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The Langley: Residential High-Rise At 1717 Bissonnet St.


musicman

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Yes, but the residents didn't do anything wrong either. They were utilizing the means they had to protect their neighborhood. That's tough about the developers, but can we realistically always just expect residents to cave in to what developers want to do in their neighborhoods? It's certainly a valid question about whether the tower itself was appropriate. But once they decided that for whatever reasons it wasn't, the residents still had every right to protest it. Frankly I'm glad to see people stand up for something instead of letting themselves be bulldozed over. Are they supposed to feel regret because the developers lost money? Get real.

It's hard on everyone, but good development requires balancing the interests of residents and developers. Sometimes it's not a pretty process, and both parties rarely are going to get everything they want.

"Snotty activists"?! :lol: You sound almost bitter about it! How dare they have the temerity to complain! :lol:

do you not find the hypocrisy in any of this at all? do you think if a development like this would have gone up in a poorer part of town to the neighbor's dismay that the city would bend over backwards to get it halted? the residents of southhampton used their wealth and political clout to ensure that a perfectly legal and legitimate development would never see the light of day for their own selfish (and misguided) reasons.

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Well, if it was just about scale, then why aren't they up in arms about the new Sunset Clinic and garage? While just a midrise of 6-8 floors, it is completely out of scale for that neighborhood. I'd also add that Sunset is a helluva lot less commercial than Bissonnet and has multi million dollar homes dotting it for blocks.

The argument that this was about traffic is also assinine. Don't you think a major health clinic will cause more traffic than a residential building?

I am all for the neighbors fighting to protect their property and neighborhood. That's the American way, or at least it should be.

I guess my beef is with the result of the protest. The truth is they shouldn't have a leg to stand on to block this development. It sets a really ugly precedent and I have no doubt that there is going to be a very costly legal battle over this one that will cost the city dearly.

It simply appears to me that the rules of the game were changed midstream because rich people got pissed. It also doesn't hurt to have two city council members as residents of that area either... nor that the mayor was a one-time resident too.

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I think that my earlier question was buried on the previous page, but Houston19514 mentioned something about old, run-down apartments on an arterial street (not naming Maryland Manor, but I assume referring to it).

I said that I don't really notice the apartments (maybe because they blend in?) but are they bad off?

And the Sunset garage - ewww!

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Maryland Manor doesn't look that too bad off. I think they are a painted blue-ish brick two story job behind gates.

And, I agree. The Sunset Garage is terrible. A much worse scar on the area than a 23 story brick-clad high rise would have been. The traffic in and out of there by patients, family members, doctors, aides, office assts. and the like is pretty bad. I suppose the neighbors weren't too upset about this because it is a very high-end clinic where many of the area residents go for health care!

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Well, if it was just about scale, then why aren't they up in arms about the new Sunset Clinic and garage? While just a midrise of 6-8 floors, it is completely out of scale for that neighborhood. I'd also add that Sunset is a helluva lot less commercial than Bissonnet and has multi million dollar homes dotting it for blocks.

The argument that this was about traffic is also assinine. Don't you think a major health clinic will cause more traffic than a residential building?

I am all for the neighbors fighting to protect their property and neighborhood. That's the American way, or at least it should be.

I guess my beef is with the result of the protest. The truth is they shouldn't have a leg to stand on to block this development. It sets a really ugly precedent and I have no doubt that there is going to be a very costly legal battle over this one that will cost the city dearly.

It simply appears to me that the rules of the game were changed midstream because rich people got pissed. It also doesn't hurt to have two city council members as residents of that area either... nor that the mayor was a one-time resident too.

your issue is ultimately with the legal department who usually do what they are told to do.

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Excellent use of hyperbole in your post. I see a bright future for you in writing homeowners association newsletters and public comment speaking at city council and METRO meetings.

And thank you RedScare for your positive contribution. It always helps me remember why I rarely participate in any discussion on this site.....rudeness seems the daily dish.

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Well, if it was just about scale, then why aren't they up in arms about the new Sunset Clinic and garage? While just a midrise of 6-8 floors, it is completely out of scale for that neighborhood. I'd also add that Sunset is a helluva lot less commercial than Bissonnet and has multi million dollar homes dotting it for blocks.

I can't prove it but IIRC the neighborhood was not happy about the Sunset Clinic and garage project. That may have been one of the reasons why there was so much opposition to the Ashby project.

I think that my earlier question was buried on the previous page, but Houston19514 mentioned something about old, run-down apartments on an arterial street (not naming Maryland Manor, but I assume referring to it).

I said that I don't really notice the apartments (maybe because they blend in?) but are they bad off?

And the Sunset garage - ewww!

There were some old, run-down apartments on Bissonnet, but they were replaced by the Rice Graduate apartments. There are also those art-deco-ish apartments on Wroxton and Bolsover. I hope they're not rundown -- I think they're kinda neat. Maryland Manor useta be kinda seedy, but it was heavily remodeled in the mid-90s.

Ya know, I still think that even if the Ashby highrise is the prettiest development in town, that nine months (probably more than a year, actually) of construction traffic and deliveries and lane closures is a lot to ask that neighborhood to endure. Especially when things are starting to get back to normal after the Sunset clinic. The other thing is, I live in a cheap, twenty-year-old tract house in a generic Pearland suburb. I don't have any kind of special view in my back yard. But I wouldn't be too happy about a giant residential tower suddenly looming over my back yard, either.

This wasn't the first controversy about a high-rise structure in the area. Houston grande dame Oveta Culp Hobby wanted to build a high-rise hotel on her Shadyside property back in the sixties but the neighborhood association fought it and won. That's probably why she demolished her home, the eponymous Shadyside built for J. S. Cullinan as the first home in the development, and moved out of the neighborhood in 1971. Shadyside was on the property where those two new stucco and tile "beauties" visible from Main Street are now. I remember seeing the foundation remains of the Shadyside house back when you could walk in the neighborhood.

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Sorry, but there is something wrong with it in my opinion.

I am certainly not a pro-development type of person. I generally support stronger regulatory practices for building within the city.

That said, these developers didn't do anything illegal. They purchased land in an area of town that did NOT have deed restrictions and they planned to build a very nice apartment tower (rental units) with street level retail. This project would have provided some great jobs. It would have provided nice new apartments for Rice students and faculty as well as for TMC workers. It would have provided retail/restaurant space for the neighborhood. AND, it was a fairly nice highrise to boot.

In the end, they will likely be out MILLIONS of dollars and will be stuck with an aging complex that no future developer will touch. That just isn't right in my book because these guys were following all rules and going above and beyond in terms of being open to public review. These were the good guys of development and they are getting screwed.

I can't say that I have the deepest sympathy for developers that ended up losing money on a bad business decision, but if that is your concern the best outcome would be zoning or land use regulations that would make it very clear to both residents and developers what kind of buildings are acceptable. Zoning could also let land use regulations apply to ALL neighborhoods, not just the ones where the residents have the money or cojones to make a stink. A zoning process would minimize the risk on both sides.

By the way, the residents didn't do anything illegal either, did they?

Well, if it was just about scale, then why aren't they up in arms about the new Sunset Clinic and garage? While just a midrise of 6-8 floors, it is completely out of scale for that neighborhood. I'd also add that Sunset is a helluva lot less commercial than Bissonnet and has multi million dollar homes dotting it for blocks.

I don't know, you'd have to ask them. Again, I wasn't arguing the merits of their dislike of the high rise, I was defending their right to try to stop it.

I am all for the neighbors fighting to protect their property and neighborhood. That's the American way, or at least it should be.

I guess my beef is with the result of the protest. The truth is they shouldn't have a leg to stand on to block this development. It sets a really ugly precedent and I have no doubt that there is going to be a very costly legal battle over this one that will cost the city dearly.

I'm afraid I don't understand. You're OK with their fighting to protect the neighborhood but not with the outcome?

do you not find the hypocrisy in any of this at all? do you think if a development like this would have gone up in a poorer part of town to the neighbor's dismay that the city would bend over backwards to get it halted? the residents of southhampton used their wealth and political clout to ensure that a perfectly legal and legitimate development would never see the light of day for their own selfish (and misguided) reasons.

Whose hypocrisy? The residents didn't make any bones about what they where trying to accomplish. It is unfortunate that lacking zoning, land use appeals can in Houston can only be made by protest. I wish that were not the case. And it is the case that poorer areas are less likely to put up a fight for any number of reasons. But that doesn't remove the right at all of the Ashby residents to protest. My point is that poorer neighborhoods would be better enabled with zoning laws, but it is silly to think that in their absence rich it is somehow wrong of rich neighborhoods to protest. You don't help one group by taking away rights from another.

I'm sorry to say this, but reading over some of the posts it seems to me that some of the expectations of the residents verge on the unreal. Think of it:

You own a million dollar house in one of the best neighborhoods in the city, and some developer decides he wants a high-rise behind your house. Are you going to think, "Gee, I'm really concerned that that high rise will destroy the value of my house and the quality of my neighborhood, but I better not say anything about it. After all, I'm sure the developers mean well, and if I protest they might lose money and I sure don't want that to happen. Besides, there are many people who live in poor areas and can't afford legal help, so it would be wrong of me to do so even if I can afford it. On top of everything, wouldn't speaking up be selfish on my part?"

Is this really how you would react? I don't think so.

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"Gee, I'm really concerned that that high rise will destroy the value of my house and the quality of my neighborhood, but I better not say anything about it. After all, I'm sure the developers mean well, and if I protest they might lose money and I sure don't want that to happen. Besides, there are many people who live in poor areas and can't afford legal help, so it would be wrong of me to do so even if I can afford it. On top of everything, wouldn't speaking up be selfish on my part?"
:lol:

Too true. Lots of people were FOR this development and don't live anywhere near it. They accuse the neighborhood folks of being NIMBYs. Maybe those people should be called SOEBYs?

Shouldn't the people ADJACENT to the thing get to have the biggest influence on the outcome? Even if they are rich and snooty (just kidding)!

Dave.

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I can't say that I have the deepest sympathy for developers that ended up losing money on a bad business decision, but if that is your concern the best outcome would be zoning or land use regulations that would make it very clear to both residents and developers what kind of buildings are acceptable. Zoning could also let land use regulations apply to ALL neighborhoods, not just the ones where the residents have the money or cojones to make a stink. A zoning process would minimize the risk on both sides.

It's pure silliness to pretend these very same kinds of battles don't occur in cities that are zoned.

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By the way, the residents didn't do anything illegal either, did they?

No but I think they acted in really bad faith (ironically, especially in comparison to the developers). When you move to a neighborhood with no deed restrictions you've got to prepare yourself mentally for the eventuality of neighborhood change. Resorting to tantrum-throwing and backslapping good-ole-boys-ism when things don't go your way is simply inappropriate.

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I'm sorry to say this, but reading over some of the posts it seems to me that some of the expectations of the residents verge on the unreal. Think of it:

You own a million dollar house in one of the best neighborhoods in the city, and some developer decides he wants a high-rise behind your house. Are you going to think, "Gee, I'm really concerned that that high rise will destroy the value of my house and the quality of my neighborhood, but I better not say anything about it. After all, I'm sure the developers mean well, and if I protest they might lose money and I sure don't want that to happen. Besides, there are many people who live in poor areas and can't afford legal help, so it would be wrong of me to do so even if I can afford it. On top of everything, wouldn't speaking up be selfish on my part?"

Is this really how you would react? I don't think so.

i live in a $1M+ house in one of the wealthiest neighbrohoods in the city, have several very large high-rises (with several more on the drawing boards) w/in shouting distance, and have never heard or seen much of a protest by anyone at anytime.

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First of all, zoning can provide a baseline to manage expectations on both sides. It can give developers reasonable (although not perfect) assurance that they are unlikely to waste vast amounts of money as happened here. It can give homeowners reasonable (but not perfect) assurance that their neighborhood is unlikely to drastically change in composition. The point is to save both sides a lot of time, money and heartache.

Second, land use laws can define the process for resolving disputes. This may not be pleasant, but at least it can be transparent, above-board and treat rich and poor equally. I just think this would address a lot of the concerns that posters have brought up here.

Well said - and even though we have lots of land use ordinances and individual areas can have deed restrictions, it obviously isn't working out so well (whether you call them whiny NIMBYs, greedy/thoughtless developers, and so on).

i live in a $1M+ house in one of the wealthiest neighbrohoods in the city, have several very large high-rises (with several more on the drawing boards) w/in shouting distance, and have never heard or seen much of a protest by anyone at anytime.

The only area that comes to mind like this is around Tanglewood/Post Oak/Galleria, but many of those buildings have Post Oak, Westheimer, San Felipe, and 610 to funnel traffic out...

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The only area that comes to mind like this is around Tanglewood/Post Oak/Galleria, but many of those buildings have Post Oak, Westheimer, San Felipe, and 610 to funnel traffic out...

Have you read the anticipated % change in traffic due to this redevelopment ? (Would expect that you have)

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Sorry, but why was this a bad business decision by the developers?

They bought land that was NOT bound by deed restrictions and offered up a very tasteful mixed-use tower in an area of town that is highly desired.

Said tower would have been located inbetween several other hi-rise residential towers (Museum Tower, The Robinhood, The Warwick) as well as adjacent to a major employment center (Texas Med Center), a major university (Rice) and a major cultural center (museum district). All 3 of those centers house tall structures already.

Again, there was nothing legally that could/should have been done to stop this tower and I am afraid that if this gets played out in court, the taxpayers of the City are going to come out on the losing end.

As an aside, I am a former home owner and dues paying member of the Southampton Neighborhood Association. Personally, I am GLAD this is not being built despite what I am writing on this board. My concern has to do with the legality of the battle and the likely overall outcome for all Houstonians.

Additonally, there are several million dollar + neighborhoods in Houston that have towers located either in or directly adjacent to them... River Oaks, Avalon Place, Crestwood, Montrose, Southampton, Tanglewood, Briargrove, Memorial, Old Braeswood, Southgate, Upper Kirby, and more all pop into mind.

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Yes, but the residents didn't do anything wrong either. They were utilizing the means they had to protect their neighborhood. That's tough about the developers, but can we realistically always just expect residents to cave in to what developers want to do in their neighborhoods? It's certainly a valid question about whether the tower itself was appropriate. But once they decided that for whatever reasons it wasn't, the residents still had every right to protest it. Frankly I'm glad to see people stand up for something instead of letting themselves be bulldozed over. Are they supposed to feel regret because the developers lost money? Get real.

It's hard on everyone, but good development requires balancing the interests of residents and developers. Sometimes it's not a pretty process, and both parties rarely are going to get everything they want.

"Snotty activists"?! You sound almost bitter about it! How dare they have the temerity to complain! :lol:

Time for a highly-tangential trip down memory lane... Do you remember, in the first Ghostbusters movie, the scene on top of the highrise apartment building where Gozer, a freaky andogenous demon, opens a gateway to another realm, in the process causing much mayhem, and is then confronted by the team? Ray steps forward and very seriously describes in human terms the pathetic/trivial/irrelevent encroachments being committed by Gozer just by it having made itself present. Gozer asks, "Are you a god?" Ray responded no and the whole team was consequently struck by lightning which burst forth from Gozer's fingertips.

Well when you try and say that the current residents aren't doing anything wrong, you're defining morality and applying that definition as a premise to an argument. And so I ask you, "Are you a god?" If the answer is no, then you aren't in a position to define what is morally right or wrong and your premise is rendered invalid. Even if you are a god, I reject your premise and substitute it with my own...for you see...I am also god. ;)

My last post indicated that I believe that the neighbors were acting rationally (if not especially genuinely) in response to a perceived threat. I also believe that in spite of the fact that this was in fact a very nice proposed highrise, certainly more sensitive to its surroundings than other highrises had been in similar situations, the neighbors rationally concluded that it was a threat to home values. Market prices are often the result more of perception than of reality, after all. Moreover, the market for homes in that price range is not a very deep one and even small percentage differences in price translate to plenty enough justification to hire lawyers, wage a PR campaign, or bribe politicians. So I do conceed that in every respect, the snotty neighborhood activists were acting rationally and in their own best interests.

But of course, you noticed that I do pass judgement. They bought into a neighborhood without deed restrictions which abuts highly desirable unrestricted neighborhoods, a growing university, and one of the fastest-growing employment centers in the country--yet they believe themselves deserving of neighborhood stability. FAIL. They believed themselves deserving of the right to limit new development and in so doing exclude other persons who might appreciate living in the neighborhood. They would be willing to essentially displace such persons; to disallow them a measure of satisfaction; to take up the addage that 'might makes right'. FAIL. They had the capacity to be aware of the infrastructure improvements that the developer undertook but either were unaware or were unconcerned. FAIL. Only after those improvements were complete did they seek to usurp a third party's property rights; they did not negotiate for the purchase of the property or for the purchase of air rights. Theft was preferable. FAIL. Their first attempt, to craft an ordinance regulating density, would've affected numerous other proposed developments throughout Houston--more or less on a random basis--and indeed did cause me personally some inconvenience, actually, even though my situation dealt with unrelated proposals. FAIL. So they argued, disingenuously, that traffic was the foremost concern. FAIL. They could not show their hand for the limited scope that it entailed because it wasn't strong enough to successfully leverage such a monumental theft of property. FAIL. So instead of compensating the offending property owner to rectify the situation, they compensated politicians for a favor. (SUCCESSFUL) FAIL.

And so when I refer to them as "snotty activists", you may rest assured that that phrase is merely a euphamism. The depth and bredth of my ill-will towards these activists is not bounded within the limits of the English language as would be permissible on HAIF. Just be happy that 'God' is showing you deference as a moderator. ;)

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Sorry, but why was this a bad business decision by the developers?

They bought land that was NOT bound by deed restrictions and offered up a very tasteful mixed-use tower in an area of town that is highly desired.

Said tower would have been located inbetween several other hi-rise residential towers (Museum Tower, The Robinhood, The Warwick) as well as adjacent to a major employment center (Texas Med Center), a major university (Rice) and a major cultural center (museum district). All 3 of those centers house tall structures already.

Again, there was nothing legally that could/should have been done to stop this tower and I am afraid that if this gets played out in court, the taxpayers of the City are going to come out on the losing end.

As an aside, I am a former home owner and dues paying member of the Southampton Neighborhood Association. Personally, I am GLAD this is not being built despite what I am writing on this board. My concern has to do with the legality of the battle and the likely overall outcome for all Houstonians.

Additonally, there are several million dollar + neighborhoods in Houston that have towers located either in or directly adjacent to them... River Oaks, Avalon Place, Crestwood, Montrose, Southampton, Tanglewood, Briargrove, Memorial, Old Braeswood, Southgate, Upper Kirby, and more all pop into mind.

Good points, KA. Having lived, or gone to school, or worked in the area for nearly thirty years, I can echo the feelings of everyone I've talked to about it -- regardless of financial concerns or even construction inconvenience, it's just not right for the area. It doesn't fit in at all. _That_ was the developer's mistake. It's a lovely building, judging from the renderings, and I'm sure it would be a nice place to live and shop. But that is such a tremendously suburbanized area that its urbanizing benefits are not the least bit attractive to anyone who lives in the area. And it's not just Southampton -- Broadacres and Shadowlawn don't want it either.

I mean, seriously, I'm no real-estate expert, but if you stopped me on the street before any of this had been planned and said, out of the blue, "Hey, would it be a good business decision to build a high-rise apartment building where Maryland Manor is?" my first response would be "Are you crazy? On Bissonnet? In that neighborhood?"

Sure, there are lots of high rises near desirable neighborhoods. Near, but not as close as this would be. And Bissonnet at Ashby is no Kirby, or Memorial Drive, or Holcombe, or Post Oak, or Westheimer. I mean, look at it, except for the little shopping center where Picnic is, the businesses are in old houses. And, yes, Rice and the Museum District and the Med Center have tall buildings, but all of those institutions have been there a long time and they are not literally right on top of the Southampton houses and they all exist to serve the public good, not to make money for a private developer.

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Good points, KA. Having lived, or gone to school, or worked in the area for nearly thirty years, I can echo the feelings of everyone I've talked to about it -- regardless of financial concerns or even construction inconvenience, it's just not right for the area. It doesn't fit in at all.

But neighborhoods change. It seems logical and almost inevitable that single family houses so close to the Medical Center will be replaced with more dense housing. Who gets to say when change is allowed and when it isn't? And is it wise to delay this change?

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Good points, KA. Having lived, or gone to school, or worked in the area for nearly thirty years, I can echo the feelings of everyone I've talked to about it -- regardless of financial concerns or even construction inconvenience, it's just not right for the area. It doesn't fit in at all. _That_ was the developer's mistake. It's a lovely building, judging from the renderings, and I'm sure it would be a nice place to live and shop. But that is such a tremendously suburbanized area that its urbanizing benefits are not the least bit attractive to anyone who lives in the area. And it's not just Southampton -- Broadacres and Shadowlawn don't want it either.

I mean, seriously, I'm no real-estate expert, but if you stopped me on the street before any of this had been planned and said, out of the blue, "Hey, would it be a good business decision to build a high-rise apartment building where Maryland Manor is?" my first response would be "Are you crazy? On Bissonnet? In that neighborhood?"

Sure, there are lots of high rises near desirable neighborhoods. Near, but not as close as this would be. And Bissonnet at Ashby is no Kirby, or Memorial Drive, or Holcombe, or Post Oak, or Westheimer. I mean, look at it, except for the little shopping center where Picnic is, the businesses are in old houses. And, yes, Rice and the Museum District and the Med Center have tall buildings, but all of those institutions have been there a long time and they are not literally right on top of the Southampton houses and they all exist to serve the public good, not to make money for a private developer.

Are you trying to flamebait me? :angry2: The developer is a member of the public. If he is made better off, ceteris paribus, so is the public by that precise amount. Never mind that the building would've provided a venue for new businesses providing services to the neighborhood, that the construction project would've created hundreds of jobs and supported dozens of local construction and supply businesses in what are otherwise very difficult times for them, or that so many more people would have the opportunity to live in such a nice neighborhood as this.

Realistically, I doubt that more than a few dozen households would be adversely impacted. The traffic argument is bogus. And the privacy argument only holds water for a short distance until the tree canopy obscures views of the ground. If anything, what this controversy exemplifies is a special public screwing over the general public.

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Are you trying to flamebait me? :angry2: The developer is a member of the public. If he is made better off, ceteris paribus, so is the public by that precise amount. Never mind that the building would've provided a venue for new businesses providing services to the neighborhood, that the construction project would've created hundreds of jobs and supported dozens of local construction and supply businesses in what are otherwise very difficult times for them, or that so many more people would have the opportunity to live in such a nice neighborhood as this.

Realistically, I doubt that more than a few dozen households would be adversely impacted. The traffic argument is bogus. And the privacy argument only holds water for a short distance until the tree canopy obscures views of the ground. If anything, what this controversy exemplifies is a special public screwing over the general public.

Niche, I am not trying to flamebait you. If I have not made it clear before now, please let me say that I have great respect for your perspectives, your articulateness, and the knowledge and facts you bring to the table. Your posts are often among the most informative and enjoyable in this community. The fact that we often disagree is one of the reasons I have withdrawn from this particular discussion for several weeks. I know better than to poke a bear with a pointy stick. :)

But I was responding to a specific post from KA about tall buildings at Rice, the Med Center, and the Museum District and the term "the public good" was just a concise way of saying "longstanding non-profit institutions whose worth to the community is not seriously questioned." I don't think one can equate their tall structures with this proposed tower, nor do I think that you are trying to do that.

I do have my doubts about the viability of any new small retail or restaurant spaces in the area given how many of them have failed in the last decade. (expanding "the area" to include Shepherd up to about Westheimer.) I also have doubts about displacing the Rice students, med students, and young middle-income tenants of Maryland Manor in favor of twice as many wealthier people. (unless the rents would be lower than I think they will be.) And I think it wouldn't take very many cars at all to make Bissonnet, not to mention Sunset and Rice Boulevard, a lot worse. And it seems perfectly reasonable for the few dozen adversely affected households you mention to fight it. And if you, being one of the most passionately pro-development participants here, can see that, then the developer certainly shouldn't have been surprised by it. Especially since, IIRC, they were Rice alums and should have known the area well.

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But I was responding to a specific post from KA about tall buildings at Rice, the Med Center, and the Museum District and the term "the public good" was just a concise way of saying "longstanding non-profit institutions whose worth to the community is not seriously questioned." I don't think one can equate their tall structures with this proposed tower, nor do I think that you are trying to do that.

So how do you think it is that these non-profit institutions are able to fund their mission? You think it might have anything to do with weathy people, possibly including developers? If you value the MFAH, you should value those that make it possible, the means by which they've made their wealth--which they choose to share--and not snub them simply because their chief motive to create jobs and build communities is profit.

I do have my doubts about the viability of any new small retail or restaurant spaces in the area given how many of them have failed in the last decade. (expanding "the area" to include Shepherd up to about Westheimer.)

Many have failed. Many have been replaced. Many have succeeded. It is a mixed bag. That is the nature of neighborhood retail. The worst outcome for the neighborhood is that they go long periods without a retail service being there; essentially there is no difference as compared to now. Any other outcome is an improvement.

I also have doubts about displacing the Rice students, med students, and young middle-income tenants of Maryland Manor in favor of twice as many wealthier people. (unless the rents would be lower than I think they will be.) And I think it wouldn't take very many cars at all to make Bissonnet, not to mention Sunset and Rice Boulevard, a lot worse.

People who pay higher rents to live somewhere are indicating how much they value the opportunity. The marginal increase in rent revenue from redevelopment of the Maryland Manor site is an indicator of the benefit that could have been. Those relatively wealthy people (greater in number than the current population and otherwise unable to afford living in such a neighborhood) would otherwise have occupied lesser spaces in other neighborhoods and crowded out others that might have enjoyed those spaces rather than the lesser-still spaces where those others end up instead.

Earier in this thread Redscare provided an analysis of the marginal impact of the traffic. It is a cut-and-dry non-issue. ...and you know what? Even if it were a legitimate cause of congestion, I'd still not really consider it a valid objection to the development. People who buy into this neighborhood took on particular risks associated with living in between massive urban activity centers, and with or without this building, traffic volume and congestion is going to happen.

And it seems perfectly reasonable for the few dozen adversely affected households you mention to fight it. And if you, being one of the most passionately pro-development participants here, can see that, then the developer certainly shouldn't have been surprised by it. Especially since, IIRC, they were Rice alums and should have known the area well.

I did not say that it was unreasonable for them to fight it. In fact, in above posts I have described at length just how rational they're acting and even admit that their concerns over adverse impact are to some extent justified. However, I still think that their behavior is assinine for reasons that I have already enumerated and I'm calling them out on it publicly because they deserve such scrutiny for having committed an act which is tantamount to theivery.

Also, whereas I used to like Bill White, I now speak of him as I would a total douchebag. The political outcomes involved in this controversy are especially regrettable.

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Realistically, I doubt that more than a few dozen households would be adversely impacted. The traffic argument is bogus. And the privacy argument only holds water for a short distance until the tree canopy obscures views of the ground. If anything, what this controversy exemplifies is a special public screwing over the general public.

This is what I've been saying all along... that our leaders in city government are nothing short of larks.

TMC is increasing in size, and the population of Houston will be increasing too. Here comes urbanity/density/traffic/displacement -- fair warning --

The more the better.

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  • 1 month later...
I was driving around Southhampton today and all I can say is that the 476825363894736872 yellow signs in everyone's yards and on everyone's fences are a helluva lot more ugly than the building is going to be.

Maybe the City should outlaw the signs, then retroactively fine each violator $500,000 even if their signage was permitted previously without question. That'd be poetic justice.

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the 476825363894736872 yellow signs in everyone's yards and on everyone's fences are a helluva lot more ugly than the building is going to be.

Haha I said the same thing last time I drove through Southampton.

Edited by Jax
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I am going to be a resident of this hood. I had to meet with the neighborhood association about my rehab and some variance requests and I told them "I really hope you support me or I might have to build a tower of terror on my lot."

They didn't think it was funny! I had a nice chuckle though. The FIRST thing I am going to do is get rid of the mini billboard tower of traffic sign someone has posted on my lot.

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From

http://swamplot.com/ashby-highrise-shiftin...2-27/#more-6888

Since March of last year, [Matthew] Morgan and [Kevin] Kirton have submitted various versions of their permit application eight times, and the city has rejected it eight times.

Since one definitition of insanity is taking the same action repeatedly and expecting a different result, some observers have speculated that the developers were building a record for a lawsuit. The language in their timeline shows they

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  • 4 weeks later...
The Concern of Traffic Problems, the reason they rejected the proposal so many times before.

In at least one of the last submittals, the City found that the traffic study was questionable and inadequate. Surely a new traffic study has been presented. What are the problems now, specifically?

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In at least one of the last submittals, the City found that the traffic study was questionable and inadequate. Surely a new traffic study has been presented. What are the problems now, specifically?

Political clout! -_-

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  • 3 months later...

The STOP ASHBY HIGH-RISE signs recently weren't nearly as prevalent as my spring trip to Houston was one year ago. At that point, you could drive up any given street in the area near Rice University and shoot a gun at the right place, a bullet would pierce every one. It's a relatively low-rise area, and if a high-density tower was built in MY neighborhood, I wouldn't be happy about it. Upupup, why are you unhappy the Ashby high-rise building won't be built?

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What a joke. The traffic studies that were done are fine. It is merely an excuse. Just say, "Some of our big contributors really don't want this in their backyards" and I would have more respect for that.

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What a joke. The traffic studies that were done are fine. It is merely an excuse. Just say, "Some of our big contributors really don't want this in their backyards" and I would have more respect for that.

What do these people (oppossing) think will happen in a large city? I live (in the Galleria area) behind a tower that's at least twice as high and several mid-rises while many much richer people in River Oaks live with similar residential projects yet we manage with these or adjust to new projects. It baffling that they such attention compared to other projects throughout the city/metro area. Is this really the most pressing issue now (or at the time this started)? It's not like the developer wants to build a nuclear plant or freeway in the middle of the neighberhood.

Edited by JJVilla
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What do these people (oppossing) think will happen in a large city? I live (in the Galleria area) behind a tower that's at least twice as high and several mid-rises while many much richer people in River Oaks live with similar residential projects yet we manage with these or adjust to new projects. It baffling that they such attention compared to other projects throughout the city/metro area. Is this really the most pressing issue now (or at the time this started)? It's not like the developer wants to build a nuclear plant or freeway in the middle of the neighberhood.

Bissonnet's just small in that area - and there's already functioning apartments at the location.

He does have a point. There is a highrise right at Weslyan @ San Felipe and some apartments, then there is a condo complex just down the street by the railroad track.

Additionally, there is a highrise near Kirby @ San Felipe, and another two along westheimer between Kirby and Edloe....I think.

These locations doesn't seem to have negatively affected the surrounding areas.

Kinda' makes me wonder what opposition was like before these things were built.

God, we're turning into a nation of pansies.

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The Galleria area is not only famous it's shopping but also its gridlocked traffic. It's not unreasonable for people to react negatively to the (preceived) impending traffic situation.

I personally believe that if you do not like having a highrise behind you, you probably should work with city council to get a zoning law passed. The city is ready for it and you might as well use this as an impetus to get it done. Neighborhoods should have a say in what goes in your neighborhood versus some opportunistic developer.

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I personally believe that if you do not like having a highrise behind you, you probably should work with city council to get a zoning law passed. The city is ready for it and you might as well use this as an impetus to get it done. Neighborhoods should have a say in what goes in your neighborhood versus some opportunistic developer.

The trick is to do it BEFORE anything proposed is done.

Once a developer is buying up land and goes through the system, it's pretty much too late to whine about it.

I consider it neighborhood complacency.

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  • The title was changed to The Langley: Residential High-Rise At 1717 Bissonnet St.

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