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  1. The demo contractor told me a week ago that they were razing the entire site because it had been resold and the new owner had different plans. Since that conversation it looks like that was BS because they have kept the red iron frames that are consistent with the original plans.
  2. My office is across the street. The demo contractor told me the site was resold and they are taking EVERYTHING out. Anybody have insight as to the validity of this?
  3. I know this thread is old but I just had an unpleasant experience with this situation. We PAID our annual alarm permit fee. We had the paid permit posted in the window of our office. The alarm went off in the middle of the day and the police told the monitoring service that they WOULD NOT be responding since we had an expired permit which was WRONG. Our vehicles had been broken into and three other businesses near us had been burglarized in the past 3 weeks. Calling 911 is NOT always an option. My wife is alone in the office occasionally. If she has the alarm set to stay and someone comes in with a gun she can't call 911. If you have false alarms pay the fine. Getting police out of the substations to drive around the neighborhoods is NOT a waste of tax payer money.
  4. Your statement "The valuation of smaller lots is a bit too aggressive and the valuation of larger lots is a bit too lax." is what my question is all about. Protesting land value in the inner city is a losing battle with HCAD. I have never won in dozens of cases that went past the ARB to a judge. Their answer is always "that's the way we do it". I am just looking for the logic behind what appears to be extreme inequity of valuations. Using your example of the two houses on Ashland. Their respective appraised value for their land is $247,500 for 3300 sqft and $330,000 for double that. The market value of the larger lot and house will always be significantly higher than the smaller lot. You said "The basic premise that small lots are worth more than big ones is very sound." Please, I am not trying to be snarky.. I just cannot see how that should ever be the case,unless there are limitations imposed on the land. Can you explain it to me? In my experience in selling my own renovations and construction, houses on larger lots are ALWAYS valued higher. In my opinion, from a market analysis, if a large lot can be subdivided there is higher market value because you can put more improvements on it than something that has already been subdivided. But once it is divided, the increased value is NOT in the land it is in the improvement. The land should not have a multiple of the average $/sqft for tax purposes.
  5. I am questioning WHY a smaller subdivided lot should have a HIGHER assesed tax value per square foot than a house on a larger lot. How does having two houses on 25 foot lots suddenly make the value for the lot higher when compared with one house on both lots? Using the example of 1802 Harvard, it is in fact a vacant lot next to a lot with a house on it. The market value of that land is much higher than assessing it at 50%. I have personally been involved with over 300 real estate transactions and understand the numbers for creating and capturing value. When a lot is subdivided, the total value is increased and optimized. However, all things being equal a 2200 sqft house on a 3300 sqft house should not be appraised the same as a 2200 sqft house on a 6600 sqft house. THAT IS what HCAD is doing.
  6. Sorry but that is NOT what happens. I'll use 1802 Harvard as an example. This house sits on two 55x132 platted lots for a total square footage of 14,520 sqft. The first 6600 sqft is assessed a $50/sqft value for a total of $330,000. The "extra" 7920 sqft is assessed at $25/sqft for $198,000. The market value of that lot is somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000 and could be split out with NO subdivision. 1719 Ashland is a townhome that is assessed a land value of $78.60/sqft. The fact is the $/sqft land value is adjusted in the exact opposite direction that it should be. Larger lots have more value than smaller lots. I have dozens of examples just like this.
  7. That doesn't explain the logic of taxing smaller and smaller increments of land at multiples to larger lots. In fact, you are arguing that the opposite should happen. Larger lots have more value per sqft because they can be subdivided.
  8. Can anyone explain the logic (I know I'm stretching here) behind appraising land differently? HCAD stipulates an "average" lot size for an area and assesses a $/sqft value. If your lot is larger than the average, the amount in excess is typically assessed at 50%. If your lot is smaller than the average they apply a multiplier that has no root in reality to increase the assessed value. For example if you take two 25 ft lots at 3300 sqft each and build two shotgun houses on them the value of the land suddenly quadruples. How is that fair and equitable?
  9. Foreign Correspondents will not be located with Hunky Dory. A seafood restaurant called Bernadine's will replace the Thai portion of the two restaurants in one building concept on 18th street.
  10. You must not have children. They stopped teaching civics decades ago. Additionally, United States Civics are not taught outside of the country as standard curriculum.
  11. s3mh posted the above from the Leader and was a response given by Amy Lawson: THAT is a blatant lie or convenient retelling of the truth. First, each property should have been given a vote instead of each homeowner. I had more to lose than one owner in one house. The CoH should NOT have had a vote. Second, the ballets were mailed in the middle of December and had to be returned right before New Year. A non-response was taken as a yes vote. So NO a majority of property owners did NOT vote for this hysteric designation. AND yes the CoH played fast and loose with HONEST voting and therefore could be considered a "shadow conspiracy.
  12. Nothing in the ordinance dictates scale. The red herring is that there is a plethora of lots for new construction in the WD that will result in the swallowing of bungalows. The ordinance FORBIDS addressing architecture. It is specifically OFF limits. Only eave heights and proportionality are addressed in the guidelines for new construction. It is clear from your snark that you don't want substantive conversation as you accused another poster. I hope you are willing to provide free legal advice when the lawsuits start hitting.
  13. I am a critic of the HAHC. But I do care about historic architecture. I have put my money and a good portion of my adult life renovating old houses. Based on attending 20+ meetings, I question qualifications and intents of the HAHC. The staff and HAHC shouldn't have to "interpret" the ordinance. There may always be gray areas but not the capricious, "I don't like the optics" or "most brick stairs are just ugly" comments I have received from two commissioners. Let's discuss two issues with the ordinance and the way the staff has handled it. Twenty one months ago the Historic Preservation Website under the Planning Department of the City of Houston, I downloaded a copy of "A Design Guide for The Houston Heights Historic Districts". I made an investment based on documents from the official website. A group of peers would agree that a reasonable person would assume that these were the guidelines. Being occasionally reasonable, I assumed that was the case and made a significant investment BASED on these guidelines. My bad AND the COH. What is the redress for this? How should this mistake by the COH be handled? You made a comment earlier about there not being 3 Queen Anne's in a row. Is a prohibition on 3 Queen Anne's in a row in the ordinance? My reading of the ordinance says that "nothing in the foregoing shall be construed to require or impose a single architectural style in any historic district". Your comment is legally moot. Can you explain why a house with a 36' ridge height on a hip roof of a house that is set back from the property line at 20 - 25' and from the side property lines of 8 - 10' cannot exist harmoniously with bungalows with ridge heights of 18'? This exact situation exists in the WD with contributing structures. Why can't new construction on formally commercial space do the same? BTW, the poster you posted is not to scale and even if that exact situation happened, people don't see in 2D. Articulation and depth change the visual perception dramatically. You are not allowing substantive discussion about this ordinance when you dismiss a solution to the major issues by saying it didn't work once before. Why didn't it work?
  14. I have remained civil and engaging in this discussion. Inferring that I am lying is not called for. I did live in the Heights WD then AND have recently moved back (just out of the WD). I avoided the protests and did not watch the news that night. What you are failing to recognize or admit is that the talking points that were widely used formed an impression or perception that this ordinances was to "save the bungalows". It may well be that the inner circle and those allied with those pushing this ordinance had other motives but these were NOT what was widely advertised. I have emails from over 100 residents from the West HD that have expressed support for the chicken factory project (also sent to the HAHC and staff). The far majority cannot understand the reasoning for the rejection AND have expressed the opinion that they thought the ordinance was to "save the bungalows". Your statement, “Sure, they are not shown to scale with the bungalow example between them, but that was not the point." would not hold in the court of public opinion. That was shown that way to illustrate a situation that was conjectural and could be dealt with existing regulations. As far as the Rutland side of my little project is concerned, I think we have a buyer who will play nice with the HAHC. So I can promise you that I will never be a bother to any HD in Houston. My future involvement will be supporting political candidates who see through the charade of this application of the ordinance. Ardent supporters of the ordinance should recognize that complete intransigence over minor issues will eventually sink this ordinance. Already there is one very proud individual with a lot of money who wants to litigate their rejections by the HAHC.
  15. I never saw this poster on someones yard or in any literature that was distributed to my house in the West HD. But it does perpetuate untruths. 1. Side set backs as shown would be in violation of deed restrictions. 2. Total height would be in violation of deed restrictions. Front loaded garages would be easy to restrict without the current ordinance.
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