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Demolition controversy erupts at city meeting

Historic Landmark Commission suspends vote on East Austin property at council member’s request

A long-simmering controversy over city historic preservation came to a head at Monday’s city Historic Landmark Commission in what was, by all accounts (or at least those of Spectrum News and the Austin Monitor) a heated conversation (the Monitor reported a "shouting match").

At the request of District One Council Member Ora Houston, the commission postponed 11 demolition approval requests on homes in areas proposed to be historic districts, the local news channel of Spectrum (formerly Time Warner) reported.

The discussion became especially contentious during a demolition hearing for a property located in East 22nd Street, in the East Austin district CM Houston represents, according to the Spectrum report; current owner Reedy Spigner told the commission that potential buyers of his property all want the house moved or demolished, and his inability to do that puts him in a precarious financial situation.

The news channel also reported that CM Houston hopes to see City Council approve the proposed historic district next year. The Landmark Commission suspended voting on 11 proposed demolitions until October 24, it added.