Ashby Highrise Agreement Is Final, Mayor Says

Neighborhood residents hoping to weigh in on the details of the proposed settlement announced 2 weeks ago in the lawsuit filed against the city of Houston by the developers of the proposed Ashby Highrise were greeted at last night’s meeting with Mayor Parker with news that the agreement had already been finalized. The settlement requires the city to approve and permit a 21-story mixed-use tower at 1717 Bissonnet St., as long as the predicted traffic it generates meets a few prescribed limits. The agreement also puts a few restrictions on traffic flows in and out of the building on separate driveways facing Bissonnet and Ashby St., and requires developers to build an 8-ft. fence and camouflage the 5-story parking garage behind it with greenery where the building backs up against homes on its south and east sides. Also included: some lighting and noise-mitigation requirements, and a free morning and afternoon weekday shuttle service for the project’s future residents to and from the Med Center.


Not included in the settlement: Any of the buffering restrictions on tall buildings backing up to residences that were added to the city’s development ordinance at the end of last year. Under those new provisions, a highrise on the Ashby site (currently home to the Maryland Manor Apartments) would have been required to step back 30 ft. from residential-side property lines and include a landscaped buffer 10 ft. wide. That would have shaved off portions of the parking garage and maybe one of the townhouses facing Ashby (at right in the drawing above) but it wouldn’t have affected the size of the tower.

Drawing of Ashby St. Elevation: Buckhead Investment Partners

82 Comment

  • Further evidence that 2012 prophesies were right on.

    Now, please take down those signs.
    No more whining.

  • I’m looking forward to it. It’s not the end of the world. I bet every home in Southampton will double in the next 10 years regardless.

  • In memorium of the fugly bumble bee colored signs with anthropomorphic structures, the neighborhood should go in on a sculpted monument of the ‘Tower of Traffic’. Maybe install it in the sculpture garden at Glassell to commemorate a tradition of noble blue-blooded causes.

  • Wow….. I am thrilled to hear this news…I can’t wait to see it rise out of the ground..such a picture perfect location…..what great views from the penthouse….mmmm love it

  • Bill,

    home in southhampton will double in 10 years
    Do you believe the houses will asexually reproduce or will the Tudors and moderns hump the Victorians to create lithe little newcharlestorleans?

  • well, that’s one way to guarantee not being elected to a third term

  • The snarky neopopulist schadenfreude may be a bit premature. Having the legal right to build something doesn’t make it the right thing to do and it would be naive to think that this is the end of it. My guess is that real business heat is going to come down on anyone thinking about participating in that project, on whatever level. Moreover, nothing rattles a local politico like looking at the sort of affluent, unified, hostile crowd that showed up last night, so I suspect that the City isn’t going to be in a helpful mood during construction. Think about that tiny little lot and trying to stage all of that construction activity on two-lane Bissonnet without dispensations from the City and you get the picture. And if they’re hoping to do it in the middle of the night in that neighborhood, look up nuisance and think again. Getting involved in this life’s-too-short fiasco looks to me like a great way to buy some really expensive trouble.

  • I don’t think a few disgruntled rich people will keep the Mayor from another term.

  • Best comment – TheNiche!!

  • So are people finally going to quit pretending that this was some class-based fight featuring spawn of Belzebub wealthy homeowners when the building going up will replace a moderately-priced complex with another enclave for the financially advantaged? The two things that were the most annoying about the whole argument were 1) the apparent impression that Bissonnet was a rubber street that could magically expand to fit the vision of the developers’ renderings and 2) the project was to be inhabited by a species of wealthy persons somehow imbued with virtues making him/her superior to the wealthy persons already living in the area.

    Ans sorry, the eyesore fallback doesn’t work here. Maryland Manor is charming and well-kept. Too bad the developers couldn’t get the empty corner of Montrose & Marshall after the Riparian fell through.

  • Developers and their accolytes better watch what they wish for. While there were dozens of less obtrusive potential sites for this highrise, the developers chose to stick it right in the middle of a residential area in order to capitalize off of the single family residential neighborhood atmosphere that they were simultaneously harming. The short term result is that the developers get to build their highrise. The long term result is that several hundred of Houston’s wealthiest and best connected residents are now more likely to support zoning and candidates who are for zoning.
    Merciless teardowns in the Heights brought a more restrictive historic ordinance, Ashby highrise gave birth to the buffering ordinance and the Walmart 380 brought a lawsuit challenging whether developers can get 380 agreements without showing any need for them. The more developers exploit their neighbors, the more the neighborhood feels empowered to take action.

  • Rise high, Ashby! Maybe property values surrounding this delightful development will fall low enough for me to finally buy into this exclusive enclave ;)

  • We DM II home owners get to enjoy the neighboring highrise going up near the Walgreens by the Galleria. It is wonderful! Hammering, welding, and other loud noises and whistles from sun up to sundown Monday through Saturday. I love the sounds of the city! And I look forward to completion. I will use my birding binoculars no longer for spotting migrating Goldfinches but will peer into lives of the high rise urbanites who will similarly be peering down on me.

  • Is there anything funnier than watching rich people whine when they don’t get their way? This is the ultimate of all white people problems. They must be wondering how Afton Oak beat MetroRail but they can’t win this. Isn’t their money just as good?

  • The Buckhead Investment Partners will never eat lunch in this town again.

  • If you compared cost per unit based off the sales price to another apartment development, would that give us an idea if this is the only option the developer had? What was the life span of the current units anyway? A change was needed eventually, no?

  • Oh well. I guess this means we can’t get it built on that Westheimer and Montrose lot any more.

  • I usually don’t support NIMBYs but I did in this case. Still find it funny that the two Buckhead jerks actually reside in West University Place; a deed restricted city with STRICT building codes. Maybe, in good faith, they should move next door since they don’t think it’ll be an issue for the immediate neighbors… yeah, right.

  • From Bill:
    The snarky neopopulist schadenfreude may be a bit premature. Having the legal right to build something doesn’t make it the right thing to do and it would be naive to think that this is the end of it…Moreover, nothing rattles a local politico like looking at the sort of affluent, unified, hostile crowd that showed up last night, so I suspect that the City isn’t going to be in a helpful mood during construction.

    The city has already been sued once. I don’t think Annise Parker is going to allow the city to be sued twice. Bill White started this fiasco. Annise Parker ended it. So, well, she finally did something right. Maybe she finally drove around the neighborhood. Which isn’t “single-family” as some would like to have others believe. Even with zoning, well, there is always going to be a hihrise behind someone, beside sopmone or across the street from someone. As people in Los Angeles found out when land ran out and people began to build their mansions in the sky. So it’s important to take alook at what’s behind, beside and across the street from the property you’re about to buy. And to check with a title company to find out what can and cannot be built there. Which some in Boulevard Oaks and Southampton apparently didn’t bother to do. Preferring to just have a “We are rich and important and very pretentious and spoiled to boot and believe your laws and ordinances do not apply to us” temper tantrum if someone dared to attempt to build something they didn’t like. They may be rich, definitely are self-important and very pretentious, but unfortunately they found out that laws and ordinances do indeed apply to them the way they apply to everyone else. If property values fall, it won’t be because of the hirise.

  • I can’t feel sorry for them. That level of exceptionalist thinking is absolutely insane.

  • Suggest the residents in the immediate area protest their tax bills this year. No one’s going to want to buy a house in the shade of the Ashby high rise, or any high rise at previous prices.

  • Looks to me like it must take a special kind of pathological stubbornness to go to these lengths to inflict something this wrongheaded on the neighborhoods they grew up in, on people they know and with whom they have all sorts of relationships, and, I suspect, to burden their own families with their lousy decisions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s legally defensible, it’s still shameful.

  • @ Hellsing: 1) My observation regarding class has to do with the level of organization and expense that the neighborhood has engaged in. Let’s be realistic; a lesser neighborhood could not have gotten this far and the City wouldn’t have stuck its neck out as far as it has. 2) The impact to traffic congestion will be negligible. 3) The site in Montrose for the Riparian was and is too damned small, about one eigth the size of the Ashby site. It is not a good highrise site. 4) I walk past Maryland Manor frequently. Honest to goodness, that place smells bad and is unpleasant to look at compared to most of the rest of what’s in the neighborhood. The highrise will definitely look better and will have ground-level retail as an amenity that everyone can enjoy.

  • Why was everyone protesting this development anyway? Ashby High Rise looks great!!!!! Silly people….

  • Bring it on!!!! Better late than never.!!!

  • From Darby Mom:

    Suggest the residents in the immediate area protest their tax bills this year. No one’s going to want to buy a house in the shade of the Ashby high rise, or any high rise at previous prices.


    I’m curious. Just how many homes do you think will be in the shade of a slender 21 story building? Also curious to know whether you believe these homes will be permanently in the shade, or if you realize that the shade moves as the sun crosses the sky. But, I completely agree that both homeowners should protest…if they think it matters.

  • @DarbyMom,
    I’m sure the biggest whiners about Ashby – those people who thought the rules don’t apply to them – already protest their tax bills on an annual basis.

    After all, they are special. Why should they pay taxes on the full market value of the house? Just pay a lawyer to get the assessed value much lower.

  • I’ve noticed over the years that news on this project predictably triggers these odd ad hominem attacks on people who live in those neighborhoods–for no apparent reason other than they live in nice houses. I had thought that self-loathing Bolshevism had been pretty much discredited some time ago, but there are apparently pockets of resistance.

  • What I like are the people that consistently whine about how the residents of the neighborhood don’t respect the law and the “rights” of the developer and then have the nerve to suggest that the same residents not post signs on their private property! Hypocrites!

  • If you want to find rich folk who think the rules do not apply to them, why leave out the developers? They tried to get tens of millions out of the city in court because they believed that they should have been permitted for a larger development. If that was such a slam dunk case, why did they settle for an even smaller development than the one that did get permitted with a bunch of additional restrictions?

  • My daughters go to Poe, and that means I drive by the Ashby site every day. That road is already a disaster and the school is going to have to rezone to to absorb the other kids. I moved to my home to be zoned to Poe and am probably going to be rezoned elsewhere.

    Ashby isn’t bringing me any benefits and only headaches. But I guess that must be my fault for daring to want my kids to go to a good school.

  • @denise – I loved my years at Poe and still go to the fall festival. :)

    @Nitche – “My observation regarding class has to do with the level of organization and expense that the neighborhood has engaged in.”

    Don’t act like the morons who chide me for being involved in animal rescue because I “should spend my time & money on kids”. Bully for them if that’s what they want to do with THEIR time and THEIR money. If they turn out in enough numbers for someone to pay attention, great! I applaud their effort.

    And I do have to ask: what smell? Where? I didn’t notice anything when I visited a friend on New Year’s Day – perhaps there has been a murder??

    As for the traffic, I think I’ll let denise’s post speak on that issue. Getting a child to school on time during the morning rush hour is a little different from wandering up a sidewalk in one’s spare time.

  • It MIGHT not be so awful once it’s there. Maybe. But one to two years of construction traffic, noise, and dust is going to be really tough in that area. Wait until that steel starts being delivered.

  • marmer, I saw a good question on Nancy Sarnoff’s blog as to which narrow two-lane street are the giant construction trucks going to “shimmy up”? (love the mental picture) We have Hazard, Bissonnet & Ashby to choose from. The 4th street is South Blvd, and residents’ back yards are right against the site.

    I predict many future requests for speed bumps. Lots of nice high chassis-bustin’ speed bumps. After the future residents get a taste of Bissonnet during rush hour, the surrounding neighborhood is going to become a raceway as late commuters desparately try to get to Montrose or to Richmond or Kirby and freeway access.

  • The City doesn’t do speed humps any more.

  • Change the ordinances or shut up.

    They played by the rules.

    Now, PLEASE remove those signs.

    They are an unattractive nuisance; a few could cause distracted drivers who might suddenly fly off the street and plow through the heart of Southampton! It could happen!

  • @37

    Apparently they do, but slowly.

    Ch. 13’s Deborah Wrigley did a piece last night on Glenloch St. in Glenbrook Valley and the speeding drivers who race through their neighborhood every day. On one side of Belfort, Glenloch has the bumps but across Belfort, the other side of Glenloch does not.

    Residents petitioned the city for speed bumps and were told that the problem was funding according to neighborhood homeowner and realtor Robert Searcy.

    Then, Alvin Wright of Public Works told the reporter that there were other neighborhoods in the city that were farther along the process, thus putting Glenbrook Valley and Glenloch Dr. about 2 years out for the bumps/humps.

    This will be an interesting situation to follow.

  • @ Art: You complain that folks like me are attacking the residents of this neighborhood, however I am a resident of the neighborhood in question. And yes, the landed gentry around here actually are spearheading the issue, throwing their weight around. If that’s classist, then so be it. It’s the truth.

    @ Optimist: You imply that people that complain about yard signs would prefer that yard signs be regulated out of existance. That is not the case. I complain because I think that they are ugly, but (just like the Ashby highrise) ugly yard signs are not subject to restrictive covenants. I can support their right to exist and still dislike them AT THE SAME TIME.

    @ Denise: Seriously, how many children do you think are going to live in a highrise that will attend public school? Now consider, how many people lease at Maryland Manor to get their kids into Poe? The impact is probably a wash. And…if not, then that would be more kids that can walk to school rather than having to be dropped off. It could be a net benefit to you (especially for the couple years that it’s under construction).

    @ Hellsing: If you have to ask whether there might’ve been a murder at Maryland Manor then my point is more than proven. It has a smell. I can attest to it.


    An interesting reflection on the “history” involved in this fiasco. And an interesting reflection on the duplicity, and hypocrisy, of the “movers and shakers” who pull strings for and against developers when it suits their own “personal” interests. As for the comments made by the “movers and shakers” they sound like “sore losers” but indicative of more “dramarama” to come. Again, some believe laws and ordinances, and now legal settlements, do not apply to them. No doubt at some point the developers will sue “Stop Ashby” and cost the homeowners a pretty penny. Better them than the taxpayers.

  • I am delighted you don’t like the sign in my yard. In your honor I am going to put up six more!

    All the best!

  • Sorry, Nitche, my bad – I forgot to put the big “SARCASM AHEAD!!!” warning statement before my question. Now, so that I may let my friend know so that she, in turn, may request investigation/maintenance/whatever, could you be so courteous as to say what kind of smell and approximately where? As of last night, she said there was nothing by the mailboxes.

  • More inexplicable pro-Ashby comments from people who a) don’t live in the neighborhood; b) claim to live in the neighborhood but more than likely spout that for every neighborhood they’d like to inflict their development “opinion” upon; c) claim an understanding of traffic impacts and/or other urban planning or engineering expertise without the actual education and stamp; d) moan about the physical/visual intrusion of a private yard sign without recognizing the rich, rich irony. An ounce of these “opinions” is worth a pound of manure.

    The real people who pay the really high taxes on their really expensive properties, that invested in this neighborhood and created the livable conditions that made it ripe for a developer to parasitically exploit those very conditions, will now back more concrete policy changes. Houston’s urban demographics have changed completely. Thanks to these predatory development practices, it looks like 1994 narrow defeat of zoning 53-47 won’t stand.

  • @Denise – so you’re one of the people who clog up the neighborhood around Poe twice a day so you can ferry your childerns to and fro? Then you’re part of the traffic problem. Get a bike or walk them over.

  • Don’t have a dog in this fight, only became interested when I drove through the neighborhood and saw the 7 million signs to stop the highrise. I have to come down on the side of the “you chose to live in an area with no zoning.” Everyone who lives in this area knew this could happen, and probably many in this area championed the freedom of “no zoning” until it had the chance of affecting them. I’m sure anyone interested in selling will find many potential suiters and can transplant to the suburbs where like minded “not in my backyard” folks live happy ordinary lives in happy ordinary neighborhoods, but I’m pretty sure most will not. We all embrace progress and difference when we decide to live in urban areas.

  • @Bill from comment #8. You state “And if they’re hoping to do it in the middle of the night in that neighborhood, look up nuisance and think again.”. I live feet from where the Ainbinder-wal-mart construction is taking place. Their construction crews have violated city code by consistently starting at 6 am. Last week they began construction with bright spotlights at 4 am. I called HPD as I have had to do so many times in the past few weeks. They finally issued them a ticket for the 4 am start time, but Ainbinder’s construction continued that morning and into the day. I know West U has some different ordinances, but if they start at midnight or 4 am don’t count on them stopping on the count of a noise citation. Then again, maybe the construction crew will be more cognizant of the surrounding environment and act socially responsible, as opposed to the behavior of the Ainbinder-wal-mart development.

  • The urge to defend one’s home/territory against a real or perceived threat goes back to cave dwellers and is as primal an instinct as the need for foor or sex. Nowadays, we try to do so through legal channels. The simplest way here was to try and find prohibitive loopholes to prevent construction. Regardless of one’s opinion, the homeowners tried with gathering in number, peaceful assembly, display of protests on private property and utilizing their own time/resources for the effort. Can/will they pool those resources and make the developers an offer? Possibly. Set up an LLC, maybe – that’s not my expertise. How many people would be landlords then – two, three hundred? That contract is going to make the US tax code light reading. It’s going to be fun finding an insurance carrier willing to write coverage for a property with hundreds of owners. Donations and election of a board to be the property owners? That’s a possibility.

    When they say the fight is not over yet, I believe them. Refer to my first sentence. Regardless of the eventual outcome, the homeowners have joined together in an effort with their neighbors and set an example for their children and grandchildren as to HOW standing against something they feel is wrong should be done. Nobody’s windows were broken or person threatened that I have heard. Life isn’t for funsies and not every participant goes home with a trophy or gold star. In the respect of a valuable lesson, they’ve already won hands down.

    Now speaking of kids, I’m going to get my popcorn. Considering some of the “kids/dogs on restaurant patios” salvos, implying that a mother doesn’t have the right to transport her child safely to school should get pretty good.

  • @ TexasSpiral, regarding: b) I just moved into the neigbhorhood recently. The possibility of construction nearby did not adversely affect my decision. c) The credentialed traffic engineers also did not expect any catastrophic impacts. d) The irony is egg on your face, not mine; I’m not the one seeking government intervention.

    @ Hellsing: I think that it might be laundry-related stank, or something like that. Lots of older complexes have it, but this one was especially memorable for some reason.

  • Has anyone seen the settlement? Can anyone provide a link? Thanks!

  • the homeowners tried with gathering in number, peaceful assembly, display of protests on private property and utilizing their own time/resources for the effort.
    Haven’t you heard? One gives up their right to protest when they acquire wealth. Apparently.

  • @C3…#47

    Put the pressure on your elected councilperson. Call him, email him, get your neighbors to do the same.

  • @TheNiche. I don’t believe that TexasSpiral stated or even implied that the traffic impact of the development would be “catastrophic”.

    The certified engineer that prepared the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) was employed and paid for by the private developer. That is what we call a conflict on interest. If you take the TIA for its face value, then you could have a very promising career with the City of Houston. They really like to place form over substance.


    I have emailed and called my council representative, the mayor and PWE. I have even caught the construction crews operating without permits multiple times and the city refused to issue them a citation. Based on my interactions with the elected officials, my best guess at this point is that some form of external motivation has yielded a “free pass” for the developer and construction crews.

  • @ C3: I’d like for you NIMBYs to get your own traffic study. That way, when you do, I can ignore its contents and tell you where you can stick it. How would you like them apples?

    It is unreasonable to expect that anyone could overcome TexasSpiral’s artificial requirement and yours at the same time. Going by that logic, y’all shouldn’t whine and I shouldn’t retort. There couldn’t be a productive conversation.

  • Sarnoff has the settlement agreement up (too slow, Gus):

    The shuttle to the Med Center appears to be a mitigation measure to get the traffic numbers to work for the traffic engineers.

  • Unsubstantiated claims of recent Southhampton “residency” does not equal a financial investment in actual property. Productive conversations also don’t generally include complaints about neighborhod impacts on a hyper-sensitive olfactory organ.
    @C3: You can’t expect a marginally intelligent bit player to understand what you’re saying. Every single development in the City of Houston needs a shovel-load of their opinion to grow – or so they think.

  • I read the settlement but I don’t get it.

    I’d rather have $40M than have to buy a van and some bikes.

    Why did the Ashby people settle?

  • @ Blake: I don’t live in Southampton proper, but I do live within a few minutes’ walking distance. Jeez, next thing I know, y’all will be asking that I scan and link to a notarized document with my personal letterhead on it, citing my professional qualifications, proof of residency, and an estimate of net worth. I don’t understand why I’m subject to so much personal scrutiny just for expressing my opinion on a local blog. Oh wait, yes I do…it’s because I’m winning!

    And by the way, I think that today’s NIMBY responses validate my earlier comments regarding the blue-bloodedness of this movement. I am a renter, I am a neighbor, I am a co-constituent, and I am a human being. I’m going to voice my opinion and you can take it or leave it. But when you respond to it, you validate that I am relevant. Don’t forget that.

  • @Niche: you are entitled to your opinion. But as a mere renter who just recently moved to the neighborhood and can move out on 30 days notice every year, your opinion, compared to people who have lived in the neighborhood for years and have made a substantial investment of the financial rewards of their hard work and talent in their homes, is not very relevant.

    @Jules: I agree. It is like getting rear ended and agreeing to pay to fix the other guy’s car in the settlement. I think the City actually had a strong case but was risk averse because of the current budget situation. So, instead of going to trial, they offerred the developers a way out. The community will be pissed, but the builders, engineers, and developers will be happy. And they tend to write the big checks for the Mayor’s race.

  • Sorry, but this development can be summed up by this; the scale is totally wrong for the neighborhood.

    One of the nicest things about a city is discovering pockets of beauty. Well, we’re about to allow one of Houston’s last remaining undisturbed pockets to get forever altered.

  • From TheNiche:

    And by the way, I think that today’s NIMBY responses validate my earlier comments regarding the blue-bloodedness of this movement. I am a renter, I am a neighbor, I am a co-constituent, and I am a human being.


    Ah. But if you rent, you don’t matter. Only the “landed pretentious ones” matter. Well, the ones who signed the petition and stuck the tacky yellow signs, and the yellow and red banners, in their yards and on their fences and walls matter. You are, in the words of the “co-chair” who is the only one apparently who can talk and who appears to suffer from not only Southampton Syndrome but Shelia Jackson Lee Syndrome, part of the problem that the hirise will now add to. The “transient” population. I suspect he did not mean “transient” in a very nice way. I suspect he does not like the “transients” in the area. Perhaps he should have drive around and done some “due diligence” as to the reality of the “wrong side of the street” along Ashby. He might have had a slight clue as to what possibly might “loom” ahead, and overhead, when he bought his Southampton estate. Me, I like being a “transient.” Makes it easier to escape when the air becomes too “rarified.” As in too pretentious. I would grab some popcorn for the upcoming sequel. As he himself put it at the meeting “It ain’t over.” Trust me. Knowing him, it ain’t.

  • At first, Ashby Highrise will be exclusive, allowing only the high credit-worthy peeps to sign leases and purchase condos (wise investment). Over time, the building will be offloaded, the assets milked for residual capital, and it’ll become an apartment building. Renters won’t invest and you’ll see a downshift of credit quality and shorter leases. Later re-christened as Shabby Highrise. In the meantime, the mayor and councilors will move on, not having to cross the street near this behemoth. And voila, an enclave is destroyed.

  • @ Old School: The only differences between owning and renting are some words on paper signifying legal responsibilities, financial risks and obligations, and not a damned thing more. Home is where you live, not how you finance it. I like MY neighborhood, and I suspect that I’ll like it even better with the Ashby highrise.

    Incidentally, I did a walk-by of Maryland Manor this evening. It’s the dumpster that’s up along the sidewalk, that’s what smells bad. And aside from the leasing office, the whole property is just really ugly.

    @ doofus: Had you ever considered that perhaps the scale of the neighborhood is wrong for the City?

  • @doofus it was inevitable

  • I’d prefer to hear the opinions of people who actually own property in Southhampton. People (winners?) that endlessly voice opinions regarding the rights of property owners, while owning zero properties, add no value, just lots of irony. They’re clearly not motivated by anything other than their own ego. Having your irrelevance pointed out isn’t validation, it’s merely pointing out a pervasive irrelevance.

    @Jules: The requirement for a single-destination transit shuttle to satisfy the TIA is absurd and they’re building a big parking structure to prove that point.

  • From KeithB:
    I’d prefer to hear the opinions of people who actually own property in Southhampton.


    We’ve been hearing their opinions for the past four years. Ad nauseum. They are special. They are pillars of the community. They are rich. They are powerful. They are entitled. They also believe the City Charter doesn’t apply to them. Annise Parker, while dancing around about it, as much as said so the other night. So, well, petition West U to annex them. West U has zoning. Houston does not. What is it about that you and everyone else does not understand? The entire section between Ashby and Cherokee and Bissonnet and Rice Boulveard is “unrestricted” and what is about that you and everyone else does not understand? There are commercial and multi-family development in that area. Some of it recent development. What is it about that you and everone else does not understand? That alone points out the propaganda put out by these people from day one. It is NOT a neighborhood of single family homes. They would like it to be. But it’s a little late in the game. So, well, so sad. Too bad. Even if the voters finally approved zoning, it would not change a thing. In this section, which is not part of Southampton or Boulevard Oaks, or along Bissonnet. Even if they managed to get West U to annex them, well, West U wouldn’t be annexing this section. And if it did, it couldn’t enforce restrictions on unrestricted land. I grew up in the area. Still have friends in the area. Although two of them signed the petition and I doubt I will ever speak to them again. I walk to Rice on nice days. Use Ashby a lot. And hold my nose a lot. The rarified air. Too much for me at times. I guess I won’t walk on Ashby for awhile because of the construction. I will survive. I suspect everyone else will as well. Despite the assertion that they won’t. In the meantime, well, grab the popcorn.

  • @ KeithB: I am a property owner and I do have tenants, but that is investment property elsewhere in the City. I lease my home because that is what makes sense for me personally. It only goes to show, the rent/own calculus is purely financial and has no intrinsic purpose. Most people do what makes sense for their circumstances; it neither makes them less human or their opinions less relevant. It certainly does not disqualify them from participating in a policy debate in a shared polity (be the jurisdiction large or small), and if their ideas are sound then those ideas will stand on their own merit.

    I have previously engaged NIMBYs in Cypress, Katy, and the Heights on various issues. Now I have engaged my neighbors. It is a hobby. I take pleasure from exposing intellectually dishonest charlatans to the harsh light of a deconstructed reality. Is it egotistical? Absolutely. But your personal attacks against me are a squeal of intellectual submission, a whimper of inferiority.

    Some people hunt wild game with a rifle; I hunt dishonest people with sound logic. I’d like to thank you for the satisfaction of the kill.

  • Funny how people with a mortgage think they “own” their property. Chumps.

  • But Niche, you don’t own property in Southampton, so you can’t opine on their issues, as it is impossible for you to understand all of the drivers of their anxiety. Even if you did own property in the soon to be blighted area, you are too young, didn’t go to the right school, and certainly don’t have the right job to be qualified to present your views on the issue.And even if you did have all of those qualifications, your view is invalid because it doesn’t match the obviously correct opinion of those opposed to this travesty.

    (Views expressed in this post are sarcasm. No residents of Southampton were harmed during production)

  • Nitche, dumpsters usually contain garbage. It is picked up weekly by the big friendly truck. This is also crawdad season and spring break. Walking the dogs past some houses on Monday was an adventure. I doubt the future refuse of 228 units will smell any better. Nevertheless, I will pass your concern on.

    “Ugly” ia also a very subjective term. I think a tan is the most hideous thing a person can subject his/her body to and that Kate Winslet blows Angelina Jolie away at Force 10. But that’s in the eye of this particular beholder. Maryland Manor is not latest-trend modern and new – I think that’s your issue.

    Incidentally, a friend & I were wondering over dinner last night – what would have happened if the developers had treated the situation and the neighborhood’s concerns with the approach HEB took before building on the old Wilshire Village site? You know, doing those silly things like being civil, taking concerns into account and asking for input, saying that since no more land can be grown in the area the only way to construct is up for needed dwelling space but they want to integrate into the neighborhood, not intrude? Ah, what might the current sentiment be if the developers could have worked up the courage to look people in the eye and talk? Too bad we’ll never know.

  • Is the City going to let Ashby have MORE traffic than otherwise would be allowed because of the bikes and van?

    How many am/pm trips are the bikes and the van going to eliminate, on paper?

    This seems idiotic to me.

  • Funny how people with a mortgage think they “own” their property. Chumps.
    Even if you don’t have a mortgage, you still only rent it from the government. Don’t believe that? Fail to pay your taxes and see what happens.

  • @ Hellsing: 1) Maryland Manor has some design features that would not be allowed under modern code and ordinances. The placement and visibility of dumpsters is one such thing, so that is a problem that is about to be solved. 2) Maryland Manor is not merely ugly because it is old; my own unit is far older, but I like it better than Maryland Manor. It was built better with better materials and a classier design. That’s the difference. 3) Even with HEB’s level of community involvement, there were still dedicated NIMBY activists. I publicly exposed one of them, a Nuclear Physicist working at Methodist Hospital that lived nearby, who after failing to stop HEB from building its store, set up an inflammatory website ( attempting to pose as an insensitive political consultant to real estate developers. This was intended to scare his neighbors into believing that developers were out to get them. His website has since been suspended by the hosting service. (One of my prouder moments in the fight against NIMBY charlatans! Thank you for reminding me.)

  • @KeithB: One thing is for certain, a supposed “area” renter (short term) that becomes a lessee (longer term) and then suddenly transforms into property owner and landlord “elsewhere” in the City in order to claim relevance on property right issues and be able to whine NIMBY, all within the span on a few hours, is a fraud. You know, I own rental property on the moon. It’s true because I typed it on Swamplot.
    @Hellsing: You make excellent points regarding neighborhood integration and public process. To the detriment of Houston, not all developers are created equally.

  • Niche, I reject the idea that there is an inherent problem with NIMBY’s. If I don’t care about MY backyard, I sure as hell don’t care about YOUR backyard.

  • Thank you, Nitche. 1) & 2) If the dumpster offends you, please report it to the management. If they have received similar complaints from passers-by, they should take into account. Or since they’re going to be evicted in the near future, perhaps not. I’ll be happy to remember your words regarding “older”, “classical” and “built with better materials” for a future conversation. I think they will come in handy. ;) As for 3), unless there is some way to synchronize all human nature into altruistic lockstep, there will ALWAYS be a turd in the punchbowl and someone who resorts to dishonesty. Everywhere. In every circumstance. Please don’t let those who attempt to trick their way through life pollute your view of people who have honest concerns.

  • @75 Blake

    One thing is for certain, TheNiche is a lot of things but “a fraud” is not one of them.

  • @ Blake: I challenge you to point out one inconsistency where my personal information is concerned. You will not because you cannot.

    @ Hellsing: The placement of the dumpster is no doubt grandfathered.

    @ Jules: I agree with you that there is not an inherent problem with NIMBYs. A NIMBY that is letting off some steam is engaging in catharsis. I get that, and that’s fine (although I might bitch about their ugly yard signs from time to time, which in that moment makes ME a NIMBY).

    A NIMBY that tries to pull strings in such a way as that a government entity usurps one person’s property rights arbitrarily in favor of another person who lacks title to the property right being disputed…yeah, I’m not going to cut that NIMBY any slack. And if they start in with the ad hominems, then it’s over. My beef is with “NIMBY charlatans” or “dishonest people” as previously qualified.

    To be fair, I do recognize that dishonest charlatans seem to be the most vocal on these kinds of issues, and I think that they do their more respectable NIMBY comrades a disservice. (It’s just the same as how there are a lot of respectable Republicans being out there, in spite of Rush Limbaugh…not that you’d know it from listening to popular political discourse.)

    With that in mind, I do apologize if I haven’t been perfectly clear and precise in each blog post. I figure that most of the readers will have some historical context to understand my meaning, but that’s not always the case.

  • “This was intended to scare his neighbors into believing that developers were out to get them.”
    reverse blockbusting, in a sorta-kinda way?

  • Nitche: My friend said she will let management know. The placement of the dumpster is indeed awkward and who knows what could have been thrown in; not necessarily by residents. Bleach water is our friend.

    Also, though I never joined, I used to read posts on the Houston Architecture Info Forum. In all fairness, if this is the same Nitche, property ownership had been mentioned long before the Ashby situation ever came up.

    Lastly, before I take off early to get ready for my “ethnic holiday” tomorrow, if Messrs. Morton & Burkhead hear of or read this blog – it’s not too late. Listen to the neighbors. Or send someone else to listen/talk to them. Things like “there will be a huge shadow” are of concern to those whose greatest pleasure is the garden they have spent years and thousands of dollars on. ‘Tower of traffic” isn’t a funny phrase to people with children who can now ride bikes to their friends’ houses or have elderly family/neighbors who walk. We all know how people drive in the morning and evening – we’re Houstonians! Take the initiative to invite someone from the Arboretum to a community meeting for discussing changes in growing environment – they’ve had enough experience with that this past summer! Discuss the traffic mitigation report and ASK if anything has been overlooked. TELL them that the teardown will start on ____ and what streets will have the heavy trucks and when. TELL them that the noise will start at ____ and end at ____ and this is the number to call if it starts/ends more that 15-30 minutes off of that. TELL them that you hope to finish by whatever date, barring hurricanes & floods, and that you hope they will visit and patronize the restaurant/spa/shops/whatall because you WANT the development to be a positive change.

    Change will happen. We’re hardwired to fear it; otherwise, no one would have ever come in out of a storm. Information is the key to locked opinions. Is everyone going to be happy and throw flowers? No. But I personally would respect someone who looks me in the eye, tells me a truth I’d rather not hear and works with me in the process of incorporating such into my life as opposed to someone who avoids me.

    So….Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! Irish breakfast tomorrow at Brian O’Neill’s begins at 8 and the parade starts at noon and ends up at Lucky’s Pub downtown!

  • Hellsing, I appreciate your civility and reasonableness and I hope that the developers can as well. Kumbaya.