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uhm, that really isn't that much movement you speak of.  8 houses in the 20 closest to me have underwent rennovations in the past 2 years outside of HDs.  Big whoop. 

 

I'm definitely not completely wrong...  lets just say I'm directly impacted by the sales of some of these properties.  Increase in rental is common indication of holding pattern BTW.  Oh and a 2/1 in need of total redo near me just sold for 345k on a smallish lot (5500),   so the 2-1 you speak of sounds like it was hurt by being in the HD. 

 

Also, the example you give doesn't change what I said any... or even counter argue it.  People are holding on to their property of small bungalows within HDs right now.  Big rennovations are going to happen, new construction will happen on empty lots or commercial lots that have likely long been owned by investors, the sale of entry level bungalows though has stalled out, as people don't want to take a loss while their outside of HD comparables are making huge profits.  ( I know someone who is going to clear a 50% profit in their 2/1.5 that they haven't even lived in for 4 years yet outside of an HD)  That scenario does not exist (or at least I haven't seen a single example) within the HDs.

Except you are just making up this bit about everyone holding properties in the HDs and sales of comparables outside of HDs making big profits by comparison. Here is a real world example of the opposite. The new construction on Tulane in the HD was @2900 sq ft on a 4300 sq ft lot. After a bidding war, it sold for 729k long before it was finished. The same builder listed virtually the same design outside of the HD for 725k. No sale. List price has already been dropped to $719k. http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=60497740&v=s

Virtually identical house and identical lot size. If there were all these people who were flooding the non-HD areas because the thought of the HAHC made them physically ill, why isn't this housing selling as well as the virtually identical house did inside an HD (the first pic on the har.com listing is the completed house on Tulane)?

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I was here before you "preservationists". It is because of people like me that you thought the Heights was worth moving to. If I were to tell you to go f yourself, would you find that offensive? Becau

This is not a bully and name calling situation so much as forcefully pointing out the callousness of your position. You and others claim that your position and this ordinance protects the character a

http://swamplot.com/houstons-historic-districts-will-remain-as-they-are/2011-01-04/ It is over. All districts surveyed failed to muster the 51% needed to opt out. Yes, I know. You all are going

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Except you are just making up this bit about everyone holding properties in the HDs and sales of comparables outside of HDs making big profits by comparison. Here is a real world example of the opposite. The new construction on Tulane in the HD was @2900 sq ft on a 4300 sq ft lot. After a bidding war, it sold for 729k long before it was finished. The same builder listed virtually the same design outside of the HD for 725k. No sale. List price has already been dropped to $719k. http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=60497740&v=s

Virtually identical house and identical lot size. If there were all these people who were flooding the non-HD areas because the thought of the HAHC made them physically ill, why isn't this housing selling as well as the virtually identical house did inside an HD (the first pic on the har.com listing is the completed house on Tulane)?

That example isn't terribly relevant. The owner of a brand new house in the HD isn't going to be worried about HD restrictions since he's already got new windows (and everything else). It's the older homes that need to be renovated that are the issue.

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Except you are just making up this bit about everyone holding properties in the HDs and sales of comparables outside of HDs making big profits by comparison. Here is a real world example of the opposite. The new construction on Tulane in the HD was @2900 sq ft on a 4300 sq ft lot. After a bidding war, it sold for 729k long before it was finished. The same builder listed virtually the same design outside of the HD for 725k. No sale. List price has already been dropped to $719k. http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=60497740&v=s

Virtually identical house and identical lot size. If there were all these people who were flooding the non-HD areas because the thought of the HAHC made them physically ill, why isn't this housing selling as well as the virtually identical house did inside an HD (the first pic on the har.com listing is the completed house on Tulane)?

 

we are talking about entry level houses, why are you referencing 700+k houses?

 

 

That is a diffent market by over 100%...  how many deviations outside of scope is that? 

 

If it sells at even 709k, we are talking a 20k difference...  that is less than a 3% difference...  the freaking paint choices can make that much of a difference.  Nice try though.  Our other example of 315 and 345 is a 30k difference but that is a 11.5% difference...  

 

 

BTW you can successfully use the HD as a tool to help decrease your taxable value in tax hearings if you show the comps are from outside of the district... 

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There is very little risk to the owner in buying a new-build non-contributing house in the HD.  The bigger risk is buying a 1200 s.f. 2/1 and rolling the dice on being allowed to convert it into the 2600 s.f. 3/2.5 you really want.  Many people don't realize this yet, but there have now been multiple cases of individual homeowners (not developers) having their renovation plans rejected by the HAHC without clear guidelines; simply concern over "scale".

 

This kind of regulatory uncertainty does have an effect on some buyers. Not all, but some.  At some point, all economics is micro-economics, and enough individual decisions can add up to affect an overall market.

 

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an appeal.  The more likely outcome is that the HAHC issues some clear design guidelines and removes some of the capriciousness from the permitting process, thus giving potential buyers reasonable expectation that, after they buy a property, they'll be able to renovate .

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The developers are not getting burned by the HD ordinance. They know how to play the game. Additionally, they are not attached to the house. If the HAHC says change something, they have no problem doing so. They are just going to sell the house, not live in it. The problems arise with individuals who are invested in redoing their home to suit their tastes and needs. When HAHC tells these individuals to change something, it can be a huge deal. Of course, to those people who are architecturally ignorant, HAHC telling them to change something is no problem. I suppose that is why some people are not offended by HAHC's capriciousness. 

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As a counterpoint to Mark's post (holding his bungalow in the HD for a better price) my neighbor just sold her 2-1 bungalow on Harvard and it was on the market for less than a day.  She got exactly what I would have expected for it (mid 300's) both in and out of the HD's)   It was bought specifically by someone wanting to do an addition.

 

I think the market in the Heights (both in and out of the HD's) is comparable.  I think the best person to talk to about his would be a realtor, as they see a large sample set - unlike us who see one or two. 


I think the ordinance is a PITA.  I also think the dry district in the middle of the Heights is a PITA.  But on the other hand, I'm glad nobody can build and run a bar next to my house.  Nor can anyone build a 6 story solid brick wall next to my house (see 12th st).  I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.


Cheers
James

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As a counterpoint to Mark's post (holding his bungalow in the HD for a better price) my neighbor just sold her 2-1 bungalow on Harvard and it was on the market for less than a day.  She got exactly what I would have expected for it (mid 300's) both in and out of the HD's)   It was bought specifically by someone wanting to do an addition.

 

I think the market in the Heights (both in and out of the HD's) is comparable.  I think the best person to talk to about his would be a realtor, as they see a large sample set - unlike us who see one or two. 

I think the ordinance is a PITA.  I also think the dry district in the middle of the Heights is a PITA.  But on the other hand, I'm glad nobody can build and run a bar next to my house.  Nor can anyone build a 6 story solid brick wall next to my house (see 12th st).  I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Cheers

James

 

I am a realtor, I have been tracking every single sale that closes b/c I was selling my house outside of the west HD and my rental is inside the West HD. Lots both inside and outside of the district are moving rapidly.  Lots that have non-contributing houses on the East side of Heights are selling for the most money and the fastest.  Newer construction on the east side is getting the absolute best price, followed by new construction on the West side.  After that its bungalows that are remodeled, regardless of location.  The west side is the real place you can see the difference.  Bungalows that in reality should be torn down are moving faster outside of the district than inside...Prices are higher outside of the HD than inside if the particular block is developed.  If the block is relatively undeveloped its builders making the investment.  It seem individuals are not quite as keen on taking the risk of the block not developing as a developer is.

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Hi everyone,

 

The appeal for 1811 Harvard is this Thursday at 2:30 pm. Fiwki noticed that the appeal wasn't on the Planning Commission agenda, and when the owners started asking, they were told that they didn't originally fill out all the appeal paperwork right. After significal discussion / clarification that I won't bore you with, they were put on the agenda, thankfully.

 

The documentation for their COA (attached) clearly shows that they satisfy all 11 criteria for new additions. However, at the bottom of the first page, you can see that it says:

 

HAHC ACTION:                   Denial

BASIS FOR ISSUANCE:    --

 

Blank - that's right: the basis for their denial is literally blank.

 

There are countless other similar projects approved all the time, including the same meeting, which is why Commissioner Hellyer made a motion to approve the COA that ultimately got voted down.

 

The Starr's don't know a lot of people in the Heights area, so I told them that I would help get people to write email support letters. It doesn't have to be long.

 

Can you please send an email to show your support? I have drafted something simple below if you want to copy/paste. I put the Starr's emails in the cc line, so they can make sure to keep the Preservation staff honest that they counted/included all of the support letters. It sounds good if the staff presents it saying: "We have recieved X number of support letters from the neighborhood included in your packet" when they present to the Commission.

 

To: Diana - PD" Diana.DuCroz@houstontx.gov


cc: Jason Starr <jason.starr@mattressfirm.com>,Tera Starr <tera.starr@mattressfirm.com>

 

Subject: Support letter for 1811 Harvard COA

 

Body:

 

I am writing to show my support of the Starr's renovation project at 1811 Harvard and encourage you to grant them a Certificate of Appropriateness. I am unable to attend the Planning Commission meeting in-person to show my support; therefore, this letter must suffice.

 

As a neighbor, I am disappointed that a young family is having so much trouble restoring a dilapidated structure. Their project will be a great improvement to the Heights. I am also disappointed that they were originally denied a COA when they met all 11 criteria for new additions, and especially that no basis was provided for their denial on the documentation.


Again, I support the COA for 1811 Harvard; the renovation will be good for the neighborhood.


Please respond to confirm that you will include this letter in the packet you provide the Planning Commission.

 

Thank you,
Name

Historic Height Neighborhood (e.g. Historic Heights East, Norhill, etc....)

Or just put "The Heights" if you aren't specifically in a Historic district, or wherever you live if you are outside of the Heights, or blank if you are not comfortable sharing

1811 harvard coa denial.pdf

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Hello,

 

I just wanted to let those who are interested in preserving the character of our historic districts that an appeal for 1811 Harvard (proposed addition and alterations to the existing structure) is this Thursday at the Planning Commission at 2:30 p.m., City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby St.

 

The staff’s report for the Certificate of Appropriateness (attached to the previous post) clearly shows they do not meet all the criteria:

 

Criteria 1 “proposed activity must retain and preserve the historical character of the property.” The proposed addition, which encroaches on a large portion of the existing structure, increases the mass by almost 250%, clearly not preserving the historical character of this contributing structure.

 

Criteria 4 “proposed activity must preserve the distinguishing qualities of character of the building, structure, object, or site and its environment.” The proposed addition is unlike any contributing structure in the district, it significantly minimizes the existing historic house and negatively impacts the character of the building and its environment. The incompatible alteration to the existing south side fenestration, which can clearly be seen from the public right-of-way, is creating an appearance that does not exist in the district.

 

Criteria 9 “proposed design for any exterior alterations or addition must not destroy significant historical, architectural or cultural material and must be compatible with the size, scale, material and character of the property and the area in which it is located.” There is a significant amount of historic materials being removed with both the addition and changes to the south side elevation and clearly this addition is NOT compatible with the size and scale of any contributing structures in this district.

 

The HAHC and the Planning Commission needs to hear from residents within the district who no longer want incompatible, inappropriate and overbearing homes such as this. There are countless other projects that were approved by the HAHC that are fantastic examples of compatible and livable additions that add value to both the neighborhood and the historic district.

 

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please consider sending an email to the Planning Commission voicing your opposition? I have drafted a letter that you are more than welcome to copy, I think short and to the point is the best approach. I have no doubt that the Preservation staff is honest enough to count and include all letters, both for and against, with their packet to the Planning Commission.

 

Please send emails to Diana DuCroz at Diana.DuCroz@houston tx.gov

 

 

 

Dear Commission Members,

 

I am writing to voice my opposition of the proposed addition and alterations to 1811 Harvard within the Houston Heights Historic District East.

 

As a resident within the district, I feel this addition does not meet the criteria as outlined in the Historic Preservation Ordinance. The mass and scale are grossly out of proportion, the removal of important historic material and the very visible incompatible alteration of the south side fenestration do not satisfy Criteria 1, 4 or 9.

 

This proposed addition and alterations are not in keeping with the historic character of our district and I strongly urge you NOT to grant the Certificate of Appropriateness.

 

Thank you for your time and service.

 

Name,

Houston Heights Historic District East

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Hi Jetober,

 

I posted my last post before I read the your new post. I'm sorry that you don't think that this project satisfies the 11 criteria for new additions like the Preservation Staff did. I realize that as a former Historic Commissioner, you ARE more qualified than most of us.

 

Do you think that the attached photo of a recent project on the 1600 block of Cortland is better? It was clearly approved by the HAHC and (in my opinion) just looks weird - not like Historic Preservation at all.

 

Also, I have been wanting to ask you this but haven't had the guts...did you write this incorrect email below about me and send it around to some neighbors? To be clear, I am NOT accusing you, but asking. I don't think it is right to accuse anyone of anything if you don't know for certain if it's true. For the record, whoever sent this really hurt my feelings, and he/she clearly does not know me (seeing that he/she doesn't even know my name..."Bree" is a common/understandable misspelling, but "Kelner"?).  

 

I think we have a lot more in common than you realize and hope that your incorrect perception of me can be ratified if we actually were to talk. You were very nice to me originally when we talked when I was going through my own project. Not sure what changed? I spend my weekends trolling through local antique and architectural salvage shops to find 1920's doors, hardware, etc. My current house is a 2/2, 1300 sqft from 1920 with painted-shut, original windows that I think are beautiful. As a mom with a young baby, you know that it will be tough to have another kid in a house that small, let alone have grandparents who live in New Zealand and Kansas City come visit their grandkids. I reached out to Kent Marsh after he spoke at the last HAHC meeting about how he and several neighbors who care about the neighborhood get together to talk about the recent projects to see if I could volunteer to help. For the record, I care about our neighborhood too and preserving it. At the same time, I also care about consistent enforcement of legal documents - not more and not less.  

 

I assume that I will see you at the appeal tomorrow? You are always very well-spoken. I hope that you and I could talk sometime. To be clear, I do not work for Creole. I hired him to design my project originally b/c I see his signs around the neighborhood and he has lived here since the mid-70's. He lives in a 1915 home with an original stove and sink! I chose him over another designer b/c he charged a fixed fee, where the other guy only charged by the hour b/c the historic process was so unknown. Since restoring an old home is SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive than new construction, I was very uncomfortable with an unknown hourly fee if I could have it fixed.

 

TIME SENSITIVE!!

 

Please call and email CM Ellen Cohen today and let her know you support Bart Truxillo as a replacement for Doug Elliott on the HAHC. I understand CM Cohen is nominating an individual who does not support the Historic Preservation Ordinance. Cm Cohen’s nomination may be as soon as next week’s council meeting.

 

Bart is copied on this email and is agreeable to serving on the HAHC.

 

As some of you may know, Doug Elliott is resigning from the HAHC. This is a loss for preservationists who have appreciated Doug’s continued support of the amended Preservation Ordinance.

 

Doug holds a Citizen Representative position which is a position that can be filled by Councilman nomination. We understand that CM Cohen intends to nominate Bree Kelner which, in my opinion, is a blow to preservationist. Bree works closely with Creole Design who habitually proposes non compatible additions and new construction and has successfully appealed HAHC denied designs to the Planning Commission.

 

CM Cohen must hear from her constituents that we do not support Bree Kelner and that we do nominate and support Bart Truxillo.

 

PS: I may have mis spelled Bree’s name. If someone knows the correct spelling, please reply to all.

 

CM Ellen Cohen Email: districtc@houstontx.gov

                              Phone: 832.393.3004

post-11817-0-78873000-1373472885_thumb.j

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Thank you angosta! I completely agree. I followed the ordinance the entire time, including when I chose to appeal (to be clear, when I chose - not when my architect chose - it was 100% my decision). If someone likes the ordinance, then they should be happy that families like mine followed it.

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Brie

I am sorry you felt it necessary to respond to my post in such a manner. I was simply posting to help those in the neighborhood who don't necessarily feel this is good preservation practice, which is what I thought this forum was for.

I am disappointed that you have chosen a public forum to make false and slanderous accusations and assumptions about me.

For the record, I have not served on the HAHC but was an employee at the City of Houston for three years. I did NOT send this email, in fact this is the first time I have seen or heard of it.

I would appreciate it if in the future you gathered the correct facts before posting anything online. If there are any issues you wish to discuss privately, you already have my email and are more than welcome to send me a message any time.

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jetober,

 

The manner in which you posted that email makes it look entirely like you were the author. Therefore, you deserve every bit of accusation and assumption delivered by Ms. Kelman. In fact, hiding behind the email of someone else is even worse, in my opinion, than if you were the author of the email yourself. If you have a problem with Ms. Kelman or her use of the appeal process, then let's hear it. That's what this forum is for, and clearly, by posting that email on a public forum, you have no problem with SOME THINGS being made public.

 

And, if you'd like to send ME a message, you are more than welcome to use the private message function. I'd be happy to tell you a bit more of what my opinion of your tactics on this forum are.

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sorry! I thought I was clear that I was NOT accusing anyone of anything...i was asking. That's why I typed these lines and used "he/she" vs "you":

 

"To be clear, I am NOT accusing you, but asking. I don't think it is right to accuse anyone of anything if you don't know for certain if it's true. For the record, whoever sent this really hurt my feelings, and he/she clearly does not know me"

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Do you think that the attached photo of a recent project on the 1600 block of Cortland is better? It was clearly approved by the HAHC and (in my opinion) just looks weird - not like Historic Preservation at all.

 

So, is your goal to reform the HAHC so that all bad projects can get approved?  I know you do not like it that people wrote CM Cohen to let her know that they did not support you getting nominated to HAHC.  But the reason people are concerned is that no one has any idea what you actually want to do or what you stand for when it comes to the historic districts. 

 

What we do know is that you wrote a letter to the Leader stating that you are friends with your builder.  You hired an architect who has been an opponent of the historic ordinance.  You are out advocating for an appeal of a denial of a COA from a project that was designed by the same architect's firm.  You mounted a very public campaign against the HAHC to try to get your plans approved on appeal with the Planning Commission.  These are all things that suggest that you do not support the historic ordinance.

 

On the other hand, you have told us that you like historic homes; own and are renovating one, and go to antique stores.  That is all great, but some of the most vocal opponents of the historic ordinance have said and done the same thing.

 

So, in all fairness, this is you chance to let us know where you really stand.

 

1.  Would you support a repeal of the Historic Ordinance?

2.  Do you think the Historic Ordinance should be strengthened to prevent the projects like the one on 1600 Cortland?  Or should it be weakened to just set a few objective standards for height, size, preservation of original structure, etc. and have no say in the subjective elements?  Or something in between?

3.  What specifically would you do if selected to serve on the HAHC to try to reform the process (specifics, not "I would be fair and consistent, yada yada")?

4.  If you could make amendments to the ordinance, what would you change?

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So, is your goal to reform the HAHC so that all bad projects can get approved? 

 

HAHA! There is no need to reform HAHC for this. Bad projects are the only ones they approve NOW. Hopefully, Brie would reform HAHC so that our good projects get approved.

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Brie

I am sorry you felt it necessary to respond to my post in such a manner. I was simply posting to help those in the neighborhood who don't necessarily feel this is good preservation practice, which is what I thought this forum was for.

I am disappointed that you have chosen a public forum to make false and slanderous accusations and assumptions about me.

 

 

I see no false or slanderous statements in her post at all.  She asked if you were the person who wrote a letter that completely mis-represented her.  

 

Perhaps living in your tiny well maintained shack has caused you to down size other aspects of your life as well...perhaps your underwear clinch too tightly around your testicles thereby creating headaches or other symptoms which may or may not contribute to your rudeness and apparent over-sensitivity issues.  In all seriousness, lighten up - the ordinance is TERRIBLE and its destroying the neighborhood.  

 

Small well maintained shacks are great for singles and old people, but the Heights is evolving into a real neighborhood again full of young, wealthy, working families....we dont need an ordinance standing in our way so that the original residents can afford to continue living here.  Im sorry your taxes will price you out of the hood, but inventing a historic ordinance for 19XX tract homes is a complete and total waste of private & public funds.  The heights was one of the original suburbs of Houston, it was full of tract homes of that era.  Change is inevitable as it is in a very desirable area of town, not prone to flooding.  Those who are in support of preservation had a method of doing so prior to the ordinance...Individual deed restrictions.  The rest of the neighborhood (the silent majority) just want to go about their lives without the intervention of the vocal minority who wish to freeze time. 

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I wrote a support email as well.  As a homeowner on Harvard street I find this a bit silly.  On my block alone there are at least a half dozen homes that already exist and that are larger in scale than this project.  It's WHY Harvard is one of the premiere streets to live on in the Heights, lol.


I have two young boys and I can't see living in a 2-1 or an upgraded 2-1 with a small addition on the back.  I want more young families to move to the Heights so that the schools improve and there are some kids for my sons to play with. If people are going to be denied the right to appropriately upgrade their own home I think that is an overall hindrance to the quality of our great neighborhood.

 

I also don't like the insinuation that if you support someone's appeal you are not "for historic preservation."  That is ridiculous.  I support historic preservation and keeping the character of the neighborhood feeling "old homie." I also support some amendments to the ordinance - as it should be a process of continuous improvement.

 

On a separate topic - but relevant to 1811 Harvard - this should have nothing to do with the SIZE of the homes.  That just doesn't make any sense.  Is the Glassell home historic?  You bet.  Is it a massive house on a giant lot?  You bet.  Did the massive house at 11th and Heights (the one that burned) look historic and fit in?  It certainly did - it was beautiful and contributed to the character of the neighborhood.  As does Sara's B&B and the list goes on...

 

Cheers
James

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I also don't like the insinuation that if you support someone's appeal you are not "for historic preservation."  That is ridiculous.  I support historic preservation and keeping the character of the neighborhood feeling "old homie." I also support some amendments to the ordinance - as it should be a process of continuous improvement.

 

 

 

My point wasn't that if you support someone's appeal you are not for "historic preservation".  My point was that people do not know whether to trust Brie or not because she has never articulated her position on the preservation ordinance.  What we do know is that she has done some things that are in line with what opponents of the ordinance have done.  That raises concerns.  I have given her an opportunity to state what her position on the ordinance is and have not concluded one way or the other about her. 

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I wrote a support email as well.  As a homeowner on Harvard street I find this a bit silly.  On my block alone there are at least a half dozen homes that already exist and that are larger in scale than this project.  It's WHY Harvard is one of the premiere streets to live on in the Heights, lol.

I have two young boys and I can't see living in a 2-1 or an upgraded 2-1 with a small addition on the back.  I want more young families to move to the Heights so that the schools improve and there are some kids for my sons to play with. If people are going to be denied the right to appropriately upgrade their own home I think that is an overall hindrance to the quality of our great neighborhood.

 

I also don't like the insinuation that if you support someone's appeal you are not "for historic preservation."  That is ridiculous.  I support historic preservation and keeping the character of the neighborhood feeling "old homie." I also support some amendments to the ordinance - as it should be a process of continuous improvement.

 

On a separate topic - but relevant to 1811 Harvard - this should have nothing to do with the SIZE of the homes.  That just doesn't make any sense.  Is the Glassell home historic?  You bet.  Is it a massive house on a giant lot?  You bet.  Did the massive house at 11th and Heights (the one that burned) look historic and fit in?  It certainly did - it was beautiful and contributed to the character of the neighborhood.  As does Sara's B&B and the list goes on...

 

Cheers

James

 

But if you makes the homes bigger and nicer, the taxes will go up for the preservationists....thats been the end game the whole time.  They want to keep the neighborhood old to stop any more growth, which will prevent any more increase in taxable value.  The preservationists are not really preservationists, they are just folks who are getting priced out of their own home.

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My point wasn't that if you support someone's appeal you are not for "historic preservation".  My point was that people do not know whether to trust Brie or not because she has never articulated her position on the preservation ordinance.  What we do know is that she has done some things that are in line with what opponents of the ordinance have done.  That raises concerns.  I have given her an opportunity to state what her position on the ordinance is and have not concluded one way or the other about her. 

 

I don't trust half the people on the commision's position as they approve and deny very similar projects during the same hearings, often times appearingly based on who knows who.  These last few posts from the supporters have really shown how underhanded the supporters can be.  Just because you don't like the ordinance does not mean you aren't a preservationist.  I guarantee many of us have done more than you ever will in the name of preservation, it is the power grab that angers most of us.  (and as seen in the hearings, a warranted anger)

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I don't trust half the people on the commision's position as they approve and deny very similar projects during the same hearings, often times appearingly based on who knows who.  These last few posts from the supporters have really shown how underhanded the supporters can be.  Just because you don't like the ordinance does not mean you aren't a preservationist.  I guarantee many of us have done more than you ever will in the name of preservation, it is the power grab that angers most of us.  (and as seen in the hearings, a warranted anger)

 

Absolutely. Ever notice that most of these "preservationists" never tell us what they are doing. They only tell us what we cannot do. The reason is that they do little or nothing.

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I don't trust half the people on the commision's position as they approve and deny very similar projects during the same hearings, often times appearingly based on who knows who.  These last few posts from the supporters have really shown how underhanded the supporters can be.  Just because you don't like the ordinance does not mean you aren't a preservationist.  I guarantee many of us have done more than you ever will in the name of preservation, it is the power grab that angers most of us.  (and as seen in the hearings, a warranted anger)

 

If you want to repeal the ordinance instead of working to make it better, you are not a preservationist.  The historic houses in the Heights were getting mowed down as fast as they were in Oak Forrest before the ordinance.  Without the ordinance, it would be back to losing historic housing stock by the hundreds every year.  If that is what you consider preservation, then you have a very warped concept of what it means to be a preservationist.

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Absolutely. Ever notice that most of these "preservationists" never tell us what they are doing. They only tell us what we cannot do. The reason is that they do little or nothing.

Mark me down as one of those who has done a major expansion, and we are currently on our 4th project inside, for a 1915 bungalow. We did the expansion before the ordinance, but retroactively applied for and received a COA. In fact, our house is used as an EXAMPLE in the HAHC handbook as an acceptable expansion. And guess what, I hate the HAHC. It was underhanded and is over reaching and I don't understand why anyone would turn over that much power to so few individuals about something worth so much to their new worth. Am I a preservationist? Heck yeah. Love the old house, leaky windows and all. But give me the right to make decisions about my own property.

I recall a couple coming around gathering signatures a few years ago (for the ordinance). I told them as an example, that I didn't like their rims on their car, and they should change them out. Didn't belong on that car, in my opinion. And come to think of it, they were one of the main supporters of the ordinance and within a few months of approval, what did they do....moved out of the area. Thanks for that.

(Off the soap box...next man/woman up).

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If you want to repeal the ordinance instead of working to make it better, you are not a preservationist.  The historic houses in the Heights were getting mowed down as fast as they were in Oak Forrest before the ordinance.  Without the ordinance, it would be back to losing historic housing stock by the hundreds every year.  If that is what you consider preservation, then you have a very warped concept of what it means to be a preservationist.

 

I'd like the ordinance repealed ONLY due to how it was initiated.  A "Survey" was not the proper way to conduct who is for and who is against.

 

There were restrictions, albeit block by block, that prevented multi-family dwellings and homes that consumed an entire lot. (minimum lot size and setback)

 

MOST of the so-called historic houses that were torn down needed to be torn down because they were far beyond repair. 

 

Until someone is paying my mortgage and taxes, I'll put up one hell of a fight before being told what I can and cannot do to my house that I've owned for 18+ years, LONG before the Hysterical Ordinance was ever someones wet dream.  I find it extremely entertaining how some people can move into the Heights, live here for 2+ years and try and force their opinions on what is best for us that have lived here for over 20 years.

 

I too have done an expansion over 8 years ago and it is also listed in the "how it can be done book".  To me, that is what Historic Preservation is all about.  Keeping the look and feel of the existing neighborhood WITHOUT the known impass of your plans by the idiots on the review board.

Edited by Heights20plusyears
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I have started writing a very thoughtful, thorough response to s3mh's questions. Thank you for asking; I'm happy to provide the answers. I'm sorry if my motivations weren't clear before; I wish I would have been asked earlier if that was the case...I guess I'm not one to really put out my opinions unless they have a specific purpose or are in response to something (Side-note: The Leader article was a short what-I-assumed-was-private email I wrote the writer, and I had NO clue that it would/could be published, let alone that it WAS published until a week after when I heard from an old colleague from 7 yrs ago! I learned my lesson though - 1) duh - emailing a newspaper employee is fair game for publishing 2) they don't ask you if you are ok with them publishing anything before they publish it 3) check who the editor is before you email a writer to see if the writer is in fact the editor 4) don't email a writer b/c it will get published).

 

I have been in meetings all morning and then went to the appeal. I don't know how to post from an iphone (can someone PM me how to do?), so apologies for my delayed response.

 

To be clear, I went and spoke to support the Starr's (not Creole), and the Starr's won unanimously. I'm very happy that they can stop worrying about this now and get back to the headaches of sleepless nights with their 3-mo old vs sleepless nights worrying about their life savings and ability to provide shelter for their growing family.

 

Thank you for all that wrote in for them. They had over 30 support letters, which is a much nicer welcome to the Heights, and shows them that it IS a great neighborhood, full of nice/welcoming people.

 

Again, I will post specific answers tomorrow (I promise that I am not avoiding the question). I started a detailed response, but I want to sleep on it to make sure my words are carefully chosen and mean what I want them to mean without unintentionally offending someone.

 

 

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That is interesting Red. And really annoying.

I know there was chatter right after it passed about lawsuits that would revoke it. Does anyone know if that is still going on? Curious. My guess is it will take someone getting pinned by the HAHC and finally running it up the court system, and likely someone who is a lawyer so they could burn sweat equity instead of cash.

Oh, and thanks Brie for letting us know about the Starr's winning today. I was able to fire off a letter this morning.

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Unanimous vote to overturn....Gafrick and the 6 hahc fools should resign after this one if they had any self respect. But I have a feeling the State AG will help them along soon. Hats off to Brie for helping out a new neighbor and introducing me to some fine new friends.

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Unanimous vote to overturn....Gafrick and the 6 hahc fools should resign after this one if they had any self respect. But I have a feeling the State AG will help them along soon. Hats off to Brie for helping out a new neighbor and introducing me to some fine new friends.

 

I think this is the end game the entire time.   Make it as hard as possible to get past the HAHC, put up road blocks right and left, but then when it gets to council allow them to do whatever they want.  I think the council, the HAHC, the Mayor, everyone, knows that this was not legally enacted and can be overturned by a court.  However, I think that the courts will dismiss any case attempting to overturn the ordinance unless they are damaged by the ordinance itself...it appears that by just approving everything at council, they are preventing any plantiff from having standing to sue...

 

I could be way off on this, as I have not done any research, but I know quite a few municipalities use this tatic to put draconian ordinances out there that are impossible to legally enforce...its just a deterrent.

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If you want to repeal the ordinance instead of working to make it better, you are not a preservationist. 

 

 

This is a flat out lie.  I also want to preserve the character of the neighborhood which has been eccentric and friendly, which you and your like have destroyed by imposing your will upon your non approving neighbors.  No I don't like seeing old houses smashed that could be saved, but the lengths you are willing to go to to save them is destroying the fabric of the community in my opinion.  I have said all along that a clearly written, set of guidelines and rules for preservation is something I could likely support, but the way this was put in place and the ability of a few to allow and deny projects based on a whim is sickening.

 

By the way, I also preserve and restore antique furniture as a hobby. (I have also repurposed several destroyed pieces I picked up off the side of the road).  I enjoy doing this and enjoy keeping things that have use from going to the dump.  I am a presrvationist for many things have been for many years. 

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This is a flat out lie.  I also want to preserve the character of the neighborhood which has been eccentric and friendly, which you and your like have destroyed by imposing your will upon your non approving neighbors.  No I don't like seeing old houses smashed that could be saved, but the lengths you are willing to go to to save them is destroying the fabric of the community in my opinion.  I have said all along that a clearly written, set of guidelines and rules for preservation is something I could likely support, but the way this was put in place and the ability of a few to allow and deny projects based on a whim is sickening.

 

By the way, I also preserve and restore antique furniture as a hobby. (I have also repurposed several destroyed pieces I picked up off the side of the road).  I enjoy doing this and enjoy keeping things that have use from going to the dump.  I am a presrvationist for many things have been for many years. 

 

Very well spoken!

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I think this is the end game the entire time. Make it as hard as possible to get past the HAHC, put up road blocks right and left, but then when it gets to council allow them to do whatever they want. I think the council, the HAHC, the Mayor, everyone, knows that this was not legally enacted and can be overturned by a court. However, I think that the courts will dismiss any case attempting to overturn the ordinance unless they are damaged by the ordinance itself...it appears that by just approving everything at council, they are preventing any plantiff from having standing to sue...

I could be way off on this, as I have not done any research, but I know quite a few municipalities use this tatic to put draconian ordinances out there that are impossible to legally enforce...its just a deterrent.

That might the key to dealing with this until it gets repealed. If your project is big enough in dollars to warrant the expenditure, hire a lawyer to represent you at the HAHC meeting. Maybe the implied threat of seriousness would be enough to get you the approval without having to appeal.

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Just watched the planning commission meeting, preservationists got smoked! Question to Bree, oh sorry, Brie, what did you think of the beat down your "architect" got? Personally, gonna stay as far away from this dude for all future projects....recommend everyone else do the same. Would hate to be this homeowner.

 

If anyone is interested, you can see it for yourself at the 75:55 mark....

 

http://houstontx.swagit.com/play/07112013-622

 

 

 

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Interesting that 3 historic district opponents all have their work published as how to do it right. The person most in favor of the ordinance has not remodeled.

 

Something weird about that.

 

No.  What is weird is that you have to continually make ad hominem attacks in every post you make because you offer so little in the form of intelligent dialog on any issue.  It is always "I am right, everyone else is a complete retard" with you.  That is actually more sad than weird.

 

But, since you are obsessed with me, I will let you know that the addition is about 4-5 years out when I have a very good equity cushion to make financing easy.  Also, need to get schools settled, wife back into the work force and would definitely want to not build during a boom when trades are in short supply and charging top dollar.  Also hoping for a softer rental market for the time I would have to be out of the house.  No fear of the HAHC as I will be using one of the builders who has tons of experience with the HAHC and does not have to go to the planning commission to get an approval.   

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This is a flat out lie.  I also want to preserve the character of the neighborhood which has been eccentric and friendly, which you and your like have destroyed by imposing your will upon your non approving neighbors.  No I don't like seeing old houses smashed that could be saved, but the lengths you are willing to go to to save them is destroying the fabric of the community in my opinion.  I have said all along that a clearly written, set of guidelines and rules for preservation is something I could likely support, but the way this was put in place and the ability of a few to allow and deny projects based on a whim is sickening.

 

By the way, I also preserve and restore antique furniture as a hobby. (I have also repurposed several destroyed pieces I picked up off the side of the road).  I enjoy doing this and enjoy keeping things that have use from going to the dump.  I am a presrvationist for many things have been for many years. 

 

You can't have your cake and eat it too.  If you are going to jump up and down at the HAHC and advocate for its demise, you cannot claim to be in favor of preservation because you would be ok with some other sort of regulation.  HAHC is what we've got.  If the anti-preservationists succeed and get it repealed, nothing is going to replace it.  You know that and your claim that you can be for preservation but against the ordinance is plainly disingenuous. 

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No. What is weird is that you have to continually make ad hominem attacks in every post you make because you offer so little in the form of intelligent dialog on any issue. It is always "I am right, everyone else is a complete retard" with you. That is actually more sad than weird.

But, since you are obsessed with me, I will let you know that the addition is about 4-5 years out when I have a very good equity cushion to make financing easy. Also, need to get schools settled, wife back into the work force and would definitely want to not build during a boom when trades are in short supply and charging top dollar. Also hoping for a softer rental market for the time I would have to be out of the house. No fear of the HAHC as I will be using one of the builders who has tons of experience with the HAHC and does not have to go to the planning commission to get an approval.

Hopefully, HAHC will be gone by that time so you'll have one less thing to deal with.

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Just watched the planning commission meeting, preservationists got smoked! Question to Bree, oh sorry, Brie, what did you think of the beat down your "architect" got? Personally, gonna stay as far away from this dude for all future projects....recommend everyone else do the same. Would hate to be this homeowner.

 

If anyone is interested, you can see it for yourself at the 75:55 mark....

 

http://houstontx.swagit.com/play/07112013-622

 

The planning Commission guy is  unmitigated jerk. He acts like he never made a mistake. For a member of a public commission to make a statement like "never do business with you" is outrageous in this context.

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You can't have your cake and eat it too.  If you are going to jump up and down at the HAHC and advocate for its demise, you cannot claim to be in favor of preservation because you would be ok with some other sort of regulation.  HAHC is what we've got.  If the anti-preservationists succeed and get it repealed, nothing is going to replace it.  You know that and your claim that you can be for preservation but against the ordinance is plainly disingenuous. 

What's the point of having cake if you can't eat it? So, if you think a lesser set of regulations (or no regulations) is sufficient and the HAHC system is arbitrary and abusive you are therefore not in favor of preservation?

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You can't have your cake and eat it too.  If you are going to jump up and down at the HAHC and advocate for its demise, you cannot claim to be in favor of preservation because you would be ok with some other sort of regulation.  HAHC is what we've got.  If the anti-preservationists succeed and get it repealed, nothing is going to replace it.  You know that and your claim that you can be for preservation but against the ordinance is plainly disingenuous. 

 

So what, we can't wish for something better than the piece of crap we have now? Having nothing would be an improvement. At least it wouldn't waste taxpayer money if it didn't exist.

 

I'm curious as to what makes your views on architecture more valid than those of the individual property owners. Why should you get to tell your neighbor how their house should appear, absent mutually agreed deed restrictions?

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So what, we can't wish for something better than the piece of crap we have now? Having nothing would be an improvement. At least it wouldn't waste taxpayer money if it didn't exist.

Hahahaha...that's a perfect paraphrase of s3mh's argument against Walmart. Now I see what Red is saying about s3mh's schizophrenia.

Edited by august948
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