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Wal-Mart to invade the Heights


Walmart at Yale & I-10: For or Against  

160 members have voted

  1. 1. Q1: Regarding the proposed WalMart at Yale and I-10:

    • I live within a 3 mile radius (as the crow flies) and am FOR this Walmart
      41
    • I live within a 3 mile radius (as the crow flies) and am AGAINST this Walmart
      54
    • I live outside a 3 mile radius (as the crow flies) and am FOR this Walmart
      30
    • I live outside a 3 mile radius (as the crow flies) and am AGAINST this Walmart
      26
    • Undecided
      9
  2. 2. Q2: If/when this proposed WalMart is built at Yale & I-10

    • I am FOR this WalMart and will shop at this WalMart
      45
    • I am FOR this WalMart but will not shop at this WalMart
      23
    • I am AGAINST this WalMart but will shop at this WalMart
      7
    • I am AGAINST this WalMart and will not shop at this WalMart
      72
    • Undecided
      13
  3. 3. Q3: WalMart in general

    • I am Pro-Walmart
      16
    • I am Anti-Walmart
      63
    • I don't care either way
      72
    • Undecided
      9

This poll is closed to new votes


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im very late to the game, but i hadn't driven down yale in years (i live on the other side of buffalo bayou). i did this morning. this area is currently so ugly that anything here--absolutely anything--would be better (i didn't relealize land west of downtown and inside the loop was still this bad). the road is also awful (close to Shepperd awful), so to get a private company to help with the road to boot is a great deal.

would it have been nicer to be mixed use, of course. but this developement should be a very welcome change for everyone in that area .

Most of Houston is ugly. I love it here.

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Is that the rubicon, whether or not you walk your own children and pets? Is that what divides snobbery from community activism? I just don't get it, with all that's wrong in the world, with all the pl

I'd love nothing more than to see the concerned heights neighbors do a real protest of the proposed Yale Wal Mart. Think of it as a meaningful vacation from strenuous days of blogging, girls lunches

I, too, feel compelled to go public with this message. Since you don't live in the Heights, why don't you take your crunchy-tastic, holier-than-thou, self-righteous and judgemental attitude, drag Nic

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im very late to the game, but i hadn't driven down yale in years (i live on the other side of buffalo bayou). i did this morning. this area is currently so ugly that anything here--absolutely anything--would be better (i didn't relealize land west of downtown and inside the loop was still this bad). the road is also awful (close to Shepperd awful), so to get a private company to help with the road to boot is a great deal.

would it have been nicer to be mixed use, of course. but this developement should be a very welcome change for everyone in that area .

Tax payers are paying for the road improvements via a tax reimbursement deal between the developer and the City. The developer said they could afford to make the road improvements and did not need the tax reimbursement deal, but got one anyway. So, the reality is that tax payers are helping the developer to the tune of 6 million, not the other way around.

And the Heights and West End aren't so desparate for development that we should be happy to see our neighborhood turned into FM 1960 Jr. The Heights is already scarred with lots of "anything would be better" development. The short sighted mini-strip centers and 1970s garden style apartment complexes were undoubtedly hailed at the time as a good thing for the neighborhood in that they were replacing vacant lots or abandonned buildings. But, we are now stuck with them and would have been much better off had they never been built. I suspect in 10-20 years, someone will post on a message board about how they have not been down Yale St. in years and cannot believe how terrible it is over my the Walmart and how anything would be better than that strip mall.

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Tax payers are paying for the road improvements via a tax reimbursement deal between the developer and the City. The developer said they could afford to make the road improvements and did not need the tax reimbursement deal, but got one anyway. So, the reality is that tax payers are helping the developer to the tune of 6 million, not the other way around.

so direct your hatred and anger at MAP and the people who approached the dev with the idea.

Would the fact that taxes are paying for the (needed) road improvements suck any less if it weren't a walmart?

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Last time I checked, taxes are used to build and repair roads. That's what taxpayers do, they pay taxes for road improvements.

Interestingly, Walmarts pay taxes at a higher rate than owners of homes, and especially owners of historic homes, both of whom get exemptions. Someone has to pick up the slack for all the slack these deadbeats are given. We should be thanking Walmart for paying the taxes we will not pay, not villifying them.

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so direct your hatred and anger at MAP and the people who approached the dev with the idea.

Would the fact that taxes are paying for the (needed) road improvements suck any less if it weren't a walmart?

I hate MAP and the clowns in the econ development office who cooked up this 380 agreement. There.

But, I will not be silent when someone praises Walmart or the developer for doing the deal. Obviously, Walmart and the developer would be stupid not to take the free money. But that doesn't make it right. There was no money in the CIF for any of the needed improvements. Without the 380 agreement, the developer would either have to pay for the improvements or wait until CIF funds became available. The developer said they did not need the 380 agreement and could proceed with out it. To hail them and Walmart as doing some public service by taking 6 mil they do not need is wrong.

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Last time I checked, taxes are used to build and repair roads. That's what taxpayers do, they pay taxes for road improvements.

Interestingly, Walmarts pay taxes at a higher rate than owners of homes, and especially owners of historic homes, both of whom get exemptions. Someone has to pick up the slack for all the slack these deadbeats are given. We should be thanking Walmart for paying the taxes we will not pay, not villifying them.

As mentioned above, when there are no CIF funds or if the infrastructure improvements exclusively benefit the developer, the developer has to pay for the improvements. It happens all the time.

Owners of historic homes do not get tax exemptions. There is an abatement program available for certain rennovations. But, otherwise, if you buy a house in a historic district, you pay the same tax rate as everyone else.

Everyone gets taxed at the same rate. Walmart does not get the benefit of the homestead exemption. But they certainly should pay more taxes (due to no homestead limits, not a higher tax rate) as they are a far greater consumer and beneficiary of public services and funds than the average resident. Many of their employees need public assistance to make ends meet due to being paid low wages and having insufficient hours. Many of their employees are on medicaid. They need the police on almost a daily basis. Their customers pay for groceries and consumer goods with WIC, welfare and SS checks.

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I hate MAP and the clowns in the econ development office who cooked up this 380 agreement. There.

But, I will not be silent when someone praises Walmart or the developer for doing the deal. Obviously, Walmart and the developer would be stupid not to take the free money. But that doesn't make it right. There was no money in the CIF for any of the needed improvements. Without the 380 agreement, the developer would either have to pay for the improvements or wait until CIF funds became available. The developer said they did not need the 380 agreement and could proceed with out it. To hail them and Walmart as doing some public service by taking 6 mil they do not need is wrong.

Glad that you agree that the people to be angry with are in city hall, and that Walmart (or any landowner given the same choice as they were) were just taking advantage of the offer on the table.

I think you're right, if someone praises walmart for making the great job they did crafting the 380 agreement, they're wrong, and why not point that out, because as you said, they really didn't need it, or want it until it was on the table. It's hard to not discuss the agreement though because it's all part of the deal, but by the same token, you can't criminalize walmart for entering the 380 agreement that the city offered.

Everyone gets taxed at the same rate.

I know certain areas get taxed more, or less based on school district they are in, and a few other things, but I had always assumed residential was taxed differently than commercial even in the same area? Interesting to know we get taxed the same.

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Redscare,

"Last time I checked," the other side of Buffalo Bayou indicates Montrose, not Katy. Until recently, there has been no reason to go north of Allen Parkway. Frankly, the Walmart will be a draw for those of us in Montrose to get out more and enjoy your neck of the woods.

Clearly I misunderstood who was paying for the new roads, although regardless, Yale is in desperate need to be re-done.

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As mentioned above, when there are no CIF funds or if the infrastructure improvements exclusively benefit the developer, the developer has to pay for the improvements. It happens all the time.

Owners of historic homes do not get tax exemptions. There is an abatement program available for certain rennovations. But, otherwise, if you buy a house in a historic district, you pay the same tax rate as everyone else.

Everyone gets taxed at the same rate. Walmart does not get the benefit of the homestead exemption. But they certainly should pay more taxes (due to no homestead limits, not a higher tax rate) as they are a far greater consumer and beneficiary of public services and funds than the average resident. Many of their employees need public assistance to make ends meet due to being paid low wages and having insufficient hours. Many of their employees are on medicaid. They need the police on almost a daily basis. Their customers pay for groceries and consumer goods with WIC, welfare and SS checks.

Historic homes get a homestead exemption, WalMart doesn't. Your "historic" home therefore pays less proportionate tax than WalMart.

None of the services you mention come from property taxes. Don't be disingenuous.

The infrastructure improvements won't benefit only the developer. Anyone can drive on the improved streets.

The 380 agreements don't cost the City any taxes they are currently collecting.

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Clearly I misunderstood who was paying for the new roads, although regardless, Yale is in desperate need to be re-done.

You are correct that Yale is in horrible shape and needs to be redone. The 380 agreement allows for this to occur sooner. However, some posters on this board seem to be offended that a non-tax producing property will soon be producing hundreds of thousands of tax dollars per year. Of course, this same poster supported the City's passage of a historic ordinance that will limit the amount of taxes produced by Heights residents by both limiting the renovations of those existing homes and preventing new construction. One must wonder how anything will get paid for in this city if that poster succeeds in limiting all tax producing properties.

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Historic homes get a homestead exemption, WalMart doesn't. Your "historic" home therefore pays less proportionate tax than WalMart.

Maybe owners of historic homes should get more tax exemptions beyond the standard homestead exemption. After all, we are now the stewards of homes that can only be modified with the City's HAHC approval, and we pay more to maintain and update our homes to adhere to these rules.

As far as paying less proportionate tax than Walmart, how do you compare a 152,000 retailer to a single family home? The tax rate does not really take into account the return on investment each receives from city resources for things like infrastructure and public assistance. Walmart encourages employees to draw from public assistance to compensate for the low pay and meager benefits they receive. Their "low" prices are achieved through fancy management that offsets the cost by relying on others as much as possible. As taxpayers, s3mh and others have a right to complain about this and oppose this project.

If anything, those living in historic homes in the Heights are subsidizing the property tax system. The houses are appraised higher per square foot than many other parts of town, even as they need more attention and cost to maintain. The majority of homeowners, at least in my neighborhood, do not have kids attending HISD. And most Heights homeowners are probably not relying on public assistance to make ends meet; otherwise those folks would be finding less expensive areas to live. And I'm not complaining about the unfairness of the tax system when it comes to citizens, but it does bother me when corporations or developments of a certain size suddenly become outliers of the tax system that the rest of us have to subsidize.

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If anything, those living in historic homes in the Heights are subsidizing the property tax system. The houses are appraised higher per square foot than many other parts of town, even as they need more attention and cost to maintain. The majority of homeowners, at least in my neighborhood, do not have kids attending HISD. And most Heights homeowners are probably not relying on public assistance to make ends meet; otherwise those folks would be finding less expensive areas to live. And I'm not complaining about the unfairness of the tax system when it comes to citizens, but it does bother me when corporations or developments of a certain size suddenly become outliers of the tax system that the rest of us have to subsidize.

Not really. My land accounts for nearly 75% of my appraised value. My new garage is appraised at nearly the value of my entire house. The house itself accounts for only 15% of my appraised value, netting the City $221. By comparison, my neighbor's new house comprises 80% of the appraised value compared to the land. The City nets $1880 annually from his new construction, to my $221. The new Walmart at Northline Mall paid $52,355 in City property taxes alone last year, $206,900 total. And, that one is in the least desirable area. The Silber and Yale locations will likely pay more.

No, my "historic" house is not subsidizing anything. Walmart is.

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Maybe owners of historic homes should get more tax exemptions beyond the standard homestead exemption. After all, we are now the stewards of homes that can only be modified with the City's HAHC approval, and we pay more to maintain and update our homes to adhere to these rules.

Your home is no more historic, and no more important, than my generic 1952 Timbergrove ranch. It's just older. Of course, for those stupid enough to support the concept of "historic" districts, karma will appear at the suitable moment.

As far as paying less proportionate tax than Walmart, how do you compare a 152,000 retailer to a single family home? The tax rate does not really take into account the return on investment each receives from city resources for things like infrastructure and public assistance. Walmart encourages employees to draw from public assistance to compensate for the low pay and meager benefits they receive. Their "low" prices are achieved through fancy management that offsets the cost by relying on others as much as possible. As taxpayers, s3mh and others have a right to complain about this and oppose this project.

WalMart isn't receiving public assistance. in fact, the City is going to be able to make necessary infrastructure improvements ahead of schedule due to the generosity of the developer in funding those improvements. I really don't understand the hatred for WalMart. It's a business. Don't like them, don't shop there. Perhaps it's jealousy that someone else is more successful. in any case, WalMart has as much right to operate as anyone else.

If anything, those living in historic homes in the Heights are subsidizing the property tax system. The houses are appraised higher per square foot than many other parts of town, even as they need more attention and cost to maintain. The majority of homeowners, at least in my neighborhood, do not have kids attending HISD. And most Heights homeowners are probably not relying on public assistance to make ends meet; otherwise those folks would be finding less expensive areas to live. And I'm not complaining about the unfairness of the tax system when it comes to citizens, but it does bother me when corporations or developments of a certain size suddenly become outliers of the tax system that the rest of us have to subsidize.

You aren't subsidizing WalMart. They are subsidizing you.

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Not really. My land accounts for nearly 75% of my appraised value. My new garage is appraised at nearly the value of my entire house. The house itself accounts for only 15% of my appraised value, netting the City $221. By comparison, my neighbor's new house comprises 80% of the appraised value compared to the land. The City nets $1880 annually from his new construction, to my $221. The new Walmart at Northline Mall paid $52,355 in City property taxes alone last year, $206,900 total. And, that one is in the least desirable area. The Silber and Yale locations will likely pay more.

No, my "historic" house is not subsidizing anything. Walmart is.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not sure how one can accurately compare the overall impact to the tax system between a retail supercenter and a single family home. Each places different demands on infrastructure and services. But if we must, how about comparing the real taxes paid on square foot of property? By that method, I pay $1.34 per square foot for my 5000 square foot lot (with homestead exemption). For my rental property, I pay $2.98/sq. ft.

The Dunvale Super Walmart pays $0.61 per square foot of land for their 889,593 sq. ft. property, and the S Post Oak regular Walmart pays even less, $0.40/sq. ft. So, I am paying as much as 7x the amount of property taxes relative to property size compared to an existing Walmart.

And consider that appraisals for supercenters are heavily weighted towards the land value. For the Dunvale location, it's 83% for land vs. 17% for the improvements. In comparison, my Heights property appraisal value is weighted 37% for land and 63% for improvements. So, essentially a house on a 5000 square foot Heights lot is more valuable per square foot than a Walmart parking lot or even the store itself.

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Your home is no more historic, and no more important, than my generic 1952 Timbergrove ranch. It's just older. Of course, for those stupid enough to support the concept of "historic" districts, karma will appear at the suitable moment.

That's a subjective opinion. According to the city, it is historic. Regardless, I was mostly joking about getting additional tax abatement from the city. Mostly.

WalMart isn't receiving public assistance. in fact, the City is going to be able to make necessary infrastructure improvements ahead of schedule due to the generosity of the developer in funding those improvements. I really don't understand the hatred for WalMart. It's a business. Don't like them, don't shop there. Perhaps it's jealousy that someone else is more successful. in any case, WalMart has as much right to operate as anyone else.

You didn't read the comment. I didn't write that Walmart receives public assistance. But many of their employees do. And I'd rather not pay more taxes to compensate for companies like Walmart that don't pay closer to a living wage, all while they're raking in $16B in annual profits. Employees should not have to depend on public assistance programs like Medicaid and food stamps to survive.

You aren't subsidizing WalMart. They are subsidizing you.

See my previous post and the above comment.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not sure how one can accurately compare the overall impact to the tax system between a retail supercenter and a single family home.

Remember, we only looked at property taxes. With sales and inventory taxes, Walmart pays $750,000 or more a year in taxes to the city, county and state.

Another, very simple way to guage what is more valuable to the taxing authorities is to look at the City of Houston's annexation policies. They routinely annex commercial areas, while leaving the residential areas unincorporated. The City recently let the Woodlands buy its way out of the ETJ, even though the City had no intention of ever annexing the residents. Why? Commercial establishments pay higher tax rates, more for their water, pay for their own waste removal, and provide their own security. They do not waste city council's time on everything from potholes to tax revenue killing historic districts. They simply make money and pay taxes. The city likes that. No whiny, pissy residents. Just tax revenue.

If you really think that it is debatable who subsidizes who, you need to study the budgets and appraisals closer. It is not even close.

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And consider that appraisals for supercenters are heavily weighted towards the land value. For the Dunvale location, it's 83% for land vs. 17% for the improvements. In comparison, my Heights property appraisal value is weighted 37% for land and 63% for improvements. So, essentially a house on a 5000 square foot Heights lot is more valuable per square foot than a Walmart parking lot or even the store itself.

As I stated earlier, my land accounts for 73% of my appraisal. Either you live in new construction, or you were able to drastically alter your house prior to the historic district designation. It would be virtually impossible for my house to achieve even 50% parity with my land under the new ordinance.

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Remember, we only looked at property taxes. With sales and inventory taxes, Walmart pays $750,000 or more a year in taxes to the city, county and state.

Another, very simple way to guage what is more valuable to the taxing authorities is to look at the City of Houston's annexation policies. They routinely annex commercial areas, while leaving the residential areas unincorporated. The City recently let the Woodlands buy its way out of the ETJ, even though the City had no intention of ever annexing the residents. Why? Commercial establishments pay higher tax rates, more for their water, pay for their own waste removal, and provide their own security. They do not waste city council's time on everything from potholes to tax revenue killing historic districts. They simply make money and pay taxes. The city likes that. No whiny, pissy residents. Just tax revenue.

If you really think that it is debatable who subsidizes who, you need to study the budgets and appraisals closer. It is not even close.

I would argue that it's the consumers who pay sales taxes, with the retailer acting as the facilitator. And a new store in an established market like ours will primarily take revenue away from other retailers, so there is not much of a net increase in sales tax revenue. It takes things like population growth, rising salaries, and increased tourism to add real revenue to the area's retail base, not just adding more redundant retailers that borrow customers from one another.

I think the reason the city likes to annex commercial areas is for simplicity and lower risk. The city gains a significant chunk of revenue by dealing with small number property owners who own large tracts of taxable real estate in adjacent areas. Residential, by comparison, is composed of many smaller plots, and of course as you said, noisy homeowners are much more of a hassle to work with, and worse yet, they are voters who could pose a threat to those in office if annexation is not desired.

I do agree that this is more complicated than looking at property tax bills. More than anything, it doesn't account for the impact on public assistance from Walmart employees. Less than half of Walmart employees receive healthcare through their employer, and according to this source, Walmart employees cost taxpayer money for a variety of government programs, at an average cost of $420,750 to taxpayers per store. Those may be primarily federal programs, but regardless of the government entity they are drawing from, it is hard for me to believe that Walmart is subsidizing the public with the massive amount of evidence contradicting this claim.

Edited by barracuda
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As I stated earlier, my land accounts for 73% of my appraisal. Either you live in new construction, or you were able to drastically alter your house prior to the historic district designation. It would be virtually impossible for my house to achieve even 50% parity with my land under the new ordinance.

My house was considerably altered in the 30's or 40's with an addition, but most of the improvement value ratio increase is due to a large renovation a few years ago, combined with the smallish lot. Unfortunately, HCAD thinks the renovation added 23% to the value, even though the size only went up 200 sq. ft.

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I would argue that it's the consumers who pay sales taxes, with the retailer acting as the facilitator. And a new store in an established market like ours will primarily take revenue away from other retailers, so there is not much of a net increase in sales tax revenue. It takes things like population growth, rising salaries, and increased tourism to add real revenue to the area's retail base, not just adding more redundant retailers that borrow customers from one another.

I think the reason the city likes to annex commercial areas is for simplicity and lower risk. The city gains a significant chunk of revenue by dealing with small number property owners who own large tracts of taxable real estate in adjacent areas. Residential, by comparison, is composed of many smaller plots, and of course as you said, noisy homeowners are much more of a hassle to work with, and worse yet, they are voters who could pose a threat to those in office if annexation is not desired.

I do agree that this is more complicated than looking at property tax bills. More than anything, it doesn't account for the impact on public assistance from Walmart employees. Less than half of Walmart employees receive healthcare through their employer, and according to this source, Walmart employees cost taxpayer money for a variety of government programs, at an average cost of $420,750 to taxpayers per store. Those may be primarily federal programs, but regardless of the government entity they are drawing from, it is hard for me to believe that Walmart is subsidizing the public with the massive amount of evidence contradicting this claim.

What would be the plight of the workers if they weren't working at WalMart? Would they be using even more public assistance? Could it be that they woek at WalMart because it's the best job they can find? If WalMart paid higher wages and more benefits, would the workers attracted be of a higher caliber, thus leaving the current employees back on the dole?

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So I have not been paying attention to this thread at all and the last two pages are basically nothing....has this thing broken ground yet?

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not sure how one can accurately compare the overall impact to the tax system between a retail supercenter and a single family home. Each places different demands on infrastructure and services. But if we must, how about comparing the real taxes paid on square foot of property? By that method, I pay $1.34 per square foot for my 5000 square foot lot (with homestead exemption). For my rental property, I pay $2.98/sq. ft.

The Dunvale Super Walmart pays $0.61 per square foot of land for their 889,593 sq. ft. property, and the S Post Oak regular Walmart pays even less, $0.40/sq. ft. So, I am paying as much as 7x the amount of property taxes relative to property size compared to an existing Walmart.

And consider that appraisals for supercenters are heavily weighted towards the land value. For the Dunvale location, it's 83% for land vs. 17% for the improvements. In comparison, my Heights property appraisal value is weighted 37% for land and 63% for improvements. So, essentially a house on a 5000 square foot Heights lot is more valuable per square foot than a Walmart parking lot or even the store itself.

I appreciate you are disappointed that different areas of Houston pay different property tax rates, and that value of the land and improvements on the land per square foot are different, you should point some anger my way too, cause I pay right at about $0.50 per square foot, that's a discussion for a different day though.

I think judgement should be held on this comparison until the walmart is built and they pay some property taxes for that location, or maybe you can find someones house close to the dunvale, or SPO walmart for a valid comparison of tax rates for the area, and value of the property per square foot, rather than two very different areas of Houston. heh, unless maybe you're saying that Dunvale and SPO are the same as the Heights? In which case, you shouldn't be surprised they are building a walmart.

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You didn't read the comment. I didn't write that Walmart receives public assistance. But many of their employees do. And I'd rather not pay more taxes to compensate for companies like Walmart that don't pay closer to a living wage, all while they're raking in $16B in annual profits. Employees should not have to depend on public assistance programs like Medicaid and food stamps to survive.

Well, if Walmart is so bad, how about ExxonMobil? They made $30B in net income and they only keep 83,000 people employed. Walmart may not pay high wages, but if they went under, there would be 2.1 million people with no job at all.

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So I have not been paying attention to this thread at all and the last two pages are basically nothing....has this thing broken ground yet?

This thread is not about construction or development. It is for whining and philosophical ramblings between groups of people who will never hear what the other says.

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Well, if Walmart is so bad, how about ExxonMobil? They made $30B in net income and they only keep 83,000 people employed. Walmart may not pay high wages, but if they went under, there would be 2.1 million people with no job at all.

What would be the plight of the workers if they weren't working at WalMart? Would they be using even more  public assistance? Could it be that they woek at WalMart because it's the best job they can find? If WalMart paid higher wages and more benefits, would the workers attracted be of a higher caliber, thus leaving the current employees back on the dole?

If Walmart is taking sales from other retailers, is it possible that those retailers will cut jobs or shut down completely to account for the revenue loss? Or perhaps those workers would prefer one of the 200,000 jobs lost to China over just a 5 year period as a direct result of Walmart's trade deficit with the country, most of them manufacturing jobs that typically come with higher wages and benefits than the service jobs that replaced them.

I appreciate you are disappointed that different areas of Houston pay different property tax rates, and that value of the land and improvements on the land per square foot are different, you should point some anger my way too, cause I pay right at about $0.50 per square foot, that's a discussion for a different day though.

I think judgement should be held on this comparison until the walmart is built and they pay some property taxes for that location, or maybe you can find someones house close to the dunvale, or SPO walmart for a valid comparison of tax rates for the area, and value of the property per square foot, rather than two very different areas of Houston. heh, unless maybe you're saying that Dunvale and SPO are the same as the Heights? In which case, you shouldn't be surprised they are building a 

I'm glad you appreciate it, but I'm not disappointed in appraisal-based property taxes. I just find it strange that some would argue that Walmart subsidizes taxpayers, when they pay a lower property tax per square foot than a single family home even with exemption, and also rely heavily on government programs for their employees to get by.

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  • 3 months later...

How RUDH.

I will never understand how the neighborhood I lived in over 50 years ago is now so important to be called historical. Looking at most of the past business establishments that still have structures standing things don't seem to have been embellished equally when it was decided that it should all be historical. The Blvd was then and should now be the only zone that is historical, other than the Blvd there wasn't anything out there in the early 1900's. I once remember touring the inside of the large two story a couple blocks down from Hamilton Jr High, that home was truly historical and this was on or around 62 that we toured the house with other friends and family. I love old photos in the early 1900's showing people's yards with nice wrought iron fences and cows in the front yard, if they could look down I'm sure they are laughing at all the bickering. Progress is like a steam roller and everything should be considered temporary, our lives are much shorter than Progress. Priorities are not as important as they once were, we all have too much time to dislike everything around us.

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edit button is missing from my post above? but I wish to expand on my 'cut off your nose to spite your face' comment.

lets look at this from a purely financial standpoint.

Sue and lose. Does the city have to pay attorney fees? time wasted. Low amount of property tax from location, Low amount of property tax from adjoining locations, no sales tax from location while bickering about this. So yeah, city loses more money.

Sue and win. City has to pay attorney fees. Land stays fallow for however long, builders probably will leave it alone for years to come cause they don't want to deal with NIMBYs, so low property taxes from site and surrounding, no sales taxes for however long. No road improvements get done.

Either way, the CITY IS GOING TO LOSE MORE MONEY THAN IF THE LAWSUIT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!! It's so plainly obvious that this is not being done because the people suing are concerned about MY tax dollars, and now you are JACKING WITH MY TAX DOLLARS, out of spite because of your selfishness.

Congrats RUDH you are costing me higher taxes. If I didn't agree with your practices before, I really hate you now. Stay away from my neighborhood, I will be glad to put signs out and perhaps even occupy something as a demonstration showing my anger.

This is what I will be putting on my sign:

Responsible Urban Development Houston Irresponsibly Wastes Tax Dollars!

Edited by samagon
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The best way to oppose the "Responsible Urban Development for Houston" is a protest outside of their headquarters. Unfortunately http://rudh.org/ only indicates a PO box and not an office address

However a WHOIS (a search of the parameters of a website registration) reveals the registrant is "Christopher Athans" - So we know the name of one person responsible, and can send negative feedback/can protest against this person's actions

If the address of an organization is also the owner's residence, would it be acceptable to hold a picketing drive outside of the said residence?

edit button is missing from my post above? but I wish to expand on my 'cut off your nose to spite your face' comment.

lets look at this from a purely financial standpoint.

Sue and lose. Does the city have to pay attorney fees? time wasted. Low amount of property tax from location, Low amount of property tax from adjoining locations, no sales tax from location while bickering about this. So yeah, city loses more money.

Sue and win. City has to pay attorney fees. Land stays fallow for however long, builders probably will leave it alone for years to come cause they don't want to deal with NIMBYs, so low property taxes from site and surrounding, no sales taxes for however long. No road improvements get done.

Either way, the CITY IS GOING TO LOSE MORE MONEY THAN IF THE LAWSUIT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!! It's so plainly obvious that this is not being done because the people suing are concerned about MY tax dollars, and now you are JACKING WITH MY TAX DOLLARS, out of spite because of your selfishness.

Congrats RUDH you are costing me higher taxes. If I didn't agree with your practices before, I really hate you now. Stay away from my neighborhood, I will be glad to put signs out and perhaps even occupy something as a demonstration showing my anger.

This is what I will be putting on my sign:

Responsible Urban Development Houston Irresponsibly Wastes Tax Dollars!

Edited by VicMan
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The best way to oppose the "Responsible Urban Development for Houston" is a protest outside of their headquarters. Unfortunately http://rudh.org/ only indicates a PO box and not an office address

However a WHOIS (a search of the parameters of a website registration) reveals the registrant is "Christopher Athans" - So we know the name of one person responsible, and can send negative feedback/can protest against this person's actions

If the address of an organization is also the owner's residence, would it be acceptable to hold a picketing drive outside of the said residence?

Christopher J. Athans lives in an ugly beige townhome at 1415 Thompson Street (the southwest corner of Thompson & Kohler). It is part of a townhome complex that replaced lower-density development. Its development has created more traffic. Mr. Athans has acted irresponsibly and now attempts to create barriers to those who would do the same. He is a hypocrite. He should be made aware of that fact.

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I would like some legal clarity on this. RUDH has filed a lawsuit to determine if the City of Houston has acted within the law. Shouldn't RUDH be seeking the Attorney General's opinion? Maybe they expect that this is going to be kicked out on appeal and they'll have their day with the Supremes (without Donna Summer, of course). Attorneys of all opinions on the issue, please enlighten us.

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Their lawyer works out of his house, and has been licensed to practice law for less than 3 years. However, he has managed to become proficient in no less than 8 different areas of practice in that short period of time. My first thought when I saw this lawsuit was, 'I wonder if Target is involved?' Now, I'm thinking, 'Probably not.'

I wonder what the over/under is for when this suit gets tossed on summary judgment? Or better yet, standing. RUDH is not an aggrieved party. I think you need to be a city resident at least.

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Redscare: Setting aside your concerns for plaintiff's counsel, can you be more specific on the standing issue?

From RUDH's website, "In the lawsuit, RUDH alleges that the 380 Agreement with Ainbinder Heights LLC does not promote economic development, as required by the Texas Local Government Code."

In order to be aggrieved, RUDH would need to be affected in some way. They are not a taxpayer, a resident, or even a participant in the local economy. RUDH has nothing to lose from the 380 Agreement. Its members might plausibly have a dog in the fight as individuals. The organization as an entity does not; it cannot even potentially suffer a loss from which this lawsuit might make it whole.

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I'll take the easy route first, and give the Wikipedia definition.

Edit: This link doesn't work. Google 'Standing' and click on the Wickipedia entry.

To give a simple example, I cannot claim that the police unlawfully entered your house. I do not own your house, I do not live there, and I have no permission to be there. Therefore, I have no standing to complain, even if they found my drugs in your house once inside. Only you have standing in that example.

The same principle applies in civil cases. Non-residents of the City of Houston cannot complain of unconstitutional taxes for instance, unless they own property in Houston subject to the tax. RUDH is not a Houston resident. It is an organization. It is suing on behalf of unnamed third parties. Further, I question whether the 380 agreement causes any imminent harm to individuals. Taxpayer standing on its own does not necessarily give one the right to sue.

This lawsuit is a steep uphill battle, first to even get the opportunity to be heard, but then to prove that this is an unconstitutional use of 380 agreements, and finally, that 380s are themselves unconstitutional. Since the 380 law is itself a constitutional amendment, I just don't see it happening. The statute also gives wide latitude in what cities may do within a 380 agreement, including loans and grants. They must serve a "public purpose". This loophole is so wide you could drive a truck through it. Almost anything can be construed as a "public purpose", but certainly, improving public roads, sidewalks, and landscaping would qualify. And, despite claims of opponents, I am unaware of a prohibition against the use of 380 money within the private development, as long as it promotes and encourages economic development, and serves a "public purpose. That is the whole gripe against this 380...it promotes and encourages economic development that the oponents do not approve of.

That last paragraph goes to the merits of the case, not standing. Essentially, if they somehow show standing, I think they would then get tossed on summary judgment.

EDIT: Just saw Niche beat me to it, but we both are saying the same thing.

Edited by RedScare
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So, Organization's standing is an issue. What gives an organization standing? Is Plaintiff's other argument valid?

Has the entity been harmed by the unlawful application of a 380 Agreement? This entity has basically no assets or operating revenue, and even if it did, their assets and revenues would be unaffected. The organization has no corporeal existance; it has no psyche; and so claims related to its health or mental anguish won't stick. If it cannot be harmed by the unlawful application of a 380 Agreement, then it has no standing.

Let's say that the organization had an asset on Kohler Street that would have to be taken by eminent domain in order to expand and repave the street. Then the organization has standing to either sue for a restraining order (if the relevant portion of the project is unlawful) or the recovery of the market value of those assets (if the relevant portion of the project is lawful). The purpose of a lawsuit is to make the plantiff whole...not society at large.

RUDH suspects that campaign contributions and procedural breaches in the 380 agreement process are an indication of cronyism. The evidence is largely circumstantial. The two parties that could make a big stink out of this are the City and Ainbinder, but even if there were procedural breaches in spots, one of them would have to be in disagreement with one another before a lawsuit would be filed between them. A citizen that is materially harmed by the City and Ainbinder having unlawfully implemented a 380 Agreement could make a stink about it, but a legal victory on the part of the citizen as to a restraining order would only stall for time so that the t's could be crossed and the i's dotted before everything resumed as planned. (If you can stall until a new mayor gets elected...who knows?)

If there is evidence supporting the accusation of cronyism, then RUDH should file a complaint with the Attorney General's office. That's what they're there for.

***DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY. I AM PROBABLY WRONG. DO NOT ACT UPON WHAT I AM TELLING YOU.***

Edited by TheNiche
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I will never understand how the neighborhood I lived in over 50 years ago is now so important to be called historical. Looking at most of the past business establishments that still have structures standing things don't seem to have been embellished equally when it was decided that it should all be historical. The Blvd was then and should now be the only zone that is historical, other than the Blvd there wasn't anything out there in the early 1900's. I once remember touring the inside of the large two story a couple blocks down from Hamilton Jr High, that home was truly historical and this was on or around 62 that we toured the house with other friends and family. I love old photos in the early 1900's showing people's yards with nice wrought iron fences and cows in the front yard, if they could look down I'm sure they are laughing at all the bickering. Progress is like a steam roller and everything should be considered temporary, our lives are much shorter than Progress. Priorities are not as important as they once were, we all have too much time to dislike everything around us.

Agreed. Heres a post I made on pretty much this same topic in one of the historic distric threads...

That's because the defining "character" of the Heights is a hodge podge of building styles, and even types over about 100 years. The closest person to me who sticks anti-new construction, and "Say Yes" and whatever other new sign is out in their front yard lives in a grocery store (although I dont believe neither they, nor I, actually live in one of the affected historic districts. The neighborhood has changed a lot since I was a kid, mainly due to the influx of money into the neighborhood. Thats the only change I see, the neighborhood is richer, not better, nor worse. Its still a hodgepodge of commercial, even industrial, mixed with old houses, even apartment complexes in the middle of neighbiorhood blocks, only now theres new homes and townhomes added to the mix. I live across the street from a large commercial building that has been transformed into lofts, its been there since I was a kid. My family's business is two houses down and has been there for 30 years. The house next door to me is a big new home (2 on what was once one lot), where previously there was a 950 SF shack that appeared ready to fall at any moment. There's an apartment complex 2 blocks away, theres the people that live in the grocery store. There's new buildings sure, but most of the places are 20-30-50-80 years old. Anybody that moved into the Heights in the past 80 years moved into a hodge podge that has been constantly evolving and been added onto with very little directed development or thought to an overarching character. The "historic district" types want to change the nature of my hood, IMO, not preserve it.

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That's what is so hypocritical about the RUDH group. The leader of the group occupies a townhome in the middle of a neighborhood decimated by homes identical to his, yet now wants to claim that a large retail store proposed to be built on a former industrial site will somehow damage the neighborhood. That neighborhood is gone! They wiped it out. Nothing Walmart or Ainbinder can do will destroy that area anymore than the surrounding homeowners have already done. A street with a 4 story apartment building, parking garage, vacant lots, a multi-story storage facility, railroad and concrete channelized bayou, surrounded by new townhome construction cannot be destroyed by a 'big box' retail store. The fact is, Walmart and the Ainbiner shopping center will fit right into this wasteland, largely created by the RUDH supporters who now complain.

To answer Vic Man, I don't know. I suppose we will see when the parties arrive at court.

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Two more words: Environmental Standing.

Organizational Standing. I just used Sierra Club because it is a famous supreme court case on organizational standing. Organizational standing is not limited to environmental issues. And section 380 is not a constitutional amendment. The constitution was amended after a 380 agreement between Bee Cave, TX and a developer was declared unconstitutional by an Austin court. The plaintiff was Save Our Springs Alliance, a non-profit organization claiming organizational standing on behalf of its members.

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