John Cazares, sent a letter supporting the move. 

Green and White Grocery is at 1201 E. Seventh St. in east Austin.

“I believe the historical zoning will greatly benefit the store and property as well as maintain a portion of the [area’s] original character,” Cazares wrote to the commission. 

During the meeting, city staff said a historic zoning public hearing would be held next month, and notification letters would be sent out. 

Commissioner Jaime Alvarez wrote in his request that the store “served as a fixture to the East Austin Mexican American community” since it opened in the 1930s. 

According to the business, it opened as a grocery store and meat market. Norberto Lopez started the business, which was passed onto his son-in-law John Cazares Sr. Green and White Grocery was famous for its tamales and collection of herbs, oils and candles.

It was passed on to his son in 1993 who refreshed the business model in 1996 — which also ended the tamale sales, according to the business.

Historic zoning process

Historic zoning gives recognition and protection to houses and buildings “which significantly represent Austin’s architectural, social, and cultural history,” according to the city

The historic zoning process can start by the property owner applying for zoning or by city council determining a building that is threatened with demolition should be preserved.

The steps for a house or building to get historic zoning are:

  1. Recommendation from the Historic Landmark Commission
  2. Recommendation from the Land Use Commission
  3. Approval by Austin City Council

Historic zoning candidates must have architectural merit and be historically associated with persons or events of historic significance, according to the city.