City applies for permit to remove historic building for RM 620 project

Historic Preservation Commission votes 4-1 to deny permit

The City has created a webpage for this project that includes an updated FAQ and options for the future of the Stagecoach Inn.

The Historic Preservation Commission voted 4-1 on Tuesday, March 15, to deny a permit application to the City to dismantle a historic structure that sits in the path of planned improvements to RM 620 west of IH 35. The Commission’s vote included a provision that there be a 120-day waiting period to give interested parties an opportunity to relocate the structure. At the end of the 120-day period, a permit will be automatically awarded to allow the dismantling to move forward.

We have prepared an FAQ to address questions about the application. You can learn more about the history of the structure and the options for moving, dismantling or reconstructing the building in this 2013 memo from the Commission to the City Council.

Why is the City requesting the dismantling of the historic structure at 901 RM 620?

The structure, sometimes referred to as the Old Stagecoach Inn, lies in the path of future improvements to RM 620; specifically, building a bridge over the railroad track that is just east of the structure. The City and Texas Department of Transportation have been working on a solution to the problem created by the at-grade railroad crossing at RM 620 – one of the busiest roads in Round Rock — for more than a decade. Various options have been considered for a grade-separated crossing before the City, TxDOT and Union Pacific Railroad agreed on the current project design. Improving safety and traffic flow on RM 620 is a problem that regional agencies have been working on for years and must address.

The property lost its State of Texas Historic Landmark designation in 1996 because multiple modifications were made to the structure without State approval. While the property certainly has some historic value, the modifications have decreased its historic significance, as evidenced by the loss of the state designation. The historic significance of the property was reviewed again by the State of Texas as part of the design process for the current road improvement project.

The City bestowed local historic landmark designation on the property in 1984 due to its local significance pertaining to transportation and commerce (not architecture). The building is one of the most well-preserved stagecoach stops remaining in the state and is a reminder of Round Rock’s importance as a stop on the Chisholm Trail and other stage roads. The building housed the first inn in the Brushy Creek area, and was one of the area’s first businesses.

What options has the City considered other than demolition?

The intent is not to demolish the structure and haul the stones to the landfill. We’d like to utilize some of the materials in another historic setting to commemorate its historic significance to Round Rock.

In 2014, the City requested information on the possibility of moving the entire structure to the future Bathing Beach park site on the north bank of Brushy Creek, just west of Chisholm Trail. The cost estimate was significant, but more importantly, moving the structure there is simply not feasible. There’s just no practical way to move it from its current location across the railroad tracks and RM 620, and up Chisholm Trail. Furthermore, we were cautioned the building may not survive a move, and the mover has a standard contractual disclaimer to that point.

This chart shows route alternatives, and associated impacts, that were considered for this project.

What is the process the City is pursuing with the Historic Preservation Commission with the demolition request?

The City is following the same process we would require of a private owner of a property that has been designated as locally historically significant. We have submitted an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness for Demolition to the Historic Preservation Commission. The HPC has two options: it can either accept or deny the application.

If the request is denied, a four-month waiting period begins before a permit will be automatically issued by the City’s Building Division. The waiting period is to give any interested parties a final opportunity to relocate the building instead of demolishing it. An option could be for a private individual to move the building to a residential lot west of the shopping center. The City is in the process of conducting due diligence on this scenario relative to costs and feasibility. These findings will be available should an individual come forward within the four-month waiting period. However, the City does not have an interest in moving and then maintaining the structure at that location. This is due to the fact that no viable public use of the building has been identified that would justify the taxpayer resources needed to maintain the structure on an annual basis, not to mention the upfront moving costs.

For more information and to view photos about the Stagecoach Inn, you can visit the City’s Flickr content on the property and a description from the Williamson County Historic Commission.

To comment on the application, please send emails to historic@roundrocktexas.gov.

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