From 2003 to 2007 there were many articles in the paper about the Blanco Comprehensive Plan and the Visionaries in Preservation Plan. Several years have passed by and now there is a new interest by many of the citizens in the newly formed Blanco Citizens Association. The question is “Does Blanco have a City Plan?”
LCRA was contracted to write a Comprehensive Master Plan in 2003. (See blancoguide.com.) PEC assisted with this project. At that time the Blanco Historic Preservation Commission requested that the City of Blanco be accepted into the Texas Historic Commission’s Visionaries in Preservation Program.
From the fall of 2003 to February 8, 2005, there were many meetings, starting with a town hall meeting with over 100 citizens attending. At those meetings, many citizens expressing what they wanted for Blanco in a 10-year plan. On February 8, 2005, the master plan was approved by the city council. Two applications were made for the VIP program and it was awarded in 2007. Again, there were seven months of meetings, with many citizens to develop a vision to preserve Blanco’s History and Heritage on Blanco’s terms. In October of 2007 the VIP plan, which is now The Blanco Historic Preservation Action Plan, was accepted by the city.
On May 28, 2009 the BHPAP was updated and became a part of the Blanco Historic Preservation Commission.
Blanco’s goals are the foundation of the preservation action plan. The preservation goals provide the basis for specific actions carried out by a variety of individuals involved in each task force.
Highest Priority Goal: Manage Growth to Protect Rural Character and Natural Resources.
• Preservation options and a zoning plan outside of extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) to prevent billboard sprawl
• Preserving the night sky and controlling light pollution
• Develop a land trust to maintain small town rural atmosphere
• Use land trust to maximize historic quality of the river and to incorporate hiking and biking trails
• Limiting developers’ maximum acres
• Exploring targeted lighting for pedestrian traffic and car traffic in keeping with rural character
Higher Priority Goal: Promote Adherence to Design Standards
• Develop and implement design standards, incentives and time-frame penalties for compliance for historic fabric and new development
• Develop and implement signage standards
• Identify and design gateways in keeping with Blanco’s character
High Priority Goal: Preserve and Revitalize the Square
• Burying utilities in downtown historic square
• Improving landscaping on courthouse square in keeping with Blanco’s cultural landscape
• Generating and promoting historic preservation activities on the square
• Encouraging diverse businesses in historic downtown through incentives
• Identify and promote incentives for historic restoration of buildings
The BHPC commissioners and members stay very busy working on these goals as well as those of the historic ordinance. The Survey and Inventory of structures over 50 years old was started in 2004 and completed in 2009. This document is in two books and will be placed in the Blanco Library. Additions and updates will be made tri-annually. Please visit the library and study the survey and inventory.
The night sky program has been worked on by Wayne Gosnell and recommended to the City Council.
The Design Guidelines are contracted by the City with Mainstreets Architects. These guidelines should be completed by July, 2011. We have had two public meetings and the third will be on March 14, 2011.
The Signage Guidelines are in the process of being rewritten and should be recommended to the city council in March.
The designation of the “Old Blanco High School” to the National Registry of Historic Places is being worked on.
The Urban planner for Master Streetscape Plan for the Blanco Historic District has been selected and the fundraising for this plan is 1/3 of the way. The Gateways will be included in this plan.
The Oral History that is held at the Blanco Library now has numerous histories completed for the public to check out.
The Historic Cemetery brochure and the Historic Walking Brochure should be published by May.
The Pioneer Museum is open and now setting up the World War II exhibition. This is the third exhibition
Plans are being made for the designation of a second historic district.
A review and update of the present historic district will be made in 2011.
An incentive program for the preservation of historic places will be a project to complete in 2011.
Updating the Blanco Historic Preservation Ordinance is currently being worked on.
In 2011, our commissioners attended the National Alliance for Historic Commissions Camp in Granbury, the National Trust for Historic Places in Austin and training for the National Register of Historic Places in Austin.
Please come and join the historic commission as a member and help us preserve the history and heritage of Blanco on our terms.
(Footnote: The Comprehensive Master Plan has never been updated.)