Historic Resources Survey




The Historic Resources Survey Project is a multi-year project to identify properties of historic significance in the Downtown Master Plan area, and to determine appropriate ways to protect the significance of these properties.

  • Phase I: Survey of properties in the core downtown area
  • Phase II: Survey of properties in the remainder of the Downtown Master Plan area
  • Phase III: Establishment of a Certificate of Appropriateness for the relocation of historic properties
  • Phase IV: Designation Process Design

For questions concerning this project, contact Senior Planner Joelle Jordan at 512-218-5422, or at the Department of Planning and Development Services, 301 W. Bagdad Avenue, Suite 210. Para información en español por favor llame al 512-218-5428.

About the 2010 Historic Resources Survey Project

During the Downtown Master Plan process, residents made it clear that they wanted the City to preserve downtown Round Rock’s character. That sentiment was repeated when the City updated its 2010-2020 General Plan. Because the downtown area was one of the first parts of New Town Round Rock to be developed, the Downtown Master Plan recommended that the City’s 1992 Historic Resources Inventory should be updated before any further action is taken, so that in the future, we would be in a better position to make informed decisions about potential redevelopment activities.

The process of updating this inventory of historic resources is called an Historic Resource Survey. Historic Resources Surveys gather information about individual properties and neighborhoods through research, visual observation, and photographs. Over the past 50 years, the survey process has been standardized by the U. S. Department of the Interior to ensure that the data collected in such a survey is similar from city to city across the country. Following this standardized process helps us compare the 1992 data to the information being collected today.

In spring 2010, the City hired McDoux Preservation, LLC to compile a record of each property within the Downtown Master Plan area. This included a history of the area, photographs, maps, and details about each building’s architectural style, materials, and any historical significance. The survey was completed in two parts. Phase I included 155 properties mostly west of the two-block downtown commercial historic district. Phase II included the remaining 498 properties.

Surveying the City’s historic buildings helps officials, the Department of Planning and Development Services, and the public understand which properties are historically or architecturally significant, and therefore worthy of preservation.

Although adopting the informational Phase I and II survey reports does not obligate the City to act on any of the recommendations set forth in the report, the information will help City officials make well-informed decisions and preserve the most significant parts of Round Rock’s historic built environment.

For more information about the Historic Resources Survey, please contact Joelle Jordan, Senior Planner, Department of Planning and Community Development, at (512) 218-5422 or jjordan@roundrocktexas.gov.

Phase I: Survey and Inventory of Historic Resources

In spring 2010, a subcommittee of Historic Preservation Commission and City Council members reviewed the Phase I survey findings and recommendations. The Phase I survey report then was approved by the Historic Preservation Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission, and City Council in September 2010 as an addendum to the Downtown Master Plan.

Phase II: Survey & Inventory of Historic Resources  

The Historic Resource Survey was accepted by the City Council at its January 12, 2012 meeting. The Survey documents the architectural features and historical significance of each property within the Downtown Master Plan area. Phase I included the 155 properties in the downtown core, and Phase II documents the remaining 423 properties in the area (see map). Together, the Phase I and Phase II survey reports recommend preserving about 10% of the properties in the Downtown Master Plan area.

Phase III: Certificate of Appropriateness for Relocating Historic Properties

In order to implement a process whereby historic buildings and structures may be relocated as recommended by the Phase III Historic Resources Survey Report (accepted by resolution on June 14, 2012), an amendment to the Historic Preservation regulations was necessary. The new section of the Code was developed by a subcommittee of Historic Preservation Commissioners, City Council members and staff to enable relocation of a historic building or structure as an option for property owners to consider in lieu of demolition. Applications requesting relocation would be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission. Once moved, exterior modifications to the building or structure would still require review for architectural appropriateness utilizing the same process by which other historic properties are reviewed. The Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the amendment on April 17th and May 16th, respectively.

Report: Moving Historic Resources: Considerations and Implications in the City of Round Rock, Texas (pdf)
Resource document: Relocating Local Landmarks (pdf) methods, implications and guidelines for moving historic structures

Phase IV: Designation Process Design

Because the City had not pursued the designation of an historic district since the Downtown Commercial Historic District in the 1990s, staff and the HPC planned to use the Phase IV project to develop and test new processes and application forms for designating historic districts and landmarks. In particular, the City wanted to create models for communicating the impacts of designation to property owners and for evaluating public support for historic designations.

The new materials were pilot-tested with an outreach effort to determine the level of support for designating twelve individual landmarks and one new residential historic district, which were identified in the Phase I and II historic resource surveys of downtown properties. Letters with response cards were sent owners of the potential landmarks and to owners of all properties in the potential historic district, which explained the implications of historic designation and asked them to indicate their level of support. Letters were also sent to real estate professionals, and to owners of properties within 300 ft. of the potential landmarks and district. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) also held a public information meeting immediately following a presentation by the project’s consultant about the potential designations at its September 17, 2013 meeting. The results of the public outreach efforts were presented to the HPC on September 30, and included in the consultant’s Phase IV report.

Historic Preservation Commission Meeting videos:

Report and public outreach documents:

Potential Historic Designations

The properties in this project were identified in Phases I and II, which surveyed the historic resources of properties in the Downtown Master Plan Area. Twelve potential historic landmarks were identified, and one potential residential historic district. Phase IV consists of public outreach and education to determine the level of public support for new historic designations, and the creation of materials that would be utilized in the designation process. The establishment of an East End Historic District is proposed as the implementation tool for the “Historic Residential Character District” recommended in the Downtown Master Plan.

Historic Landmark Designations
Identified in Phase I and II Surveys
(click to enlarge)
East End Historic District
Identified in Phase II Survey
(click to enlarge)

An historic designation is established through zoning, by adding an Historic Overlay to the property or, in the case of an historic district, a larger area. Historic Overlay Zoning requires property owners to maintain their properties and apply for approval before making certain changes to the exterior of buildings and sites. The City Historic Preservation Commission and the Department of Planning and Development Services manage the review and approval process.

Owners of properties that are designated with Historic Overlay Zoning are automatically eligible to apply for the City’s historic tax exemption which offers a 75% reduction in municipal property taxes for qualifying properties. That savings, which averages more than $1,000 per property each year, is intended to offset maintenance costs.

The Phase IV project did not complete the recommended historic designations. If the City were to decide to move forward with the historic designation of an individual landmark or historic district, applications for individual landmarks or districts would be presented to the Historic Preservation Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, and City Council for consideration, and a series of public hearings would be held.

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