Comment of the Day: Bring It On

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BRING IT ON “As we all learned from the Ashby debacle, anyone who lives within a 2 mile radius of a proposed project has the right to go all NIMBY on it. Well, I live within a 2 mile radius of this project, and I’d like to declare myself to be a BIMBY — Build In My Backyard. I purchased inside the loop so that I could be in a dynamic urban environment; that includes high density housing options mixed in with single family; that includes the associated traffic; that includes noisy bars letting out at 2am right in the middle of neighborhoods; that includes Ferraris wailing at 120db at 7am on Sunday even if they’re only going 15mph. Bottom line, I’d love it if the Heights became more like Greenwich Village or Tribeca. While the Heights, or Montrose, aren’t likely to get there in the near future, projects like this (and Ashby) help get us just a little bit further in that direction. And I consider that to be a good thing. BIMBY!” [Walt, commenting on A Land Use Counterattack from the Yale St. Alexan Heights]

22 Comment

  • Walt – BIMBY …. Love everything you said. It’s called a city people!!!!!

  • +1

    I could not agree more.

  • Three cheers for Walt!

  • Walt, you are my hero! Enough with people moving inside the Loop for “urban flavor,” and then trying to remake the city into the boring suburbs they left behind.

  • Well said Mr Walt. In Houston we have zoning, its called finacial zoning. When the price for land goes up, so does the number of stories being built on said land.

  • I really appreciate the sentiment Walt. I’ve talked a lot here about developers, but I also wish neighbors would get in front of the issue, instead of just sitting around and doing nothing until a someone proposes something they don’t like; then hastily mobilizing to try to kill it. It’s off-putting, and not as effective as other ways of preserving the quality of neighborhoods.
    Neighbors need to get together and communally decide how they want their neighborhoods to develop; then communicate these wishes to developers and designers. The plans of course would be non binding, (if they had teeth, it would be zoning) but they could be a very useful tool for developers in choosing a site.
    It’s funny you should use the term “BIMBY,” because I call this approach “BTIMBY”: “Build THIS In My Back Yard”

  • Well said. I could not agree more.

  • “BIMBY — Build In My Backyard”, “I live within a 2 mile radius”…umm, not quite my back yard by most people’s standards. Sorry, but I think most people would agree that you’re a non-affected party that couldn’t care less about how this project affects people in the area it’s being built. Frankly I’d love to be living the Village / Tribeca lifestyle and hopping on cheap public transportation to zip around the urban jungle…hello, back to reality land. Houston doesn’t have the infrastructure – can’t support the over development. If you gung-ho development wonks would just support the kind of infrastructure investments it would take to make this kind of rampant development livable in Houston I’d be a big supporter. But this build it and let the fools who are stupid enough to lease there put up with the heartaches mindset is so damn shortsighted. Frankly, I hope TC invests & loses a ton of money on this project once people realize that life here will be a hell of traffic backups. It’s obvious Trammell Crow doesn’t care.

  • People in suburban Houston have to put up with awful traffic way more than folks inside the Loop have had to, for the most part. In fact, the urban core is much better set up to handle traffic (for any mode of transportation) because of its finer street grid.

    So why should the urban core deserve extra protection from traffic? Should measures be taken to adapt, sure (better sidewalks, bike lanes coordinated traffic lights, and transit), though that may not happen until traffic gets much worse. But otherwise, urban core residents don’t deserve any more protection from traffic than anyone else in the region.

  • 2 thumbs up from this Heights resident!

  • Walt. Seriously. The sand is pouring to the bottom of the hour glass. If you want to live in Greenwich Village or Tribeca move to New York now. That development is not happening here.

  • This? Like it. Seventeen story office building on 2-lane San Felipe; not so much. I am all for the city getting denser but shouldn’t this happen on the main arterials like Westheimer and Kirby and not on residential streets? Yes, I realize that Kirby and Westheimer were once residential as well as commercial, but there is plenty of underutilized land available without high rise office buildings creeping onto residential streets.

  • Agreed. Houston will add a million people in the next 10 years. We cannot go out forever, we have to go up and density will follow.

  • I don’t necessarily disagree with the substance of your comments (we should embrace density, development inside the Loop should be encouraged, etc.). It’s somewhat hilarious that you cite Greenwich Village as an aspirational urban environment, however, as it is pretty much the most prominent example of NIMBY-ism working to preserve a local neighborhood’s character in the face of unrestrained development:

  • I agree Dara. But it comes with one major caveat: if we just allow density to happen willy-nilly, it can be tremendously damaging. Worse than urban sprawl. Houston’s densest residential neighborhood is actually Gulfton. It was a result of unbridled, anything goes development that was done with no consideration of neighborhood concerns. And look at it today – near some of the priciest real estate in town, but impoverished, isolated, crimeridden, troubled….
    We have to be extremely careful to see that history doesn’t repeat itself. And the way to do it is with careful planning and foresight on the part of neighborhood groups; appropriate government regulation; and sensitivity and common sense on the part of developers.

  • Thank you, Jake, for noticing the fallacy re Greenwich Village; ZAW, when I read your posts, I think: this is someone who should, and could, run for city council.

  • i can say i live within a 0.5-mi radius of this project, but here in-town that’s far enough away to where i might as well consider myself in a different suburb altogether (and i do…vermont commons ends at Shepheard and river oaks starts on the other side as far as i’m concerned).

    and saying this is on a 2-lane street is a bit misleading as this is the only very tiny portion of San Felipe restricted to 2 lanes because of the large shoulders used for on-street parking. i’d say seeing further development on San Felip as opposed to Kirby/Westheimer should be preferable for all of the inner loop anyways as it’s an underutilized road whereas all the others are pretty close to capacity. it’s also a much more direct route to get to uptown/downtown areas which could be valuable for these high-margin office spaces. running up allan pkwy to downtown would be a cake walk compared to leaving from greenway plaza area. not to mention it’s actually been maintained as opposed to the city letting westheimer/richmond be destroyed.

    of course some would have to deal with the frustrations of growing pains, but i see no reasons not to development San Felipe further in this very same manner.

    and those folks thinking Houston would ever actually be capable of creating infrastructure to adequately manage increased density developments are living in a fool’s paradise. you live in a state where voters actively vote against such propositions by favoring no income taxes and keeping the pressure on no property tax increases to fund such transit initiatives. the density will have to come first, that’s a given.

  • Mako for the win!!!

  • A lot of the road damage on streets like Westheimer, Richmond, and Airline is because of heavy use by buses – the repair of which was supposed to be the reason behind the city getting revenue from Metro, at least the way MayorBob pitched it way back when. Riiiiiiight – and how’s that working out these days?

  • Everyone needs to face a few simple facts: 1. the density we are all familair with is one of the past; 2. Since Houston has no substantive land planning in place, we always have been and will continue to react to development. San Felipe is no different than Bissonnet, Alabama or Inwood and the arguments all come from personal perspectives as to how each person will be personally affected.

    My position is still the same as with the Ashby opposition, if you don’t like what is happening, channel your collective energies into real change for the entire city and just get over the individual neighborhood battles.

  • @Mollusk – BTW, Former Mayor Bob lives on San Felipe.

  • @H D – Hmm. I thought his tenure on always immaculately paved (well, always immaculately paved between Kirby and the tracks) San Felipe was a couple places ago.