Posts posted by fwki
The verdict is in. The Planning Commission is no longer the opportunity for fair judgment for those hapless Heights families aggrieved by whimsical HAHC decisions. After months of attempting to beat HAHC opponents at the Planning Commission by tweaking the rules but still getting their collective asses handed to them by superior arguments, Gafrick has thrown in the towel and will no longer allow public comment. Also the appellants will no longer be allowed to address any issues other than those pre-determined by the HAHC as relevant to the appeal. So HD buyers beware: if you are not prepared to grab your ankles and take what the HAHC is giving, stay away from any property that needs work. Unless of course you are a DINK, Empty Nester, barren old lady or alt.life.style.
Time for me to join the Repeal the Ordinance team, there's no middle ground for Parker and her fellow freaks.
I...And Lauren - put all the nut-job hyperbole aside that you read here (it's pretty out there) ....
Lauren, that would be me, having some Halloween fun. Next up: Thanksgiving, unless they do something stupid on Armistice Day.
The Children of the Corn are up to no good once again in this feature presentation: 1213 Harvard CoA Denial - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxevEAIppJU&feature=youtu.be
Commissioner Elliott is at his arrogant best as he explains that the aesthetics of your domicile will be judged not against the home as it stands today but rather against how the home existed long ago in the vivid imaginations of the Children of the Corn.....and stay tuned for the sequel because this one will be the first appeal after, as requested by Mayor Parker, the "joint" committee takes a ride on the Magic Bus right through the Heights, no doubt carefully following the treacherous former marathon route into the hinterland. Breeders and builders beware, do not look into the eyes of the Children as they pass lest your progeny become sterile and whimsical and corrupt.
It's really a shame someone took George's post down on Nextdoor....that ridiculous statement of his should be up there forever for all to see....
I wonder if Brie can go back to the HAHC and request new windows if she can't find anyone to repair them..
That's a good question because it's a TPIA, not a do-it-yourself operation. I tried to just un-paint them and managed just a few after countless hours. But practicality has nothing to do with the freakish HAHC today because their goal is to force normal people out of here. But I think after a hefty donation to The Cause, the board may see things differently.
Third - I had no idea HAHC was over-ruled on old windows, that is good news for once.
Wrong, the HAHC was overruled in one instance after a tedious appeal process. But those fools are still denying window replacement CoA that do not strictly follow National Park Standards for Protected Landmarks. I heard the whole spiel from Marlene herself.
(Here's one example Item hh - http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Commissions/minutes_hahc13/06_13_2013.pdf )
On NextDoor today, George Clogston the historic window guy has now publicly refused to do any work to restore Brie's windows because he does not approve of the architecture that she has chosen. Pasted from NextDoor today:George Clogston from Woodland Heights 19h ago
OK, I'll explain. When a home in the Heights has been hacked up so bad that, in my opinion, it is barely recognizable, I just do not care to be a part of the destruction.
Holy crap, I was just told what this guy told these people to their faces when he bailed out. These vendors are scared witless about the business repercussions of not playing ball with this HAHC faction......Louisiana flashbacks.
Dear god man. It's very difficult to take you seriously when your language is so hyperbolic and incendiary.
Yep, that's my style. And I have fun with it. If this was a business, I would treat it seriously, but it's just a bulletin board for people to have fun and debate. If a post I make causes other people to have fun or debate, all the better. We had some really funny threads going for while there. And I have seen some great debates. S3 is a godsend because he responds to everything, even rank satire. I try not to offend personally (I said try and public figures don't count as per Supreme Court) but my style is offensive specifically not to be taken seriously. Sometimes people flip out and I have to explain myself, but more often than not, people get it. You should see some of my letters to the mayor, but I think she gets it.
......People are choosing to do renovations/additions on these homes outside of the HDs without any silly HAHC or overbearing rules.....
This is the key fact that the Ordinance lovers choose to ignore. Organic preservation controlled by the owners and their desire to be truly part of this neighborhood was in full swing when I got here in 1992. I bought a newly preserved house myself back then. The Ordinance was nothing more than political power play to force developers and contractors to part with tribute to those connected with the zoning board; it has nothing to do with aesthetics or preservation. Nothing more or less has been "preserved" with the ordinance and we are stuck with butt-ugly aesthetics and a downtown circus of Martha Turner wannabes that have nothing else to put on their otherwise double-spaced CV's except "political organizer".
But political winds are blowing with elections coming up. The mayor received a very forceful, comprehensive letter from a long-time local preservationist condemning the train wreck in City Planning (along with a stack of support letters) and on Thursday the Planning Commission served us a potential appeal to City Council at the perfect time for all to see what City Council did to us with this Ordinance. Then we will have our forum to point right at these politicians and tell them to repeal this thing or we will hang this denied CoA around their necks as a political albatross fit for a zoning zealot.
It's not just about an addition looking "tasteful," (which is somewhat subjective) it's about making the addition look subordinate to and different from the original house. Ideally, it should also be relatively easy to remove the addition if someone in the future wants to restore the house to its original appearance.
This is where the City and the HAHC is headed with the actual, new guidelines. The Heights folks were told a bald-faced lie by Marlene Gafrick during her town hall meetings about the guidelines (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWf-f9JRh4g) and what the ordinance allowed. The current administration intends to take it all the way to 100% preservation ala National Park Standards where you'll just have some nominal attachment to the original to the addition, eliminating backyards if you want to expand. Once this becomes evident and widely recognized, the ordinance is toast. We now have enough on the HAHC and this shift to kill by local vote any substantive expansion of HD's, which is the original intent of this thread.
I find Kagan's arguments here interesting, but you're the type that could fall in love with her legal slant. I run with Clarence and that Italian. And if you will recall from the first link I posted: ".....Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority that any monetary requirement -- such as hiring contractors ....must also clear the "Nollan-Dolan test." The district offered Koontz the option to hire contractors to restore wetlands elsewhere to compensate for the loss his project may have caused. Nowhere do they limit the test to fees paid to the government. Matter of fact they put few limits if any on how it must play out.
Forget Kagan's dissent. Look at J. Alito's opinion:
"Because the government need only provide a permit applicant with one alternative that satisfies the nexus and rough proportionality standards, a permitting authority wishing to exact an easement could simply give the owner a choice of either surrendering an easement or making a payment equal to the easement's value. Such so-called 'in lieu of' fees are utterly common place . . . and they are functionally equivalent to other types of land use exactions."
How in the world do historic district requirements fit into the monetary land use exactions described by J. Alito? There isn't even a permit fee for HAHC. A monetary exaction is not a diminished return on development of real property caused by a land use restriction. Penn Central's test covers that issue ("investment backed expectations"). Nollan/Dolan require an exaction, whether it be monetary or dedication of land. All Koontz does is expand Nollan/Dolan to monetary exactions. No monetary exaction, not Nollan/Dolan. Koontz does absolutely nothing for someone opposing historic building regulations.
Finally some meat, I quote the dissent:
"By applying Nollan and Dolan to permit conditions requiring monetary payments—with no express limitation except as to taxes—the majority extends the Takings Clause".
The Ordinance states that a condition for permiting is a CoA. No one would argue that a CoA does not require monetary payments, many payments to many people, solely for Doug Elliott's amusement. Furthermore the requirements for CoA include additional monetary payments to make things look old and crappy again since my renovation would destroy some old and crappy stuff that Doug wants me to keep for the public good. They make me negotiate the level of these reparations to get my permit. Sounds like extortion to me, which is exactly what the Koontz decision is designed to prevent.
Does he not understand it, or do you just not like to admit that there is a weakness in your beloved case?
I may spend some time on this today and formulate a legal analysis myself. I like what I've read and I think s3MH may be deliberately downplaying rye significance of the case.
Read this, especially Kagan's dissent starting at Page 27..http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/11-1447.pdf...very interesting, especially where she explains how this ruling will impact any discussions or negotiations that precede a permitting process which is exactly what occurs with Planning prior to the HAHC. She contends that this ruling now exposes the govering body to legal action under Nollan-Dolan. To s3mh: you've already apologized for her once, no need to apologize again.
It sounds like you're hearing cracks.
He doesn't even understand the alignment of the parties and the arguments they made. Koontz did not find a way around Penn Central. He knew that he had no chance to prevail under Penn Central and sought to extend the Nolan Dollan test to his situation (offsite extraction in the form of a wetland mitigation requirement rather than requiring an onsite mitigation--Nolan and Dollan only dealt with onsite extractions). If the Supreme Court viewed extractions as the same thing as historic preservation ordinances, they would have had to overrule Penn Central. Penn Central held there was no taking by denying the right to build above the old train station. The historic preservation ordinance in Penn Central did not require the developer to dedicate a portion of his property to the public or to buy and restore another property as a condition of getting his permit to build on top of the old train station. Restrictions on what you can build are not extractions. Extractions are permit conditions that require dedication of land to public use. In Dollan it was the requirement to dedicate a bike path and in Nolan it was a requirement to provide a public easement for beach access. Apples and oranges. And Koontz was remanded for further consideration. He has not won yet. All Nolan and Dollan do is require the government to show a nexus between the public purpose and the extraction and to show that the exaction was roughly proportional to the impact. This line of case law has nothing to do with historic preservation rules because there is no exaction. The only takings argument in a historic preservation issue is the investment backed expectations argument. That argument isn't going to go too far in the Heights given the piles of cash everyone is making on real estate right now.
.....Typical shallow thinking.
SCJ Kagan doesn't think like that. In her dissent:
"Kagan also contended that the Supreme Court had held in other cases that money itself can't be a taking and noted that the majority's vague boundaries leave all sorts of permits open for challenges under the Nollan-Dolan test.
"Cities and towns across the nation impose many kinds of permitting fees every day. Some enable a government to mitigate a new development's impact on the community, like increased traffic or pollution -- or destruction of wetlands," she wrote. "Others cover the direct costs of providing services like sewage or water to the development. ... Still others are meant to limit the number of landowners who engage in a certain activity, as fees for liquor licenses do."
Because of the majority's opinion, she went on, "the Federal Constitution thus will decide whether one town is overcharging for sewage, or another is setting the price to sell liquor too high. And the flexibility of state and local governments to take the most routine actions to enhance their communities will diminish accordingly."
Shallow thinkers won't see what Kagan sees, that the cost in money or requirements costing money of a Permit itself is indeed a taking under this ruling. You want me to do what for my building permit? Did you say HA&HC?
Please file a lawsuit in Federal court and try to cite to the exactions line of case law in your attack on historic districts and see how far that gets you. It is not a way around Penn Central. It is a different test for a different regulatory taking. Just because you do not understand the difference between a regulation that is an exaction and one that is not does not mean that there is no difference.
You do not understand Koontz, but there's been a lot written about it already, so get to work. The Defendent tried to push Penn Central, Koontz found a way around it.....conditions required by the permitting process constituted an exaction which itself was a taking, imposed or not. This is what has all the liberal pundits (and SCJ Kagan) freaking out, you can use it just about anywhere. Conditions imposed in order to be granted a permit is a permit exaction. The court ruled that the permit exaction attempt itself was a taking and the strict test of Nollan and Dolan applied. You want a building permit? Well do A, B and HAHC. That's an exaction and now you have a precedent other than Penn Central if you are not disputing the City's right to regulate.
"The district [defendent] claimed that the comparatively strict Nollan/Dolan test does not apply to Koontz’s case; instead, the looser Penn Central test applies. The district stresses that Nollan and Dolan apply only when the permit exaction constitutes a per se taking that actually has been imposed (e.g., Nollan’s imposition of a beachfront access easement or Dolan’s required dedication of land). Here, the district claimed that Koontz was deprived of nothing: he lost no property and provided no money for offsite mitigation, and he never contended that the permit denial constituted a per se taking. Rather, Koontz sought and obtained statutory damages for the temporary taking of his land rather than compensation for the suggested offsite mitigation. Koontz could have sought relief under Penn Central for the condition imposed by the district, but he abandoned that claim in the state courts by not disputing Florida’s interest or authority to regulate land use for the purpose of environmental protection. Koontz never challenged the application of the Penn Central holding to his circumstance."
Edit: Moderator, can we move this legal discussion to a separate thread?
Cracks inWays around Penn Central test, Supreme Court decision significantly expanding the rights of property owners to challenge the terms of land-use permits: http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059983522
"The 5-4 decision along ideological lines in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District held that government conditions on a land-use permit are subject to a strict test to protect the landowner from a "taking," a violation of the Fifth Amendment's clause that states no private property may be taken for public use "without just compensation" -- even if the permit is never issued."
".....Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority that any monetary requirement -- such as hiring contractors ....must also clear the "Nollan-Dolan test," a product of two Supreme Court cases that said the government may not require a landowner to relinquish some of his property for a permit unless there is a "nexus" and "rough proportionality" between the demand and the effects of the proposed project. The goal of the test is to protect property owners from "coercion" and even "extortion" because the government has a much stronger bargaining position in the permitting process....The extension of the Nollan-Dolan standard to money is significant because it opens up permit-granting agencies to a host of new lawsuits, legal experts said. Alito placed very few limits on when Nollan-Dolan applies. Additionally, it will have a chilling effect on permit negotiations, because regulators will be worried that anything they put on the table could later be challenged in court as violating the standard, the experts said."
"John Echeverria of Vermont Law School, who closely follows takings cases, said the new monetary requirement is "devastating"....Echeverria...said the decision shifts the burden of proof in these cases to the government. Instead of a property owner having to show that government terms were excessive, the agency will now have to show it meets the Nollan-Dolan standard. "That's enormously important," Echeverria said"
Edit: Addressing S3's point below, Penn Central is not the only way to attack governement takings, so it's not really a crack but an avoidance.
I am not aware of a way that deed restrictions can prevent demolitions. I am not convinced that even if there was a provision in a deed restriction for approval by the civic association prior to demolition it would be enforceable.
Can this be achieved?
As i mentioned earlier, your points have been duly noted and i updated my petition for clarity: http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-gauge-interest-in-a-south-norhill-historic-district
Sure you could have Deed Restrictions that prevent demolitions because DR's are covenants among willing parties. The original DR's had clauses about "Coloreds" living in the front house and all kinds of stuff that is now illegal. I just looked at your new Petition soliciting input, we may have to draft you onto the Norhill Deed Restrictions Renewal team since we need all the help we can muster and you have made the same mistake: publically expressing interest. I'm serious, check out the Norhill Addition subsection of NextDoor.
You can keep on with the insults. I will not combat them with insults back to you because it is not constructive whatsoever. Due to your perceived interpretation of my petition, i have updated in an attempt to listen to what you have to say.
Is there improvement among the ordinance, HAHC, etc at all? Has the city shown an awareness that there is a problem? Surely, there is hypothetically a way for a historic district to be beneficial.
Being an actual resident of Norhill Addition, what are your personal feelings about all the demolitions occurring in our neighborhood? Are you of the opinion that the neighborhood would be better off with no deed restrictions, no HD, etc., and that property owner rights rule supreme?
Please point out the insults in my last post because I missed 'em totally and I promised Subdude no personal attacks. But my question stands: How can one have a strong enough opinion to post and solicit signatories for a very clear Petition to encumber our properties with seemingly so little information?
Regardless of what I do or do not know about historic districts at this point. Your original post characterized my petition as if there was some machine behind an iron curtain that has a hidden agenda that created it when I know for a fact based on our conversation on Nextdoor that you were fully aware that the petition was created by me, your neighbor who has no hidden agenda.
Judging by what I saw on your Nextdoor profile you are an engineer as am I. We pride ourselves on being detail oriented and using reason and logic to solve problems. Your admitted use of propaganda does nothing but to manipulate those who don't know me into thinking I am some sort of demon preservationist with bad intentions. Propaganda does noone favors and causes people to make decisions based on emotions rather than reason. I'm not trying to troll anyone here and I'd hope, unlike the other thread, things can be kept civil.
I have lightly read the other thread in this forum and have also been on the forum for years albeit a lurker. I will take the time to go back and read every single page of that other thread.
In the meantime, i'd appreciate a link to all the HAHC vids. The one you linked me to on Nextdoor about Brie was definitely frustrating, but she did ultimately get to do what she wanted to.
Sheesh laiall, I've been posting about the Hysterical Preservation Faction elitists moving on Norhill Addition for over a year. I even posted the link to a study funded by Preservation Houston and posted on the UH Hobby Center for Public Policy stating exactly that fact. Just because you posted a very clear Petition and solicited neighbors to take Step One doesn't change any of that. You seem not know much at all about the Ordinance, it's cost, history, how it's being manipulated and enforced or all the trickery used to slap it on the Heights folks in 2010. You missed the bait-n-switch and all the love it fostered. How can one even have an opinion on the Ordinance with so little information? Most engineers I know wouldn't make that Petition move without a little homework first. Yet you are all for it on Change.org. Very interesting, indeed.
Here's the City video link, go to Committees and Commissions and do a search for "historic": http://houstontx.city.swagit.com/ I have about two years' worth ripped for YouTube fodder.
I think the aim of slowing down or limiting tear-downs is good - but the way it was (and is) implemented is really bad.
Example: It's starting to get nice out. You want to open your windows to enjoy the weather and stop using your A/C (good for the environment and all) but they are painted shut!
If you want to hire someone to work on your windows - well you're going to need a permit for that. But you can't get that permit anymore without having a COA. And the meetings are only held once a month. And you can't go because you have to work - or you can just pay an architect to go for $100 per hr...
Oh, and you want to get the work done right away, but the HAHC meeting was just two days ago. So now you get to wait another 29 days...
Are you beginning to get the pictures? Most people don't want to become "experts" in how the process works, and know how all the timing works, etc. They just want to repair their house to enjoy the nice weather.
Or the poor sucker that tried to boot strap a repair of his sagging roof line on his porch by adding a third column on the middle existing pedestal.....red tagged him, forced him in front of the board and told him they didn't "think" there was a third column originally so he must straighten the roof line with alternate methods, methods that first must be approved....cha-ching. Or the lady that wanted energy efficient glass pane in her windows.....no, no, no...must keep old wavy glass...she had to appeal to the Planning Commission to overturn that idiotic ruling, but the HAHC continues to make the same ruling....cha-ching.
Before you start thowing around accusations, take a look at my posts on this subject and you will see that you are late to the party by about two years and during those two years my posts on this subject have been very consistent. Don't think I am talking about you when you just showed up here. The whole process to HD designation starts with a petition, you started a petition not to see "who is in and who isn't"....read your own words: "Residents of South Norhill section of the Woodland Heights: Establish the South Norhill Historic District". That to me is step one in the process and I will fight from step one forward.
On the otherhand, your posts on NextDoor are for up for discussion and I accepted that challenge and will continue there in an appropriate manner as long as people are interested.
In this forum I have used (within forum rules and Subdude's pleadings) and will use tools of debate, biting political satire, AND propaganda to battle propaganda such as your characterization of the petition as just trying to see what people think. These are two different worlds and your posts will not be treated with deference first here as they would on Next Door. Sorry to be blunt, but there are some smart people on this board both pro and con HD, you will learn a lot here assuming you have the sufficient skin thinckness.
That said, I didn't know you from Adam but your petition speaks for itself and it is not at all inquisitory, ergo my first post stands unedited. This preservation ordinance is really, really bad. Don't take Step One in bringing me under that monster without doing your homeowork and then claim innocence or worse, ignorance. Welcome to HAIF.
There are three Norhill developments: Norhill (the oldest, platted as the "Norhill Addition", meaning addition to the CoH), North Norhill and East Norhill. North Norhill and East Norhill voted themselves as historic district. The Norhill Addition is bounded by 11th St on the north, Michaux on the east, Usener on the south and Studewood on the west. Deed Restrictions are up for renewal and will be voted on this fall. By choice Norhill threw in with WHCA as their civic association years ago but retained the right to form a Norhill-only association. The confusion comes from the geniuses down at City Planning who allowed North Norhill take the name "Norhill" for their Historic District, so now we have two called simply "Norhill".
Hysterical preservationists have named their next victim with a petition on Change.oorg to encumber Norhill Addition property owners with the perpetually morphing Historic Ordinance. The petition pleads: "We must act to ensure that the last 1/3 of the Norhill neighborhood's history is preserved."
The petition leaves out the crippling impact on property rights, the irresponsible antics of the HAHC zoning board and the continual reinterpretation of the Historic Ordinance by City Planning to increase the level of government takings imposed by this law. I am asking fellow Norhill Addition property owners educate themselves on this regulatory movement's dirty tricks, watch the videos of the HAHC in action against owners and see the reinterpretation efforts at the Planning Commission appeals videos. Also not mentioned is the fact that there is no upside to HD designation since we have ample protection with existing Deed Restrictions, now up for renewal.
Red's cryptic prediction about Norhill which scared me into action years ago has come true as this monster turns its head. Take action now and we can stop it: Affirm our existing Deed Restrictions with a Yes vote this fall on the upcoming Deed Restriction petition for Norhill Addition to allow City legal department enforcement, educate yourself on the facts and track record of the HAHC, talk to your neighbors and write CM Gonzalez. My opinion is well-documented here, form your own and act on it.
Planning Commision Hat-Trick extends reversal streak for out-of-touch HAHC by overturning triple asinine rulings........same old story, on August 14th HAHC denied four CoA's, property owners appealed three of the four to the PC and won all three. This screwball HAHC is an embarassment to our City with their lack of consistency, lack of professionalism and lack of understanding of the good people of Houston, luckily we have a balanced PC to somewhat limit the damage and waste inflicted by these fools. At the very end of the meeting Gafrick stated that they plan a joint workshop between the two commissions to take a tour of the Heights in October in an affort to align on interpretation of the Ordinance, so I'm sure Gafrick will conduct that as a fair and honest power broker just like she handled the townhalls and the reconsideration vote ............http://houstontx.swagit.com/play/09052013-565
Historic Houston Districts
in The Heights
He he he he he, knew that one would get ya Tex. You shoulda seen the first draft, but it crashed Windows 8.1, took it as a sign and removed all satanic Halloween references....but then again, it coulda just been Windows 8.1.