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From ND:

...we just received a notice of Variance Request for Parking.  This is related to development of the property next to Maryam cafe.  It is a 3 story building (2.5 technically).  Per regulations, per the notice the building would need 41 parking spaces, they are requesting off-site variance for this, and will be offering 4 parking spaces on the property.

 

Planning commission meeting:

Thursday, August 16 @ 2:30

City Annex Building 900 Bagby Street.

 

Street parking is a concern since the variance lists available parking near the SandLot. 

 

Has as anyone seen designs or info on this parcel?

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This is why we can't have nice things.

 

This is part of a walkable shopping district, with zero-setback storefronts covering the entire blockface. Providing ANY parking onsite disrupts the streetscape. This entire district should be parking-exempt so that this site can be re-developed in the same style as its neighbors.

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43 minutes ago, Angostura said:

This is why we can't have nice things.

 

This is part of a walkable shopping district, with zero-setback storefronts covering the entire blockface. Providing ANY parking onsite disrupts the streetscape. This entire district should be parking-exempt so that this site can be re-developed in the same style as its neighbors.

 

Absolutely agree. The city should be doing everything in its power to preserve this streetscape, which is an extreme rarity in Houston. I'm cautiously optimistic since the Planning Commission has been getting a little more progressive each year, and the Walkable Places Committee is dedicated to looking into these ordinance issues.

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So I know the people that own the shop. I don't eat out much because I'm a poor adjunct professor, but I love it there. 

What y'all mind find interesting, is that the people who run Maryam's have been planning to build this for a while. They've mentioned the multi-floor building. A bigger kitchen space. They also, at one point, mentioned having underground parking, but this seemed like enumerating things that would be nice to have. Boy I hope they get the off with the streetfront parking. They have a bunch of spots about two hundred feet west down the street. 

Edited by EllenOlenska
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  • 2 weeks later...

Both the setback variance and off-street parking variance are on this week's agenda. 

 

The proposed building is a 3-story building, with the 1st story set back 6-ft from the building line (the 2nd story would overhang), and the 3rd story being about half patio. Total retail square footage is right around 10k.

 

Ch 26 would require 41 off-street spaces, but the site will only include 4. 

 

There are a lot of anti-urbanist requirements in our development rules, including a minimum width of unrestricted reserve (60-ft), front setbacks, and on-site off-street parking, that must be waived in order for this building to fit in with the rest of its neighbors. This is a real test of the planning commission's commitment to walkability and urbanism. Interesting to see if they will continue to outlaw re-creating the most beloved parts of the city.

 

 

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This is really just a grandfathering issue.  There was a building there long ago.  More recently, it was a junk dealer/Architecture antiques.  Other spots have changed use and not had to provide additional parking.  This is really just a change in use for all practical purposes.

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Deferred.

 

One speaker (the dentist across the alley) was very upset that there might be pedestrians in the alley, and that they would probably get run over. Also delivery trucks might make it harder to access the parking spaces behind her building.

 

At least one commissioner was surprised at the size of the ask on the parking variance (4 vs 41). This is by no means a done deal, and the planning commission is fully capable of screwing this one up by requiring suburban-style parking rules on a walkable commercial street.

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21 hours ago, s3mh said:

This is really just a grandfathering issue.  There was a building there long ago.  More recently, it was a junk dealer/Architecture antiques.  Other spots have changed use and not had to provide additional parking.  This is really just a change in use for all practical purposes.

 

The proposed construction would most certainly trigger Ch 26 parking requirements. When it was just a junk dealer, he didn't a building or occupancy permit, since there was no structure. 

 

There IS a clause for reconstruction of a building damaged by fire, which is the reason this site is vacant, but (a) that fire was over 20 years ago, (b) they're not rebuilding to the exact previous configuration, and (c) the rebuild cost must be less than 75% of the replacement cost of the whole building, which, since they ARE replacing the whole building, is unlikely to be the case.

 

This project is entirely dependent on the planning commission issuing a variance, since it's currently illegal to build places like 19th St outside downtown.

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  • 2 weeks later...

More detail on this week's planning commission agenda.

 

The retail is mostly on 2 stories, with each story divided into 4 spaces, each around 1100-1200 sf, with a corridor along the western wall of the buiding. The third floor is a small (748 sf) retail space in the NW corner of the building, with the rest of the 3rd floor space left as an open-air patio, accessible, it appears, only through the retail space. So it's closer to 2-1/8 stories than 2-1/2.

 

The 1st floor facade will be set back 8-ft from the property line, with the 2nd floor over-hanging up to the front property line, supported by brick columns. The facade is brick and divided-light glass.

 

Details on the parking variance are largely unchanged.

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Deferred two more weeks to allow the project to seek some number of off-site parking spaces, and potentially include an awning.

 

The mini space on the 3rd floor has been removed, so this is now just two floors.

 

Three people spoke against the parking variance, two nearby homeowners to say "but muh parking", and the owner of the hospital at 20th and Ashland rose to say "don't park in my lot". One person spoke in support, saying that if you provide a ton of parking, you'll get a ton of cars.

 

The plans included two street trees in containers on the sidewalk at the direction of staff, which at least one commissioner object to as it would result in a sidewalk obstruction.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back on the agenda for Thursday. 

 

No change in the parking variance (one assumes they weren't successful in leasing dedicated spots). The container trees are gone, and an awning (encroaching into the RoW, similar to its neighbors) has been added, both at the request of commissioners.

 

 

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17 hours ago, EllenOlenska said:

I wondering if you've seen the same thing I've seen, Angostura. It's a large looming building with a beaux-arts style facade and something very like a tempietto. 

 

Then, no, I haven't seen the same thing. The rendering in the variance request is not what anyone would describe as beaux-arts. More early 20th century industrial. It's pretty similar to the building immediately to the west, just without the glass-brick center column.

w19th.png

w19th2.png

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15 hours ago, Evil Developer said:

 

holy poop!  i really thought they were going to screw this one up!

 

I still think the 5-ft setback on the ground floor is dumb (2nd floor is zero), but it could have been a lot worse. That said, PC said no F&B uses without an additional parking variance.

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