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Historic Districts in Houston


Tiko

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Many HAIF regulars are dismayed to hear this. We have built up a great deal of respect and admiration for your house and your dog.

Speaking of which, I expect you to throw a hissy-fit over the leash law in Houston (even though it has had no effect on you, being a good pet owner.) To show your displeasure over others trying to control your property, perhaps you should threaten to sell your dog to a Korean restaurant.

"I'm gonna kill my dog! And it's all...Your...FAULT!"

Big Tex, surely you could have come up with a better analogy than that. The leash law dictates the terms under which I may take my two dogs onto public property. It is intended to protect other dogs and people from untrained or unpredictable dogs who may attack and bite. I not only have no problem with the leash law, I support it, just as I support laws that require others and myself to stop at stop signs and redlights, another ordinance that requires respect for others when in the public right of way.

My complaint is with telling property owners what they can do with their property AFTER they have purchased it. It is one thing for a neighborhood to vote restrictions upon itself through historic districts or deed restrictions. It is quite another to change the rules...drastically...after the vote, and without the property owners' permission. While my home is not in a historic district, it IS subject to deed restrictions, restrictions that were made known to me prior to purchasing the property. I have no gripe with the deed restrictions that I accepted upon purchase of the home.

The supporters of the historic district ordinance amendment, as evidenced by SCDesign's post, attempted to sneak the amendment by the homeowners by publishing the amendment on the Friday before a holiday weekend for a vote scheduled on the Tuesday after the holiday. Their emails to supporters claim that the vote was a "done deal" that got queered by a Missouri City resident and "politics", even though their tactics represent the worst of back room politics. They urged their supporters to demand that no re-ratification be required. Clearly, this groups is afraid that there are far fewer supporters in the districts than they claim in public. If this amendment is REALLY what the overwhelming majority wants, publicize it and vote on it!

My plan is simply to punish those who seek to control others by subterfuge and deceit by taking away that which they seek to control. Perhaps they can even use my threat to their benefit. They can argue that they must exert even more control with even more secrecy and fewer votes, because ne'erdowells like myself are threatening to ruin the Heights forever. Or maybe they will simply realize that, as heights yankee pointed out, that the current ordinance works well. I doubt it, but anything is possible. OR, they could send one of their like-minded friends over to offer to buy me out. I'm not stupid. If I get my price, I'll sell it to anyone. And mine hasn't been ruined by hideous 2 story additions on the back of it like you see in the historic districts.

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If the majority of houses on a block are Craftsman Bungalows, a pseudo-Victorian will look as appropriate as a wristwatch on a Greek statue. Anachronisms are unintentionally funny at best, and the humor is at the expense of the ignorance of others. With few exceptions, attempts to re-introduce Victorian (or worse, New Orleans) elements into the Heights have resulted in Mattel-like structures.

The appeal of the Heights will not be enhanced by the odd, inappropriate infill of Victorians- nor log cabins, igloos, tepees or pagodas.

You are welcome to your opinion. Since I'm responsible for hundreds of those pseudo-Victorians you are so fond of you can probably guess what my opinion is. All are equally valid and since people actually purchased those psuedo-Victorians I would inagine that there are just as many who share my opinion as share yours. I was in this neighborhood when crack dealers hand delivered to car doors at the corner of Harvard and 11th and it was the psuedo-Victorian building, and the people who purchaed them, that made them go away. You can put it down all you like but the Heights would still be a slum if it weren't for those "inappropriate" buildings. There are nice neighborhoods to the east of I-45 that are still as prestine as the Heights was in the 80's. Those areas despirately needs citizens who charish "the way it used to be" and they haven't been invaded by the builders yet. You could buy 4 houses there for the price of a Heights bungalow and they could be made into Historic Districts early enough to preserve the character that you cherish.

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If the majority of houses on a block are Craftsman Bungalows, a pseudo-Victorian will look as appropriate as a wristwatch on a Greek statue. Anachronisms are unintentionally funny at best, and the humor is at the expense of the ignorance of others. With few exceptions, attempts to re-introduce Victorian (or worse, New Orleans) elements into the Heights have resulted in Mattel-like structures.

The appeal of the Heights will not be enhanced by the odd, inappropriate infill of Victorians- nor log cabins, igloos, tepees or pagodas.

Wrong. Heights appeal has improved with the construction you describe as inappropriate. What do you think about the modern Victorian on 22nd at Harvard? I and my neighbors appreciate this home very much and we think it has enhanced our neighborhood. As a matter of fact, the entire block of Harvard between 20th and 22nd represents a mix of the old and new, including New Orleans, modern, old bungalows, Victorian, new craftsman, old craftsman, and an apartment building. I think it's one of the nicest blocks in the Heights, including the variable home designs. It's the people that live in the Heights that make all the difference. Good people of all types live near me in all types of homes.

If some neighborhoods want to change their deed restrictions to impose construction guidelines that a board determines, fine. Any deed restrictions that exist now can be changed by a 66.6% signature effort where each property gets one vote by Texas law. Note that it takes 66.6%, not 50.1%. The reason the margin is high is to ensure that a consensus exists for the changes, and not just a weak majority.

Changing deed restrictions is a big deal, and it should be. Imposing deed restriction changes by using a back door method of 50.1% historic district approval and then changing the historic district law a year later is an attempt to circumvent the spirit and fairness of Texas deed restriction law. Regardless of where anyone is about liking or not liking home designs in the Heights, it should be obvious that the current effort to effectively impose new covenants as proposed in City Council is unethical, and cheating.

Edited by OutfieldDan
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My son and I went to the City Council meeting on Tuesday. Our interest was prompted primarily by his work on a Boy Scout merit badge, but living in one of the historic sections of the Heights made the effort meaningful and interesting. I certainly learned alot! I had heard about the historic ordinance being proposed here on the Heights forum, so never stopped to think about other neighborhoods that this will affect. There were speakers from various parts of town. The more I heard the less clear I became on what is really needed. I was struck, though, by how different each neighborhoods needs are/can be when considering such an ordinance. I doubt this will happen, but it seemed like a solution might be one that allowed the various neighborhoods to tailor the ordinance to their own issues. Glenbrook Valley is 180 degrees different from Houston Heights! Anyway, we will continue to see how things develop.

I agree, I saw the same result-- and had the same conclusion-doesn't it need to be considered block by block- more so than area by area.

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It doesn't appear to be all-or-nothing. The City Council can still debate and modify the policy before adopting it. They modify ordinances before passing them all the time.

Yes or no, do you oppose the current proposal?

Seriously? Dodging? I have 2 small kids at home, a husband and a busy life outside of HAIF. I went ahead and answered your question with a pretty clear answer even though I had already stated I was removing myself from the conversation. After that, I **gasp** got up and walked away from the computer. Imagine!

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Seriously? Dodging? I have 2 small kids at home, a husband and a busy life outside of HAIF. I went ahead and answered your question with a pretty clear answer even though I had already stated I was removing myself from the conversation. After that, I **gasp** got up and walked away from the computer. Imagine!

You prefaced your earlier response with an unrealistic assumption, that the proposal could not be modified within a week's time. Now you've made a fifty-six-word excuse instead of providing a simple one-word response; clearly the availability of time is not an issue. So yes, I think you're dodging the question.

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You prefaced your earlier response with an unrealistic assumption, that the proposal could not be modified within a week's time. Now you've made a fifty-six-word excuse instead of providing a simple one-word response; clearly the availability of time is not an issue. So yes, I think you're dodging the question.

What would be the purpose of dodging? I just don't get it... I said if it was all or nothing, meaning if I had to take what was on the table or have nothing at all, I would take what is currently proposed. I don't understand what is not clear about that?

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But as I've already established, that's not the situation. In the real world, proposed ordinances frequently get tabled and modified. In the real world...yes or no?

Geez, this is getting old. Yankee answered yes, and I think she has now said yes multiple times. She would support some changes to it as it currently stands, but it works for her/them now.

(Friends don't let friends post to HAIF after midnight, and definitely not after 3am).

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Geez, this is getting old. Yankee answered yes, and I think she has now said yes multiple times. She would support some changes to it as it currently stands, but it works for her/them now.

(Friends don't let friends post to HAIF after midnight, and definitely not after 3am).

Fine, I'll show my hand.

What I'm trying to do is box her into admitting that the ordinance as proposed is flawed and that we want the same thing, which is for it to affect only the intended neighborhoods. Rather than agree that the current proposal should be opposed in favor of a modified proposal, she keeps claiming that modification is unlikely and is using that as a baseline assumption to conclude that the current proposal should be supported. But that kind of reasoning and rhetoric is disingenuous. What it means to me is that she's so concerned over the fate of her own neighborhood's aesthetic that she would leave every other neighborhood with historic buildings open to being doubly screwed over, first by neglect and then by regulation that encourages further neglect.

Her disregard for historical buildings beyond those that she sees on a regular basis indicates to me that she's not a preservationist; it's not about the history, it's about the Heights. Its abrasively self-serving at best, but it also reeks of classism on account of that potential adverse effects would occur disproportionately in working-class neighborhoods.

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Her disregard for historical buildings beyond those that she sees on a regular basis indicates to me that she's not a preservationist; i

And still you're hectoring her!?

Stop it!

You can make your point without picking fights

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And still you're hectoring her!?

Stop it!

You can make your point without picking fights

Is that meant as a prophecy of my fate, that I will wear the girdle of a vanquished enemy and a suit of a different enemy's armor as I am killed by that enemy, and that my corpse will be maimed, tied to a moving vehicle, and drug around an Asiatic city? I guess it could happen; but jeez man, that's cold.

;)

- - - - - - - - -

Seriously though, I'm not fighting with anybody. No violence or verbal abuse has been engaged in. I was merely trying to draw her true motive out into the open for a genuine appraisal. If she isn't open to a critical dialogue, she needs to not participate in the discussion in the first place.

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Fine, I'll show my hand.

What I'm trying to do is box her into admitting that the ordinance as proposed is flawed and that we want the same thing, which is for it to affect only the intended neighborhoods. Rather than agree that the current proposal should be opposed in favor of a modified proposal, she keeps claiming that modification is unlikely and is using that as a baseline assumption to conclude that the current proposal should be supported. But that kind of reasoning and rhetoric is disingenuous. What it means to me is that she's so concerned over the fate of her own neighborhood's aesthetic that she would leave every other neighborhood with historic buildings open to being doubly screwed over, first by neglect and then by regulation that encourages further neglect.

Her disregard for historical buildings beyond those that she sees on a regular basis indicates to me that she's not a preservationist; it's not about the history, it's about the Heights. Its abrasively self-serving at best, but it also reeks of classism on account of that potential adverse effects would occur disproportionately in working-class neighborhoods.

If you go back and read all my comments in this thread I think you'll get an idea of the full scope of my opinion. Trying to box me in? How neighborly.

The fundamental issue here is that you and I believe that there would be two completely different outcomes if the ordinance passes as is. I am not selfish or classist. In fact, you were the one railing about your neighborhood, showing that you care only how this will effect you with no apparent concern for my neighborhood or other historic districts in the city that are desperate for more teeth. I do not believe that houses will be left to rot because this ordinance passes. I feel that residents in historic districts will see long term benefits from the proposal. Yes, I agree it's flawed but it's better than nothing and I would rather see it pass than stick with the status quo. I'm sorry that is impossible for you to believe. However, I stated earlier on that I think it would be great to modify it to give more say to each individual area according to their needs. Again, though, if this can't happen in a constructive manner, I say go for it. I believe that Houston will benefit greatly from these controls. Not just the Heights, not just Norhill, but the whole city. I believe that for Houston. I come from somewhere that history is revered and preserved and I think it would be a wonderful thing to have that same feeling here. I just do. I am done arguing about this and having you try to catch me with some other agenda or claim I am being disingenuous. Clearly this post should show you that I am always honest and upfront about my opinions, even if I lose the popularity contest because of it.

And now, lest you think I am scared off, I am going to get in bed and watch a movie with my husband. Tomorrow morning I will be up by 6 am with my kids. I will feed them and dress them, pack a lunch for the older one and walk them both from Norhill across the Heights to his school. I will take the baby to Antidote and then come home, where I will leave him with a sitter, go to the gym, the grocery store and meet a friend for a late lunch. I will come home, pack the little guy up, pick up his brother and meet a friend and her son for a play date and probably invite them over for some dinner, which she will accept b/c her husband is traveling for work. After they leave, I will bathe my kids while my husband cleans the kitchen, read them books, put one to bed while my husband deals with the other. After that, I will probably enjoy another glass of wine with him and then I will will get on line and check the couple of message boards that I read before we go to sleep. So, I apologize in advance if I won't have the time to read what additional niceties you have for me until late tomorrow or even Tuesday. Just want you to know I won't be at your beckon call to give whatever additional one word answer you demand of me on your very strict ask-respond schedule.

Edited by heights_yankee
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If you go back and read all my comments in this thread I think you'll get an idea of the full scope of my opinion. Trying to box me in? How neighborly.

The fundamental issue here is that you and I believe that there would be two completely different outcomes if the ordinance passes as is. I am not selfish or classist. In fact, you were the one railing about your neighborhood, showing that you care only how this will effect you with no apparent concern for my neighborhood or other historic districts in the city that are desperate for more teeth. I do not believe that houses will be left to rot because this ordinance passes. I feel that residents in historic districts will see long term benefits from the proposal. Yes, I agree it's flawed but it's better than nothing and I would rather see it pass than stick with the status quo. I'm sorry that is impossible for you to believe. However, I stated earlier on that I think it would be great to modify it to give more say to each individual area according to their needs. Again, though, if this can't happen in a constructive manner, I say go for it. I believe that Houston will benefit greatly from these controls. Not just the Heights, not just Norhill, but the whole city. I believe that for Houston. I come from somewhere that history is revered and preserved and I think it would be a wonderful thing to have that same feeling here. I just do. I am done arguing about this and having you try to catch me with some other agenda or claim I am being disingenuous. Clearly this post should show you that I am always honest and upfront about my opinions, even if I lose the popularity contest because of it.

Your beliefs based on your observations of conditions in the Heights are not supported by my experience. I've actually saved an architecturally-unique and irreplaceable building in the 2nd Ward. You're talking, I'm doing. If HAHC had declared 2nd Ward an historic district, organizing and petitioning to opt-out given the demographics would almost certainly be unsuccessful, and projects like mine--which save buildings in marginal neighborhoods--would be less economically viable...not that they were even easy to green-light back when Houston was flush with money for development. I use my project and my experience as an example not out of self-interest (the permits for my project are already grandfathered and active), but because I'm bring practical expertise to the table, and that's its source.

And as I pointed out earlier, I'm not going to argue whether historic preservation is justifiable or ethically "good" or "desirable"; merely that the proposed means of accomplishing it are flawed and potentially quite counterproductive and harmful as proposed if the motive is actually Citywide historical preservation rather than just myopically trying to satisfy a narrow population of self-interested and highly vocal neighborhood activists.

And yes, I am reading back through your posts, and this is what I'm taking away from them. Where I've provided specific example, you've countered with poorly-supported beliefs and have not attempted to directly refute anything that I've said. You've dodged questions by setting up unrealistic assumptions. You've crafted lengthy excuses to justify not answering a direct question with a single word. Is it any wonder that I am suspicious of your motive...or whether perhaps that you just hadn't thought it through?

One way or the other, I've made my point. Hopefully, you and others can take away from it that being for an issue doesn't mean that you don't have to ardently jump at the first proposal that appears to address it.

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One way or the other, I've made my point.  Hopefully, you and others can take away from it that being <i>for</i> an issue doesn't mean that you don't have to ardently jump at the first proposal that appears to address it.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

Your problem Niche is that you are winning this argument. Once you start winning they want you to shut up.

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<br />You are welcome to your opinion. Since I'm responsible for hundreds of those pseudo-Victorians you are so fond of you can probably guess what my opinion is. All are equally valid and since people actually purchased those psuedo-Victorians I would inagine that there are just as many who share my opinion as share yours. I was in this neighborhood when crack dealers hand delivered to car doors at the corner of Harvard and 11th and it was the psuedo-Victorian building, and the people who purchaed them, that made them go away. You can put it down all you like but the Heights would still be a slum if it weren't for those "inappropriate" buildings. There are nice neighborhoods to the east of I-45 that are still as prestine as the Heights was in the 80's. Those areas despirately needs citizens who charish "the way it used to be" and they haven't been invaded by the builders yet. You could buy 4 houses there for the price of a Heights bungalow and they could be made into Historic Districts early enough to preserve the character that you cherish.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

I completely agree here. It was builders who made the heights desirable again. The place was a slum close to town with great freeway access...tucked between 45 and I-10 less than 5 minutes from town...where traffic is consistent. The older historic homes are great, and I acutally love to see them. I love to see the older homes returned to their glory with modern conveniences...what I hate, and I do mean hate is people who try to tell you what to do with your own property! I lived in the suburbs, and I dealt with homeowners associations...I made the decision, that I hated the cookie cutter houses, and the massive amounts of traffic, with people always in your business and homeowners associations telling me what flag I can or cant fly, and what color of window coverings I can have in the front of my house....

I moved to the heights, to get away from the traffic, and people telling me what to do. I intentionally bought a house/lot not encumbered by the stupid restrictive voluntary deed restrictions. When they knocked on my door to get me to sign their petition I told them not a chance....I have dealt with the Heights Association and it was unpleasant.

In 2006, I attempted to buy what was then 1422 Tulane St...It had a 700 sqft house that was in need of repair, and a dilapidated "garage" with no doors, and that was falling down. The small house could have been saved, but at 700 sqft, in my opinion it was not worth the effort. However, being that I wanted to build a new house I had intended to keep the small house, and live in it through construction before moving it.

I went under contract on that house, and petitioned the association for approval to build a new home on the 6600sq ft that was vacant. The petition was denied, becuase the lot did not meet the restrictions. The restrictions allow 1 house per 6600sq ft lot. 1422 Tulane was 13199sq ft. 1 ft less than what was required to build. The association would not even return a phone call. I emailed back and forth with the attorney that the association used, and got no where. They refuse to bend in even the smallest way. We are talking about 1 ft.

I ended up withdrawing from the contract, because they made it clear, I could not build without demolishing the small house, and I had intended to keep it. My experience with home owners associations, deed restrictions, and everything else, is that they are not willing to work with you on anything ever. They get control, and they love the control. The small extremely loud minority of people push their views upon the majority who just want to go about their business undisturbed.

If this passes, all it will do is destroy the values that have been built up...I personally bought knowing that I had no restriction...for them to come back and attempt to place restrictions on something that had none, is a fundamental change in the investment I made. If it passes, we will have a whole lot more "Sunday Contractors" who promise to start and complete the work on Sunday and in one day.

I am willing to offer my services to anyone who wants to fight this. I am anti-restrictions. The Heights has been improving because there are no restrictions, NOT in spite of that.

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Hey Dbigtex, you're not basing your opinion on a grainy pic from Google Maps are ya? Go by and take a look at the place.

No, I've seen it in real life, and I'll pass on the offer of looking at it again.

It would make a wonderful board game piece, if shrunken sufficiently.

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Here is another summary of the key items for TOMORROW's city council meeting on this topic. Since I cannot attend, I sent an email to Mayor Parker and all members of city council last week. I urge you to do the same. See my previous posts for a list of the CC members.As I wrote in my email, at the very least, I think this needs to go back for a resident petition to see if the majority would want these changes to occur. I, for one, do not support them changing the rules on me after I signed the petition that included the 90-day rule and only because it was a 90-day cooling period. I am extremely disappointed that this is even being attempted in this manner, with what appears to be behind the scenes tactics as SC Design pointed out (Friday before Memorial Day submittal for a vote the following Tuesday). This clearly demonstrates that they have no interest in actually hearing from the residents on what the residents actually want....only what they want.However, if you can take the time to attend and speak, below are the details.The preservationists are much more organized and seem to have a direct insider connection to get these details.(1) Call the City Secretary today, Monday, at 832-393-1100 to reserve a time to speak tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2 p.m. (2) The City Council meeting is Tuesday at 2 p.m. to hear resident's concerns on the "no means no" temporary ordinance. The meeting is at City Hall, Bagby at Walker, second floor. (3) The City Council meeting is Wednesday is at 9 a.m. when City Council will discuss and vote on the temporary ordinance. No speakers allowed but you can listen.

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Does anyone know how our Council Member stands on this issue? I just tried to call in and speak with him or one of his staff members and they referred me to Laura Thorp (his community liaison). She's a past president of the Heights Association if that's any indication.

<snark>She lives in an amazing, very large Victorian, too, but her block is almost entirely bungalows. I guess if it burned down she'd be forced by the Committee to rebuild a bungalow on the site.</snark>

Edited by Tiko
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Here is another summary of the key items for TOMORROW's city council meeting on this topic. Since I cannot attend, I sent an email to Mayor Parker and all members of city council last week. I urge you to do the same. See my previous posts for a list of the CC members.As I wrote in my email, at the very least, I think this needs to go back for a resident petition to see if the majority would want these changes to occur. I, for one, do not support them changing the rules on me after I signed the petition that included the 90-day rule and only because it was a 90-day cooling period. I am extremely disappointed that this is even being attempted in this manner, with what appears to be behind the scenes tactics as SC Design pointed out (Friday before Memorial Day submittal for a vote the following Tuesday). This clearly demonstrates that they have no interest in actually hearing from the residents on what the residents actually want....only what they want.However, if you can take the time to attend and speak, below are the details.The preservationists are much more organized and seem to have a direct insider connection to get these details.(1) Call the City Secretary today, Monday, at 832-393-1100 to reserve a time to speak tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2 p.m. (2) The City Council meeting is Tuesday at 2 p.m. to hear resident's concerns on the "no means no" temporary ordinance. The meeting is at City Hall, Bagby at Walker, second floor. (3) The City Council meeting is Wednesday is at 9 a.m. when City Council will discuss and vote on the temporary ordinance. No speakers allowed but you can listen.

Wow - those times are incredibly convenient for those of us with jobs. They are certainly making the effort to ensure that nobody gets a say on any of it!

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Wow - those times are incredibly convenient for those of us with jobs. They are certainly making the effort to ensure that nobody gets a say on any of it!

URGENT!

Actually, this isn't dirty pool by the administration; this is the time they always do comments. If you work downtown it’s not inconvenient at all. Not that I am defending them on this, it’s just not something that they could manipulate so they can’t be blamed.

I just left a meeting where we discussed what went on at the Task Force Meeting today and it was pretty clear that Sue Lovell has firmly established her agenda to have this moratorium passed regardless of public opinion. She made it clear that this is a step toward hers, and the Mayor’s, goal to stop all new development in Historic Districts, and the Heights in particular. In fact, she stated that without this moratorium she did not think that they would be able to move forward to that goal. Many of the people involved with this fight feel that it is inevitable that the moratorium will pass on Wednesday, but that does not mean that there should not be a fight. If the residents are against this they need to speak tomorrow and let it be known. It might not stop it from happening but it will make some of the council members think twice about adopting a “no means no” policy when the item comes up for vote the next time.

There are 2 key issues that MUST be addressed tomorrow, and the more people who speak the more the Council will hear.

1) That the Historic Preservation Ordinance states clearly that ANY changes to the Ordinance must go through the same process as the original, meaning that the LAW states that there must be a new petition in order to change this ordinance. The Mayor specifically states that she does not want to have a new petition circulated but that is the only legal way for her to do it.

2) There are SERIOUS questions about the validity of the original petition that was circulated to establish the Heights Historic District. Should they have been allowed to use City land as a yes vote to get the required 51% of land owners (the parks and library were used as a yes vote)? Were all of the address and signatures verified and proper? We know of a number that WERE NOT and the City refuses to examine it.

If you are a concerned property owner try to show up and speak tomorrow. This is truly a fight for your property rights and the builders and realtors CANNOT fight this for you. Without a concerted and HUGE response this will pass, and in all likely hood will become permanent, and if you do not defend your own rights they will be taken from you.

This link leads to the Request for Council Action submitted on May 28 to get on the Agenda for June 2.

http://www.scdesignllc.com/RfCA.pdf

This ia a link to a letter from Mayor Parker to Council Members Sue Lovell and Ed Gonzolaz stating that she DOES NOT want a new petition.

http://www.scdesignllc.com/MPL.pdf

Edited by SCDesign
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I was wondering the same thing. I went to the City Council website and best I can tell, it appears it was "tagged" again, this time by Sullivan (District E) and Rodriguez (District I). Here is the link. Scroll down to item #37(a). Who knows what this means and what is going on behind the scenes, but I find it disturbing how little we're hearing about this topic through "normal channels", and we, the people it impacts, have to scour the internet to learn more. I have emailed councilmember Ed Gonzalez (District H) on this topic but heard nothing back from him or his staff yet.

http://www.houstontx.gov/citysec/agenda.html

However, if you read to the bottom, it could still be reviewed tomorrow:

"NOTE - CITY COUNCIL RESERVES THE RIGHT TO TAKE UP AGENDA ITEMS OUT OF THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE POSTED IN THIS AGENDA. ALSO, AN ITEM THAT HAS BEEN TAGGED UNDER CITY COUNCIL RULE 4 (HOUSTON CITY CODE §2-2) OR DELAYED TO ANOTHER DAY MAY BE NEVERTHELESS CONSIDERED LATER AT THE SAME CITY COUNCIL MEETING"

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I was wondering the same thing. I went to the City Council website and best I can tell, it appears it was "tagged" again, this time by Sullivan (District E) and Rodriguez (District I). Here is the link. Scroll down to item #37(a). Who knows what this means and what is going on behind the scenes, but I find it disturbing how little we're hearing about this topic through "normal channels", and we, the people it impacts, have to scour the internet to learn more. I have emailed councilmember Ed Gonzalez (District H) on this topic but heard nothing back from him or his staff yet.

http://www.houstontx...sec/agenda.html

However, if you read to the bottom, it could still be reviewed tomorrow:

"NOTE - CITY COUNCIL RESERVES THE RIGHT TO TAKE UP AGENDA ITEMS OUT OF THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY ARE POSTED IN THIS AGENDA. ALSO, AN ITEM THAT HAS BEEN TAGGED UNDER CITY COUNCIL RULE 4 (HOUSTON CITY CODE §2-2) OR DELAYED TO ANOTHER DAY MAY BE NEVERTHELESS CONSIDERED LATER AT THE SAME CITY COUNCIL MEETING"

I think that's just a reflection of what happened last week.

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A brief update:

As most of you know the moratorium issue was tagged last week for further review and is on the agenda today. What you may not know is that "we" had an agreement with the Mayor that when the moratorium went into effect no new Historic Districts would be accepted until the new Ordinance was adopted. When the item was tagged that deal was also postponed and it gave the South Heights and the Woodland Heights enough time to submit their paperwork to become Historic Districts. Those areas, when approved, will also be subject to these changes. The moratorium language is supposed to allow for a “grandfather” for projects that are already started in the Historic Districts allowing them to still be covered by the 90 Day waiver, but for these new districts we are not sure when they will go into effect and what the HAHC’s position will be regarding the “grandfather”. It would probably be a good idea to “retain” a designer or architect ASAP just in case, if you live in, and plan to build in, those areas.

(Shameless plug from a greedy designer/builder: I'm a designer as well as a builder and do draw plans for others to build www.scdesignllc.com)

Yesterday there was a comment session for City Council regarding the moratorium and about 80 people showed up to speak. I was not there but what I am hearing is that it was about 50/50 for and against and a number of issues were brought up that the City Council was not aware of. Regardless it is almost certain that the moratorium will pass today.

Edited by SCDesign
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What the...? Where is the Heights South map? What does it include? This is an even bigger screw around than changing the existing Historic Districts! They are submitting signatures for a historic district designation under rules that do not even EXIST yet? This likely includes MY frigging house, and I cannot even find it!

Why am I having to find out what people are doing to my property from a friggin' message board?

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What the...? Where is the Heights South map? What does it include? This is an even bigger screw around than changing the existing Historic Districts! They are submitting signatures for a historic district designation under rules that do not even EXIST yet? This likely includes MY frigging house, and I cannot even find it!

Why am I having to find out what people are doing to my property from a friggin' message board?

I don't know where the map is, but I can tell you that it is from 11th Street to 6th Street, and from Heights Blvd to Oxford.

Given the HAHC's ability to name historic districts without any kind of petition or notice if the area meets the requirements (51% of houses over 50 years old), you are just the first in a LONG line of people who are going the be saying "What the ****!"

Poyea:

Thanks for that link to watch the Council Meetings. I knew it was around but I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

Edited by SCDesign
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I did find a link where you can watch the city council meetings live or in archive. Click on the Item 37 and 37a link to listen and watch.

http://houstontx.city.swagit.com/

After watching that portion of the session, it seems to me that several of the council members were confused about what they were going to vote on.

37 and 37a both carried with each getting one opposing vote from Bradford.

It was very clear what Parker wanted, just looking at her body language and facial expressions.

Thanks for posting that link.

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I don't know where the map is, but I can tell you that it is from 11th Street to 6th Street, and from Heights Blvd to Oxford.

Given the HAHC's ability to name historic districts without any kind of petition or notice if the area meets the requirements (51% of houses over 50 years old), you are just the first in a LONG line of people who are going the be saying "What the ****!"

Poyea:

Thanks for that link to watch the Council Meetings. I knew it was around but I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

Are there any numbers on how many times the HAHC has exercised their right to name a district "historic" without input from that community? Surely they would consider the wishes of the residents....

That is my fear now. Idylwood would fit that criteria without a doubt and if there is no OPT OUT as has been stated elsewhere in this thread, I think we would have an uprising here in the east end.

It looked as if our council member was looking out for one of the larger neighborhoods in his district.

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Are there any numbers on how many times the HAHC has exercised their right to name a district "historic" without input from that community? Surely they would consider the wishes of the residents....

That is my fear now. Idylwood would fit that criteria without a doubt and if there is no OPT OUT as has been stated elsewhere in this thread, I think we would have an uprising here in the east end.

It looked as if our council member was looking out for one of the larger neighborhoods in his district.

They HAVE NEVER named a Historic Distric without input from the community: but the Ordinance says they have the power to do it. At this point they probably don't have the political capital to pull it off, but if they can show that there is a significant portion of the population that is in favor of establishing these Districts then that will change quickly. There is an agenda to start it and Idlewood, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest, Timbergrove Manor, areas of Sunset Heights and a number of smaller areas in the Heights have been named as areas that they want to do it to ASAP. If this change to the Ordinance goes through without significant opposition they will start. We've been told that by people at the HAHC.

Edited by SCDesign
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Oh, my! I totally agree that confusion ruled the day after watching the video. I'm still confused in part (and would probably commit hari-kari if I had to sit through much of that discussion). For example, does this affect the proposed structures at 15th and Rutland? It seems that the main issue on this pair of lots is really density, but design to a lesser degree. I agree with some parts of both sides of the historic preservation controversy, but do feel that "switch and bait" has been employed, i.e. the petitions signed to become historic districts were not for this. I don't think that should be allowed regardless of what the issues are. That was a lovely statement about how they are going to get all voices in on this, but after seeing the process so far, I am skeptical. Maybe the communities should have to do the whole petition process over with full disclosure. Maybe my son should be working on his "Citizenship in the Nation" merit badge not his "Citizenship in the Community" badge. :blush:

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After watching that portion of the session, it seems to me that several of the council members were confused about what they were going to vote on.

37 and 37a both carried with each getting one opposing vote from Bradford.

It was very clear what Parker wanted, just looking at her body language and facial expressions.

I watched the entire session about 37 and 37a and I greatly appreciate Councilman Bradford's comments. He is the only one who stood up for our property rights, and the only Councilman who voted no. Maybe he’s been reading our forum.

Ed Gonzalez was silent. Hopefully we can get him to support our property rights and freedom side before a final vote on historic district changes comes up. Ed, where's that promised information about all this in the District H Newsletter?

I’m disappointed in Anise Parker’s comments about "eyesores." Parker also misrepresented the impact and significance of the "time-out" by saying that voting for the moratorium doesn't change anything.

The idea of a prejudiced board imposing home appearance restrictions in my neighborhood is disgusting. I don't think there is much solace in this being temporary. The Heights doesn't need a narrow minded arrogant political body telling me and my neighbors what our homes have to look like. Freedom, creativity, and diversity are now compromised, at least for a while.

Edited by OutfieldDan
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The Heights doesn't need a narrow minded arrogant political body telling me and my neighbors what our homes have to look like. Freedom, creativity, and diversity are now compromised, at least for a while.

The Heights and its undue political influence over a municipality the size of Houston makes San Leon look better and better.

For less money:

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is >

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What I found interesting on the HAHC site was the fact that 9 of the 13 members on that board are appointed by the mayor.

True enough, there are qualifications that have to be met, but still.....

I also was disappointed in her remark about the 'eyesores' as well as her almost condescending demeanor when answering some questions.

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I am no expert on how to fight this with the city, but I'm open to ideas. I have already sent two emails to the city council members and the mayor on this topic, but with no direct feedback. Obviously, I'm sure more emails with your thoughts can't hurt.

I just cannot believe they would put these changes into place without allowing the residents to re-vote.

Here's a question...what is the process to have a Historic District reversed? Is it also a 50% vote?

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I have a question maybe some of you would be able to answer. I live on the Southern side of Pecore, and according to the maps, I'm technically in Woodland Heights. Now the map for the historic designation on the whca website does not include my street. I'm wondering if once they get the "50% signatures" of the area they are targeting to receive the designation, if it will extend to my house as well? I see myself as a prime candidate to get totally screwed over by this rule as I plan to remodel my home in the future.

Thoughts?

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I also was disappointed in her remark about the 'eyesores' as well as her almost condescending demeanor when answering some questions.

The mayor acted like a bully, interrupting the debate several times. She also mis-represented the ordinance by statements that diminish its true impact, including among other things, implying that the temporary limit (end of 2010) is realistically only until September when she hopes a final ordinance will be passed. She said that "it does not change the [current] ordinance" - a blatantly false statement.

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Update:

If you watched the vote you will know that there were a lot of questions left unanswered. According to the Buider's Groups reading of what was voted on we may have been misled about an important issue. We were told that if you had started the process to get a CoA, and had spent money, you would be able to qualify for a "grandfather" on the 90 waiver for both demolition AND New construction. What passed yesterday SEEMS to say that you you can get the "grandfather" waiver for demolition but that you WILL NOT be able to get a waiver for iIncompatible new construction. So apparently you can tear down your house but you will not be able to build anything new unless it conforms to the Historic Guidlines, regardless of what we were told earlier this week.

We may be wrong about this, it may be that you can still get a 90 waiver on incompatible new construction, but since the Council will not give us the ordinance that was passed we can't tell exactly what it says. This ordinance was introduced RIGHT before the Council Meeting so nobody, not even the Council Members, were able to read it before the vote.

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The mayor acted like a bully, interrupting the debate several times. She also mis-represented the ordinance by statements that diminish its true impact, including among other things, implying that the temporary limit (end of 2010) is realistically only until September when she hopes a final ordinance will be passed. She said that "it does not change the [current] ordinance" - a blatantly false statement.

It just goes to show you that your vote really does matter. If you vote for people who want to control everything and have it their way regardless of public support, you get what you voted for.

I don't know why it is a surprise that a democrat wants to control what you do with your property.

I watched the clips too - I felt the whole thing was really just another screw you to property owners. Every year it seems that someone, the city, the county, the drainage district, a group of neighbors, someone is attempting to intrude upon private property rights. We have been experiencing a continuous decay in the freedoms we used to enjoy. I don't feel any safer now than I did 10, 12, 15 years ago. How bout you? I guess the public is much safer now that we can not do what we please with our own home.

Im currently outside the maps, but my rental property is not. I guess I just got screwed...especially since the house is old and in relatively mediocre condition structurally . Another thing that chaffs my rear end, is the number of houses that are just flat out hideous, non-historic eye sore properties, that are in support of this thing. One of the ugliest houses in the heights, that would not pass any of these "review boards" has signs all of its front and side yard t in support of the historic districts (yellow sign that wants to stop big homes)...where if the historic people had their choice, they would make her tear it down, and replace it without something that fits the neighborhood.

The whole way this went down just stinks of dirty politics, and back room dealings.

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Apparently the "South" Heights district was created late last week. This means that the area south of 11th to 4th street, in between Heights and Studewood is now a new district.

The HAHC claims that the map and home inventory is not available for public consumption yet, but the district has been created and is subject to the new ordinance.

If you had plans to build in that area you better make some phone calls.

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Apparently the "South" Heights district was created late last week. This means that the area south of 11th to 4th street, in between Heights and Studewood is now a new district.

The HAHC claims that the map and home inventory is not available for public consumption yet, but the district has been created and is subject to the new ordinance.

If you had plans to build in that area you better make some phone calls.

Probably because the numbers don't match the ordinance. They canvassed the neighborhood for signatures 3 years ago! If they had the signatures, it would have become a district when the other 2 districts were created. The timing of this stinks to high heaven. When things come together just in time, it usually means the fix is in. Given the way everything else has gone down, I would be willing to bet the signatures are not on the up and up.

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I come from somewhere that history is revered and preserved and I think it would be a wonderful thing to have that same feeling here. I just do.

You're preaching to a largely deaf choir. I've tried to explain to the locals, with little success.

They're incapable of learning.

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You're preaching to a largely deaf choir. I've tried to explain to the locals, with little success.

They're incapable of learning.

I, too, come from an area where preservation of homes was so honored that being the President of the Preservation & Restoration Society came with a very high social status. Preservation was not remodeling the kitchen to have granite counter tops and slap some paint on it - but to actually restore the buildings to their original state ( i.e. by using gas torches to remove the old paint off to the bare wood, finding original light fixtures, stained and leaded glass windows, sinks etc.) These buildings were built in the 1700's & 1800's (and early 1900's) with great care, detail, to last a long time, with great materials, attention to detail and designed by architects (including Frank Lloyd Wright). I understand that bungalows have some historic value (I live in one), but if they are falling apart due to not being maintained properly, too costly to restore (due to previous owners neglect) or does not have any significant architectural merits how is that in relation to historic...? ...it's more like run down.

A few years ago someone (from an historic organization that I won't mention) was taking pictures of the house next door to me and said to me that the owner did a great job of restoring and preserving the house. I thought that was odd to say as only the front of the house looked the same - it was built out on the back to add a larger kitchen, living room and master bedroom/bat- gutted it and added every modern convenience to it. (it's a great house - I love it). I think some people in Houston Heights confuse the words "restoration" and "remodeling". Not that I am against either one - it's a personal choice for your own home and for a homeowner to make and have a voice in the community about - not the government's sole decision.

Oh and that house - the modern Victorian on 22nd at Harvard...I had heard it was a modern interpretation of the Cooley mansion (rebuilt on the SE corner of Heights & 18th.)

Edited by CleaningLadyinCleveland
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