City Council Approves Changes to Development Ordinance

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES CHANGES TO DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE City council today gave a long-awaited thumbs-up to a new regime of amendments to its development ordinance, known as Chapter 42. Among the many changes: a new, higher upper limit on townhome density for the huge donut of land bounded by Loop 610 and Beltway 8. Developers will now be able to squeeze them in at a rate of 27 units per acre, matching the allowed density in the Inner Loop. [Planning and Development; previously on Swamplot]

8 Comment

  • Decades overdue. The cheap,shoddy construction practices is vile,immoral & a rip-off of property buyers. Finally the COH (Mayor Parker among others hopefully will force the greedy/shady/sketchy builders-developers to build quality,lasting structures. And enough crappy townhouses.So sick of th flimsyly built stucco clad boxes(that start falling apart within a year or less. And in the future will be slums!!! 99% of new builds are worthless maird!!!

  • Nice rant, Patrick.
    How exactly are they encouraging “better build quality”? Unless they completely rewrite the building code, it’s just a catchphrase.

  • Patrick: People vote with their wallets. There are builders who build with excellent quality and that’s reflected in the price. Then there are builders who build stuff at a lower price that more people can afford.
    I’m all for high quality construction. Frankly, I can afford it. But don’t think the government can magically solve all issues. Ever “rule” and law that seems good has unintended consequences. In this case, for as much as you’re jazzed up about it, my guess is the result is much higher home costs for new buyers.
    Knowing someone else is buying a better built home might help you feel better about yourself, but you’re not doing any favors to someone that just wants an decent inexpensive property.

  • Maybe what Patrick is talking about is quality vs poor work. An inexpensive house doesn’t have to be built without quality work. Without upgrades sure, but make sure the guys putting hammer to nail aren’t taking short cuts. You can still have a quality inexpensive home without upgrades.

  • The International Residential Building Code governs *minimum* standards of construction in Houston. Builders can and often do exceed these standards. City of Houston has amendments to International Energy Conservation Code that require builders to exceed the minimum energy standards. A good thing.

  • Jessie: There are tons of codes/rules already set to make sure homes are built to required levels of safety and energy efficiency.
    Reminds me of all the people that don’t like “ugly” older buildings in Montrose where the “undesirables” (i.e., the people that clean our restaurants and serve our food) live. So out of the kindness of their heart, they “help” by passing all sorts of certification requirements to make sure their homes are “safe”. Result? Oh, buildings do get upgraded (normally because older owners can’t afford to comply with all the new rules, so sell them), but assuming the property isn’t sold to a developer, it’s sold to someone that fixes up the units and raises up the rent (like me).
    Presto! A new building or a nicer building. However the people that used to live there and were happy with their apt-for-rent situation are now left to try to find something else they can afford — which in most cases will be a lot further away. I’m sure they’re real grateful. I’ve honestly felt bad at times when buying a run down place where people were paying ~$500/month, then fixing it up and leasing it out at $700/month to new tenants. Where did the old tenants end up having to go? While we’d love to do upgrades and keep rents low, the financials don’t work that way.
    But hey, the 311 warriors in their comfy homes can pat themselves on the bank for making the building nicer (or having it blown up).

  • All I want is more density!!!!

  • If building codes are upgraded constantly, at the right way, it will get cheaper because of economies of scale.

    Now that “urban” is extended, maybe the previous “urban” designation (meaning inside the loop) can take on a higher resolution meaning?

    Maybe mandate LEED Silver to start off with…then see what happens…