Did you know that property owners in Waxahachie with structures deemed historic are eligible for historic property tax exemptions?

“A Waxahachie historic property is generally a 50-year-old structure characterized by its architectural design,” a city drafted FAQ document explained. “It may be monumental or simple, residential or commercial.

The exemption offered is 25 percent of the appraised value of the property and applies to both residential and commercial properties.

The city also offers a rehabilitation exemption of up to 50 percent of the total property tax bill for rehabilitation amounting to at least $1,250 in improvements to a property.

Full compliance with city regulations, including those of the Waxahachie Historic Preservation Commission, is a part of the approval process. Certain external renovations, for example, are not covered under the tax exemption.

“The WHPC provides for a process, which ensures that property changes are appropriate to the historical integrity of the structure,” the FAQ document cautioned. “This special design review process examines the plans before the work is begun. Any exterior alterations, new construction, demolition, significant landscape changes, or moving of buildings is considered.”

“The Heritage Preservation Commission reviews approximately 200 properties each year for the exemption, which is just a fraction of those likely to be eligible,“ said Anita Simpson, the city’s downtown development director and heritage preservation officer.

Waxahachie is home to over 2500 historic structures, Simpson added.

Norma Chambers, whose house was built in 1924, applied for the exemption for the first time this year.

“I did not know about the tax exemption until I saw a Facebook post earlier this week,” Chambers said. “I am filling out application today [Wednesday].”

Homeowner Bart Starkey found out that renovations without city approval can be a slippery slope where the tax exemption is concerned.

“My 100-year-old home was declined because a wraparound porch was added and windows were replaced during complete restoration,” Starkey shared.

Beth Okorowski has met eligibility every year over the past three years. Her home was built in 1927.

“Its an incentive for owning and maintaining a historic home,” Okorowski shared. “It promotes restoration versus renovation. We save 25 percent on city taxes in return for maintaining the historic exterior.”

The deadline to apply for a historic property tax exemption for the 2020 tax year is Sunday, March 15.

Visit Waxahachie.com to find an application form. You must submit a photo of your property with the application. For more information, contact Simpson at 469-309-4111 or asimpson@waxahachie.com.

Applications must be filed every year.

“Waxahachie is blessed to have retained a great deal of its historic building stock and preserving that became a priority for the city in the early 2000s,” Simpson expressed. “Preservation is a tool for economic development and heritage tourism, and it has paid great dividends to the city. “