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City of Houston TIRZ Changes


MidtownCoog

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I can't find the article, but it looks like White is going to dig deep into the TIRZs.

I heard Uptown TIRZ is a goner.

I think this is a good thing. Charles LeBlanc and the Midtown TIRZ handled a lot of money, and all we got were some steet lights and park benches.

Now that they are in place, I think the money could be better spent elsewhere.

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I heard Uptown TIRZ is a goner.

I certainly hope so. The part I never fully understood was how Uptown and Upper Kirby TIRZs were justified. I know that Texas TIRZ laws differ from the rest of the nation in that backers don't have to find any blight in the zone's boundaries, BUT petitioners have to prove that the area "substantially impairs the city's growth, retard the provision of housing or constitute an economic or social liability." Ummm, was this EVER Uptown? I appreciate the chrome and lights as much as anyone else, but can anyone argue that Uptown was somehow failing, or that standard private development wouldn't have happened otherwise? I'm in finance, so I understand about future economic benefit ($$ tax base) outweighing current cost, but if we believe in free market, then only the worst parts of the city should be eligible for TIRZ.

Not sure how this will paste, but according to the City's website, here are the current TIRZs and who initiated them. Notice how long the terms are. I live within the confines of the east downtown TIRZ, and aside from a few streets with nice buildings, I'm hard-pressed to find where the money is going.

TIRZ # NAME TYPE TERM ACRES* ZONING

1 St. George Place Petition 40 years 115 acres Yes

2 Midtown Petition 30 years 443 acres No

3 Main Street/ Market Square City Initiated 30 years 275 acres No

4 Village Enclaves Petition, 20 years 41acres, and 1,035 acres No

5 Memorial-Heights City Initiated 20 years 88 acres No

6 Eastside City Initiated 30 years 751 acres No

7 OST/Almeda City Initiated 30 years 855 acres No

8 Gulfgate City Initiated 30 years 151 acres No

9 South Post Oak Petition 25 years 247 acres No

10 Lake Houston City Initiated 30 years 1,779 acres No

11 Greenspoint City Initiated 30 years 3,000 acres No

12 City Park City Initiated 30 years 108 acres No

13 Old Sixth Ward Petition 30 years 94 acres No

14 Fourth Ward Petition 30 years 120 acres No

15 East Downtown City Initiated 30 years 66 acres No

16 Uptown Petition 30 years 1,010 acres No

17 Memorial City City Initiated 30 years 988 acres No

18 Fifth Ward City Initiated 30 years 241 acres No

19 Upper Kirby City Initiated 15 years 515 acres No

20 Southwest Houston City Initiated 30 years 2,052 acres No

21 Hardy/Near Northside City Initiated 30 years 219.86 acres No

22 Leland Woods City Initiated 30 years 80 acres No

* Whenever possible, acreage does not include public rights-of-way

BTW, here is Uptown's write-up...

ABOUT UPTOWN HOUSTONUptown Houston is the nation

Edited by travelguy_73
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Uptown to me represents a proper TIRZ. They used the money for lots of projects besides beautification projects.

They are in planning phases of widening San Felipe from the loop to sage rd.

The TIRZ is upgrading the water lines in the area because of increased demain. TIRZ can only primarily be used to upgrade infrastructure to allow development to move forward or to encourage development. They also can be used for tax abatements for projects that will increase the tax base such at the Houston Pavilons project.

I agree some are mismanaged (ie Midtown).

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I am so happy that our Mayor, Bill White, is taking action on the TIRZ issue. I love the way he takes his time gathers all of the facts, gets a plan in place and then starts doing something. He is very proactive and is tying this in with affordable housing/HPD and getting TIRZ's back on track where they were meant to be used for.

My take on Midtown is that it has been a pretty effective TIRZ. Midtown was not a good neighborhood 10 years ago. It has come along way and the pioneering developers like Post, Oakwood, and Camden would have never built here with out the tax reimbursement. However, 30 years is a long time for a TIRZ to be in place. I would like to see some changes made to the way TIRZ and Management District assesments are spent. Usually upwards of 40% to 75% of thier budget is spent on administrative costs and not money that is put back into the neighborhood.

I think the TIRZ should be used a tool to redevelop a blighted or neglected inner-city neighborhood. The TIRZ and Management District are very powerful tools when used effectively. The TIRZ's that are set up in Memorial City, Sharpstown, Upper Kirby, and Uptown are a joke and are basically a bunch of consultants and attorneys stealing money from the city. These districts were strong armed through Lee Brown's administration and now Bill White is trying to clean up another Post Brown SNAFU.

Travelguy mentioned the East Downtown TIRZ. The boundries are roughly Chartres to the West, Dowling to the East, St. Joseph to the South and the Ballpark Parking lots to the North. The only real progress in this area is the Ballpark Lofts and The Stanford Lofts. Very little has been done and the money is just stolen every year by the consultants. The acutal management district in the area is worse, they've done virtually nothing for 3 years and it looks like they will not be able to get another service plan in place so the district will just desolve. But where did the $600k go over the last 3 years. It's been a joke to sit back and watch this happen in a neighborhood that is a perfect example of a blighted area that needs the TIRZ and with its proximity to Downtown has a lot of potential.

Thats by rant for the month. Thanks for listening.

Dream

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If only there had been some restrictions placed on the 6th Ward TIRZ. If part of the deal had included a strong preservation ordinance, it would have been a win-win situation.

Instead, we have such vermin as Maria Isabel destoying an historic neighborhood. The 6th Ward has suffered more than benefitted by its TIRZ.

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Travelguy mentioned the East Downtown TIRZ. The boundries are roughly Chartres to the West, Dowling to the East, St. Joseph to the South and the Ballpark Parking lots to the North. The only real progress in this area is the Ballpark Lofts and The Stanford Lofts. Very little has been done and the money is just stolen every year by the consultants. The acutal management district in the area is worse, they've done virtually nothing for 3 years and it looks like they will not be able to get another service plan in place so the district will just desolve. But where did the $600k go over the last 3 years. It's been a joke to sit back and watch this happen in a neighborhood that is a perfect example of a blighted area that needs the TIRZ and with its proximity to Downtown has a lot of potential.

Thats by rant for the month. Thanks for listening.

Dream

Good points on the east downtown TIRZ. I don't think I even really knew there was a TIRZ based on the way it looks now, which is pretty much the same way it looked 5 years ago. I agree most TIRZ's probably have money wasted, but at the very least you would think the signs would have been changed and someone would have spent some money coming up with dumb nicknames for the area (which already does have two , east downtown and warehouse district). Especially strange is if you look at almost all the builders there (Perry, In Town, Waterhill, Juliet), they have all built just outside of the TIRZ zone. Don't know how the TIRZ affects the builders, but just strange to see them almost purposely not building in that zone mentioned above.

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Good points on the east downtown TIRZ. I don't think I even really knew there was a TIRZ based on the way it looks now, which is pretty much the same way it looked 5 years ago. I agree most TIRZ's probably have money wasted, but at the very least you would think the signs would have been changed and someone would have spent some money coming up with dumb nicknames for the area (which already does have two , east downtown and warehouse district). Especially strange is if you look at almost all the builders there (Perry, In Town, Waterhill, Juliet), they have all built just outside of the TIRZ zone. Don't know how the TIRZ affects the builders, but just strange to see them almost purposely not building in that zone mentioned above.

I am just learning about this TRIZ stuff - but to me, for Public works elements it sounds like a crock of crap to me. Why should the TRIZ budget have anything to do with the ability to maintain the roads. I read about a project that is to widen San Filepe ....well right now they are working on an "Improvement" project from Yorktown to Chimney Rock. What I find disheartening about the project is that literally 2 blocks toward the loop from there the same road is settling like crazy. There are sections that have settled 6-inches, and to see that right next to an improvement project makes me shake my head.

Overall, to me the biggest issue I have with the TRIZ's is that they don't include zoning. I would think that if there is a special budget set up, you would include zoning to help create a balance of use. Overall, I am not against having consultants perform studies in areas - but only to provide an actual impact. I think a lot can be learned from looking at other communities. However, a study should be differentiated from being tied down in legal terms and conditions.

For example, a good use of tax payer money was to higher a consultant to study the red light running and provide a recommendation that indicates red light running could be reduced by upwards of 80% if they were to increase the length of a yellow light by 2-seconds. A bad use of tax payer money is to completely ignore the recommendations and just build more roads. What good are more roads if the signal timing is messed up.

Anyway - that is off topic. In a city that barely has enough money to maintain basic public services - let me rephrase that. Considering the city has a budget of about $4.2-Billion, and a General Budget of over $3.0-Billion, one would think the services would be a little stronger. To put it into perspective - Houston has a higher per capita tax than the city of Chicago. But to offset that it is a lot bigger geographically - but there is also tons of unmaintained vacant land...so it offsets I guess.

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The TIRZ for public works projects help is getting things done faster. The water line along post oak was not a high priority for the city. So the increase in property tax to the TIRZ members in the Uptown area will be used to pay for the upgrades.

The TIRZ is used where business leaders or wanting improvements that the city will not get around too. The projects are financed over time (hence 30 years of existence).

Could it be abused? Sure. Has it? Probably.

Also, the TIRZ can't enforce any type of zoning since that will trample on the jurisdiction of the planning commission. Also, the people of Houston have to vote to enact zoning. Everytime its been brought up has been shot down.

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  • 3 months later...
The TIRZ for public works projects help is getting things done faster. The water line along post oak was not a high priority for the city. So the increase in property tax to the TIRZ members in the Uptown area will be used to pay for the upgrades.

The TIRZ is used where business leaders or wanting improvements that the city will not get around too. The projects are financed over time (hence 30 years of existence).

Could it be abused? Sure. Has it? Probably.

Also, the TIRZ can't enforce any type of zoning since that will trample on the jurisdiction of the planning commission. Also, the people of Houston have to vote to enact zoning. Everytime its been brought up has been shot down.

Casimiro got his share of TRIZ money in 2003 and ask for nearly a quarter of a million 2 weeks ago at the agenda metting.The Mayor pulled the item # 30, way to go Mayor White.

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  • The title was changed to City of Houston TIRZ Changes

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