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Yes, we need zoning... yet another layer of the system that can casually ruin your life.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/10/05/owner.suicide.ap/index.html

CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- A business owner shot and killed himself during a City Council meeting Thursday night after members voted against his request to rezone his property, witnesses said....
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Electrical permit issued for a 21 story apartment building.

The Ashby high rise land is finally being put to use!    

Comments section...   "This thing had better have long arms and huge teeth like all the ads show it as having or I'm going to be sorely disappointed."     http://www.chro

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As a Rice alum and somebody who spends a ton of time in the area, I have no desire to see this tower built. I'm all for the construction of most towers, but not those that are so completely out of character for the neighborhood. Not all towers are a good thing.

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Chris Amandas, a leader of the neighborhood task force opposing the Ashby Tower, said the project might never be built because of physical limitations. The property is not large enough to accommodate the required construction materials and equipment.

Wow. There is not enough room on a 72,910 square foot lot to build a 23 story building, yet they manage to build 75 story towers downtown on lots over 10,000 square feet smaller. That's what's great about these fights. You get to hear some of the most ridiculous and outlandish statements from the neighbors. Reminds me of the neighbor that claimed children would get run over by trains on Richmond Avenue....as if the thousands of vehicle on the six lanes of traffic would magically miss them.

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The arguments are rather interesting, I admit. My sole argument against the project is traffic, if they're able to work around it, then I say go for it. While I think this would be a great building, I still think they need to build it closer to montrose or kirby, those streets are better for handling traffic for such a building.

I agree with you Red, the arguments are just plain stupid. It's like they just don't think through the arguments logically.

I have to admit, the footprint of the lot IS quite substantial. Makes me wonder how much greenspace they'd keep around it.

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The arguments are rather interesting, I admit. My sole argument against the project is traffic, if they're able to work around it, then I say go for it. While I think this would be a great building, I still think they need to build it closer to montrose or kirby, those streets are better for handling traffic for such a building.

I agree with you Red, the arguments are just plain stupid. It's like they just don't think through the arguments logically.

I have to admit, the footprint of the lot IS quite substantial. Makes me wonder how much greenspace they'd keep around it.

Again, I hate to see the argument cast solely in terms of traffic. The quality of a neighborhood is determined by a lot of things other than just traffic count.

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The neighborhood behind the Museum Tower doesn't seem to be affected, in fact it seems improved by the fact that it's now relatively secluded with no traffic going by it.

Yeah, they're facing the backside of a big freakin' building, but it actually made their street and neighborhood very quiet.

The neighborhood behind 1717 will notice some changes once this thing is built by the INCREASE of traffic down the streets by people hoping to bypass Bissonnet's traffic jam. While I may not be looking at it the same way you are, it's a factor I look at when it comes to a slightly bigger picture.

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Another traffic study will be done.

Of course, even if the new study concludes that this project will be a traffic nightmare, given that the study is not required, what legal recourse does the city have to stop the project without getting its pants sued off?

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Another traffic study will be done.

Of course, even if the new study concludes that this project will be a traffic nightmare, given that the study is not required, what legal recourse does the city have to stop the project without getting its pants sued off?

Answer: Nothing. Ever tried to get around Uptown? Bissonet is a stroll in a park compared to traffic levels in large areas of the city. Even with another 1,000 cars per day (e.g less than 5% increase.) People crying 'traffic!' never seem to cite the current figure. I wonder why?

Anyway, heavy traffic is a reality of urban life. If you've avoided it until now, it's only because of the mid/late 20th century conditions that caused urban real estate to be undervalued, mostly due to race prejudice. In a few decades the market realignment will be complete, and traffic in Houston will be at levels comparable to other inner cities.

Edited by woolie
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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metrop...an/5195477.html

All three candidates said opposition to a proposed high-rise at 1717 Bissonnet underscores a need for the city to create a plan to regulate land use.

Clutterbuck said City Hall will have to find alternatives to zoning, which Houston voters have opposed.

"I think there are creative ways to do land planning, and they need to be linked to access to our infrastructure," she said.

Glaser said the city could better regulate land use by creating a comprehensive plan that also addresses transportation.

"We need to take into consideration what type of density we will have and how people plan to get in and out of the city," he said. The city, he said, could encourage businesses to expand car pools and van pools.

Molison said the city should work with Metro to increase use of commuter rail, light rail and bus lines.

"I see the price of gasoline just going through the roof in the next few years," he said. "It's essential we improve public transportation."

Voters have approved a Metro plan to install a rail system that would cut through District C.

"They (Metro) have given me a commitment that they are not going to rip up the streets stem to stern like we did with the Main Street line," Clutterbuck said.

Anyone know what kind of creative land use policies they may be speaking of?

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So Houston will have zoning?

Clutterbuck said City Hall will have to find alternatives to zoning, which Houston voters have opposed.

when the developers hear the word zoning...they'll be out in full force opposing it. implementing alternatives might have more of a chance of occurring.

Edited by musicman
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Clutterbuck said City Hall will have to find alternatives to zoning, which Houston voters have opposed.

when the developers hear the word zoning...they'll be out in full force opposing it. implementing alternatives might have more of a chance of occurring.

Yes and no.

Big, politically connected developers embrace zoning because they can get their projects approved and use the zoning process to limit competition.

New entrants and smaller developers may oppose.

But the people that will really suffer under zoning will be average citizens who will have to eat the inevitable increase in the cost of housing/products and the reduction in choice.

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So Houston will have zoning?

This means that all three city council candidates for this particular position would likely be in favor of it. As far as zoning goes, that pretty much means that regardless of who wins, it won't change the proportion of the city council that favors zoning.

Even if it did, zoning would first have to be approved in a referendum.

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Clutterbuck said City Hall will have to find alternatives to zoning, which Houston voters have opposed.

"I think there are creative ways to do land planning, and they need to be linked to access to our infrastructure," she said.

Big, politically connected developers embrace zoning because they can get their projects approved and use the zoning process to limit competition.

As I understand it, the

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Generally speaking, one would have to assume there is at least some building restriction on the property: like maybe occupancy or height restrictions. Can anyone enlighten me?

occupancy has to do with a physical building. in that area, height restrictions would most likely be governed by deed restrictions (if they existed)

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occupancy has to do with a physical building. in that area, height restrictions would most likely be governed by deed restrictions (if they existed)

I'm pretty sure City Counsel lacks authority to grant a variance from a deed restriction. Deed restrictions are enforceable as between property owners, etc.

I guess my question was more general than just the proposed 1717. Given the fact that we do not have "zoning,

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I'm pretty sure City Counsel lacks authority to grant a variance from a deed restriction. Deed restrictions are enforceable as between property owners, etc.

I guess my question was more general than just the proposed 1717. Given the fact that we do not have "zoning,

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Ah, ok. So they are usually just city easements between the curb and the building.
and/or sides.
In a city without zoning, why is everybody so concerned with setback? Is it pretty common to have regulations on setback, or is that unique to Houston?
you have to allot space for easements. they can be used for safety purposes i.e. structures have to be so far apart otherwise fireproof materials should be used, so far from a road, etc. i don't believe setbacks are unique to houston.
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In a city without zoning, why is everybody so concerned with setback? Is it pretty common to have regulations on setback, or is that unique to Houston?

Residential and office developers tend to really dislike setbacks, also, because it reduces the total amount of developable land, thus limiting the number of units or the amount of leaseable space that they can build economically.

And both urban developers and urbanistas dislike setbacks because it makes for a less inviting pedestrian environment. ...that is unless they take the time and risk to go through a variance request process.

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pardon the late entry...

The city's growth is not affected or limited by zoning or the lack thereof. A city will grow based on its economic growth. If jobs are being created, then new households will need new places to live - simple law of supply and demand. Look at the DC metro region, it has one of the biggest barriers of entry, yet it is one the hottest markets for RE development.

Setbacks are a big issue in Houston because (1) it's one of the few restrictions in place in the city and (2) it opposes certain neighborhoods' goals to have pedestrian-friendly, urban design. To achieve this, you need to build on the lot line, and therefore require a variance to override the setback requirement, which is in place in the entire city.

There is really no legal basis for the city to stop the development. But when you get the mayor on your side, hire a top-notch attorney to fight for you, and pay for an expensive PR campaign, you multiply the soft costs of development and marketing for the developer (who now has to get on the defensive), maybe to a point where the project is not feasible anymore...

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Do they often reject variance requests for pedestrian friendly development, or is just a minor annoyance to get the variance? If somebody wants to build something in say, LA, Chicago, or Austin, do they have to go through a similar variance procedure?

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pardon the late entry...

The city's growth is not affected or limited by zoning or the lack thereof. A city will grow based on its economic growth. If jobs are being created, then new households will need new places to live - simple law of supply and demand. Look at the DC metro region, it has one of the biggest barriers of entry, yet it is one the hottest markets for RE development.

The effect of zoning is dependent upon how it is implemented. But the unavoidable conclusion is that it does represent a barrier to entry in some form or fashion.

Take your example for instance: The DC metropolitan area is comprised of both the District of Columbia and the suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. While the District of Columbia is extremely difficult to get into, the suburbs don't have nearly as many barriers to entry--and that's where their growth is occuring. One city's laws don't apply to the whole metropolitan area. Your DC point illustrates a downside to zoning: if Houston's barriers to entry are greater, more growth will likely occur outside of Houston, where the barriers are lesser.

Edited by TheNiche
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Do they often reject variance requests for pedestrian friendly development, or is just a minor annoyance to get the variance? If somebody wants to build something in say, LA, Chicago, or Austin, do they have to go through a similar variance procedure?

LA, Chicago, and Austin's ordinances are different, as is their typical response to variance requests, but yes, there is a process by which they can be appealed on a case-by-case basis. Folks from LA and Austin can be ravenous and unforgiving. Not sure about how Chi-town works out.

The problem for the developer is that it takes time and money to tie up a site for as long as it takes to go to the City, and that there is no guarantee that the City will cooperate. It is entirely up to politicians, and in the case of 1717 Bissonnet, for instance, which has stirred up a lot of controversy, a city may use setbacks as a way to kill a deal for reasons that aren't related to the spirit driving setback ordinances. Developers don't like putting themselves out there like that because it is too easy to lose gobs of money.

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They'll probably need to come up with some other method than setbacks to kill this deal. The lot is nearly 73,000 square feet, so setbacks will not be a problem. Also, it was previously one lot full of apartments, so no variance will be need to come back with new apartments...i.e., no replatting is required.

I look forward to the creativity, but I'm laying odds that they try to use the traffic angle...even though we all know it will have no more than a marginal effect on traffic.

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They'll probably need to come up with some other method than setbacks to kill this deal. The lot is nearly 73,000 square feet, so setbacks will not be a problem.

What I meant by "in the case of 1717 Bissonnet" was to reference any development that is unpopular in a politically-savvy neighborhood, not the actual project in Houston. Sorry I wasn't more clear; I agree that setbacks won't be a problem with this particular one.

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I look forward to the creativity, but I'm laying odds that they try to use the traffic angle

But even then, the developers don't need driveway permits or anything of that nature, so even if the new study shows that the tower will turn Bissonnet into Westheimer, the City has no ordinance allowing them to do anything about it, right?

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But even then, the developers don't need driveway permits or anything of that nature, so even if the new study shows that the tower will turn Bissonnet into Westheimer, the City has no ordinance allowing them to do anything about it, right?
lack of adequate infrastructure would most likely be enough.....and i agree with red that the traffic angle will be the one they pursue.
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The effect of zoning is dependent upon how it is implemented. But the unavoidable conclusion is that it does represent a barrier to entry in some form or fashion.

Take your example for instance: The DC metropolitan area is comprised of both the District of Columbia and the suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. While the District of Columbia is extremely difficult to get into, the suburbs don't have nearly as many barriers to entry--and that's where their growth is occuring. One city's laws don't apply to the whole metropolitan area. Your DC point illustrates a downside to zoning: if Houston's barriers to entry are greater, more growth will likely occur outside of Houston, where the barriers are lesser.

I can't say that I agree totally. Does it represent a barrier in some form? Yes, but you are implying with this statement that ALL barriers are bad, which I disagree with.

Also, I don't buy that Houston's barriers of entry will be some sort of hindrance that forces development outside of the city. The reasoning is that if Houston was to use zoning, it would likely apply to the entire ETJ, which stretches to Timbuktu except for when it buts up against Sugar Land, Missouri City, The Woodlands, Baytown, etc. That might be an issue except that we all know that Sugar Land has really REALLY strict zoning requirements--down to the color of brick that can be used IIRC. Missouri City has strict regulation and we all know that the Woodlands may have the area's strictest zoning requirements in the region. Does Sugar Land and the Woodlands look bland to a lot of people? Sure. But they are also some of the hottest markets in the area for you-name-it development. One could mention school districts as another x-factor to development, but my guess is that if/when the day comes when Sealy, Rosenberg, and Fulshear's school districts are viewed better than Sugar Land's or Missouric City's, they won't drop their zoning requirements as an effort to remain competitive.

So where would the Houston-bound development flee to? Waller? New Caney? Cleveland? Winnie? Because there's a lot of regulation to go around in-between. You may know better that all of us that the feasibility of a project in Houston doesn't necessarily equal feasibility in Prairie View (which also may have some sort of zoning regulation).

Developers know that Houston as a whole is growing like gangbusters. They also know about pent-up demand that may exist for closer in development in response to worsening traffic among other reasons. Something as piddly as a zoning regulation will not make or break a deal in Houston. After all, it's not like Post or Hines or Transwestern or Trammel Crow haven't seen *gasp* a zoning requirement or a form-based code requirement before. I'll admit that smaller developers that have only developed solely in the City of Houston may have trouble with new regulations, but they will adapt if they want to continue to prosper. If those developers have managed to make the numbers work in Sugar Land, then I attribute their claims to sound and fury signifying nothing.

Speaking of, I have never seen proof (numbers/costs) of the actual increase in costs to the individual public citizen that zoning (or something like it) would bring. Is it $100? $1000? If I can't afford a house that $251,000, then I really shouldn't be buying one that's $250,000 either. On the other hand, if zoning or a park ordinance or any other regulation is going to make a $250,000 home cost $275,000, then we can have a discussion. Until the numbers are presented, consider me skeptical of the claim.

It makes me wonder what the outcry was like when Houston told developers that they couldn't build in a whole 25' space in the front of their property. They adapted then. They'll adapt to whatever is new. Zoning (or non-zoning) is not the great equalizer that helps Houston compete with its neighbors--it's being home to over 2 million in its city limits and more than 3 million in its ETJ with millions more to come.

Edited by GovernorAggie
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I can't say that I agree totally. Does it represent a barrier in some form? Yes, but you are implying with this statement that ALL barriers are bad, which I disagree with.

No, you're right. Not all barriers are bad. But...that assumes that the City of Houston handles it with competence. I dont' trust them to, quite frankly. And the sheer geographic size of the City means that one crappy zoning commission can do a whole lot of damage. ...this is in contrast to a metropolitan area like Dallas', where there are lots of small cities, not all with the very same codes. In that case, cities are large enough that their codes mean something but small enough that consumers have a reasonable choice to avoid living there and still be well-located to where they perfer to be.

And by the way, you cite The Woodlands as an example of a place with strict zoning. The Woodlands has no zoning. It has deed restrictions. It was developed by a profit-driven entity that wanted to bring people to their land and do so over the course of decades. Cities tend to go the other way; there are often political pressures to keep people out, especially the poor.

Also, I don't buy that Houston's barriers of entry will be some sort of hindrance that forces development outside of the city. The reasoning is that if Houston was to use zoning, it would likely apply to the entire ETJ, which stretches to Timbuktu except for when it buts up against Sugar Land, Missouri City, The Woodlands, Baytown, etc. That might be an issue except that we all know that Sugar Land has really REALLY strict zoning requirements--down to the color of brick that can be used IIRC. Missouri City has strict regulation and we all know that the Woodlands may have the area's strictest zoning requirements in the region. Does Sugar Land and the Woodlands look bland to a lot of people? Sure. But they are also some of the hottest markets in the area for you-name-it development.

Do you really want the entire City of Houston to be like Sugar Land, Missouri City, or Baytown? BORING! And besides, since so much of the City of Houston is already built out, zoning ordinances wouldn't have any appreciable impact at all for decades. ...and what zoning does do is likely to largely follow what the market would've developed anyway. In the mean time, you're paying for the bureaucracy in taxes.

So where would the Houston-bound development flee to? Waller? New Caney? Cleveland? Winnie? Because there's a lot of regulation to go around in-between. You may know better that all of us that the feasibility of a project in Houston doesn't necessarily equal feasibility in Prairie View (which also may have some sort of zoning regulation).

I wasn't suggesting that what was destined for Houston would've gone to Winnie or any of those places. There are plenty of unincorporated territories just beyond the city limits...and no, I don't recall ever having come across a zoned ETJ. If you were a developer, and you had plenty of sites to choose from, after all, would you rather buy up a site requiring a variance and compliance with various City codes and regs, or would you rather just go down the road and use land more efficiently? Why would you even take the slightest risk if you could help it?

Developers know that Houston as a whole is growing like gangbusters. They also know about pent-up demand that may exist for closer in development in response to worsening traffic among other reasons. Something as piddly as a zoning regulation will not make or break a deal in Houston. After all, it's not like Post or Hines or Transwestern or Trammel Crow haven't seen *gasp* a zoning requirement or a form-based code requirement before. I'll admit that smaller developers may have trouble with new regulations, but they will adapt if they want to continue to prosper.

It's made and broken deals elsewhere. Don't forget that many deals aren't even conceived of because the zoning isn't appropriate--and that doesn't mean that the deal would've been financially viable where the zoning was approriate (if there was even zoning in that city for the product that the developer had in mind). It is not as though site demand is constant throughout a city or as though you can build something anywhere and people will live there just because its their only choice. There's no such thing as a single choice. If you inconvenience someone, there will be consequences.

Post, Hines, Transwestern, and Trammel Crow are used to dealing with highly-regulatory environments, but they aren't the only developers in town...just the best connected. They buy clout. They buy favors. They're exceptionally good at it. Mom & Pop operations aren't so good, don't have the resources, manpower, or economies of scale.

Speaking if, I have never seen proof (numbers/costs) of the actual increase in costs to the individual public citizen that zoning (or something like it) would bring? Is it $100? $1000? If I can't afford a house that $251,000, then I really shouldn't be buying one that's $250,000 either. On the other hand, if zoning or a park ordinance or any other regulation is going to make a $250,000 home cost $275,000, then we can have a discussion. Until the numbers are presented, consider me skeptical of the claim.

Perhaps the reason you've never seen hard numbers is because there is an insufficient sample of data from which to estimate them. Houston is basically the only big municipality to draw from, but its geography, economy, demography, and political environment differ from the norm. Conclusions are thust lacking in either validity or reliability. I could give you numbers if you really want them, but I would hope that you would not be gullible enough to take them seriously. We are thus relegated to theory. It isn't perfect, but its the best we've got. Deal with it.

It makes me wonder what the outcry was like when Houston told developers that they couldn't build in a whole 25' space in the front of their property. They adapted then. They'll adapt to whatever is new.

Urban developers, owners, and local activists complained. They were on the same page. All hate using land inefficiently; it reduces the gross potential revenue, which translates to lower land prices and barriers to entry that nudge lease rates up and limit market entry. This means less shopping and less development generally. Also means less tax revenue and more paperwork for the City. So they're working to reform it...they sure are taking their sweet time...but at least they're on the right track. They're adapting by trying to curb just the kind of restrictive regulations that don't make sense and don't accomodate a diversity of architectural forms! Do you not see the parallels to zoning?

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In that case The Woodlands has the strictest deed restrictions in the region. You can't cut a tree down without replacing it. You can't paint your house without permission. You can't paint your house just any color. It has to be approved. EVERYTHING you do, The Woodlands would like you to get permission first. That's not to say you can't do anything. God knows my grandmother cut down 24 trees between the front and back yard. If you ever come across a treeless yard in The Woodlands, it's my grandmothers. I think it's the only one in The Woodlands like that.

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Houston should (with the aid of the wealthy people in neighborhoods that don't want the development) create incentives (design/QOL-related incentives, not just financial) that make developers want to put these big highrises elsewhere. Or in other words: what is it that could make this developer want to move this development someplace less "disruptive"? Maybe in the future these well-connected people would find out what that is ahead of time and make it happen, thus pre empting these battles. But at any rate, this particular development doesn't seem that bad, other than being unattractive.

Edited by N Judah
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The effect of zoning is dependent upon how it is implemented. But the unavoidable conclusion is that it does represent a barrier to entry in some form or fashion.

Take your example for instance: The DC metropolitan area is comprised of both the District of Columbia and the suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. While the District of Columbia is extremely difficult to get into, the suburbs don't have nearly as many barriers to entry--and that's where their growth is occuring. One city's laws don't apply to the whole metropolitan area. Your DC point illustrates a downside to zoning: if Houston's barriers to entry are greater, more growth will likely occur outside of Houston, where the barriers are lesser.

Wow. Over simplification at its finest.

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Overall, I think the point is that controls may hinder development, but there are a lot more drivers for growth than just lack of zoning, and developers will work with regulators if they have to. At least that's how it works out everywhere else. The assertion is constantly being made here that growth is due to lack of regulation:

the suburbs don't have nearly as many barriers to entry--and that's where their growth is occuring

Aren't the suburbs growing for a lot of other reasons? I'm just going to keep repeating, "correlation is not causation." How do you explain growth in the tightly regulated Woodlands?

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Niche,

Thanks for the responses to my post. The biggest statement IMO is that we are relegated to theory. Theory. In a "prove it to me" city. That being said, I don't think traditional zoning fits Houston, but some regulation is needed. And while they may seem inefficient, I do in fact trust one planning commission to handle the issues related to land development. Give the people a little credit. After all, the worst that would happen is that Southampton would whine and complain and the Ashby Tower would either be reduced in scale or not happen in this location. Development for the sake of development is not always optimal. It's harder to unscramble eggs than it is to crack them--meaning that a mistake is harder to undo than it is to prevent (such as your dislike of the Costco development on Richmond--would it have been better for the Planning Commission to work with the developer for a better arrangement of the site?).

Regarding the Woodlands, I should have read my post and finshed my thought. What it should have said is that once it becomes a city in 2014 or whenever, the Woodlands may have the strictest zoning in the region. I realize that it's a private venture today, but in less than a decade, it will be an EXTREMELY heavily regulated city--in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it wouldn't be the most regulated in the State. I would be extremely surprised if the people of the Woodlands who take so much pride in their look would allow the area to go to a fragmented deed restriction system. Instead, it will have a strong comprehensive plan with zoning (or some land development code similar to form-based or zoning). I almost feel like I can guarantee that. Which presents an interesting thought--you yourself don't trust the public sector (or maybe just the COH) to make good decisions, but the Woodlands is turning itself into the very system that you don't trust. Is this going to hurt their development or economy? I would hope not. If their economy is so fragile that a silly zoning ordinance would hamper or kill it, then it wasn't strong in the first place. I would say the same about any city--including Houston. It's not too dissimilar to a person living paycheck to paycheck--highly susceptible to outside influences throwing their financial solvency out of whack.

Lastly, regarding your last response, the only parallel to zoning is that the City is trying to change its involvement in land development issues (note that I did not say land use). Zoning in and of itself is concerned about land use and many will tell you has contributed to many urban problems today.

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Overall, I think the point is that controls may hinder development, but there are a lot more drivers for growth than just lack of zoning, and developers will work with regulators if they have to. At least that's how it works out everywhere else. The assertion is constantly being made here that growth is due to lack of regulation:

Aren't the suburbs growing for a lot of other reasons? I'm just going to keep repeating, "correlation is not causation." How do you explain growth in the tightly regulated Woodlands?

One word: schools. It can't be taxes because people in Cy-Fair pay out the nose for things like "Educational Support Centers" with property taxes. Other than that, I would argue that the suburbs have MORE barriers for entry than Houston.

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One word: schools.

Precisely.

And by the way, you cite The Woodlands as an example of a place with strict zoning. The Woodlands has no zoning. It has deed restrictions. It was developed by a profit-driven entity that wanted to bring people to their land and do so over the course of decades.

Of course zoning is a messy political process, and it is never going to be perfect. That doesn't mean it is bad. Unfortunately, we all live in a real world where political processes are used to mediate among competing interests, not an ideologically pure fantasy-land. Apart from personal philosophical beliefs, I can't quite buy the argument that restricting development is fine if it is done by a profit-driven entity, but not it is done by means of government.

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Houston should (with the aid of the wealthy people in neighborhoods that don't want the development) create incentives (design/QOL-related incentives, not just financial) that make developers want to put these big highrises elsewhere. Or in other words: what is it that could make this developer want to move this development someplace less "disruptive"?

Regulations can be created that would make developers want to put highrises elsewhere...but that won't change consumer preferences. The problem in my mind is not that developers are being influenced or even that they'd be put out of business; developers are only a means to an ends. It is that a minority of citizens are prevented from living where and how they like by a majority that assumes that the minority will be satisfied with the majority's preferences. I am not.

Perhaps the tower does not conform to its surroundings. Well neither do I, as an individual. Perhaps I should be outlawed. The world would be a more pleasant place.

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Overall, I think the point is that controls may hinder development, but there are a lot more drivers for growth than just lack of zoning, and developers will work with regulators if they have to. At least that's how it works out everywhere else. The assertion is constantly being made here that growth is due to lack of regulation:

Aren't the suburbs growing for a lot of other reasons? I'm just going to keep repeating, "correlation is not causation." How do you explain growth in the tightly regulated Woodlands?

The Woodlands is the ideal example of how private property rights are superior to property rights usurped by government. Had The Woodlands been incorporated as its own municipality and tried to use zoning, I seriously doubt that it would've become the gem that it is.

My thesis is NOT that restrictions on land use are bad or that they discourage growth. It is that government restrictions tend to be bad and discourage growth. The key difference is who gets to do the deciding.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to Ashby High-Rise: 1717 Bissonnet

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