Voters Reject Bond To Save Astrodome, Houston Historical Commission Moves To Save It Anyway Because History

November 12th, 2013

When the people of Harris County, which owns the Astrodome, voted to not save it, that would be a good indication that this former-Wonder of the World should go away. Not so fast, says the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission.

The city of Houston’s historical commission has voted unanimously to consider an effort that could givelandmark status to the endangered Astrodome.

Maverick Welsh, chairman of the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, put forward the motion at the agency’s monthly meeting last week.

“I think it was the right thing to do,” Welsh said. “We have to focus on saving this building.”

The move, however, was principally symbolic. Such a designation would only put a 90-day hold on any demolition.

“It’s the only thing we can do as a commission to try and raise attention of saving the dome,” Welsh said.

If the commission decides to move forward, City Council would have final say on the historic designation.

Even though the building is owned by Harris County, Welsh said more voters within the city limits were in favor of the plan to restore the property as a convention and exhibition space.

One of the biggest frustrations of teaching property is explaining to students how unelected, unaccountable zoning boards can make decisions that affect other property interest. I usually explain that the zoning boards are meant to represent the will of the people, and are in effect promoting the general welfare (in the police power sense).

But this move by the Historical Commission turns that proposition on its heads. The voters who would be responsible for funding any preservation of the Astrodome voted against saving it. This was a widely publicized issue. There were billboards all over town and commercials on broadcast media. They lost.  Now, an unelected board wants to subvert a clear referendum from the people (including myself).

Let it go.