Comment of the Day: Where To Go To Avoid a Bar Fight in the Heights

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE TO GO TO AVOID A BAR FIGHT IN THE HEIGHTS Looming Townhomes“I remember well the battles between restaurants/bars and residents as the Montrose started to gentrify in the late 1990s. It never ceased to amaze me that someone would buy a pricey townhome right next to a long-established ice house, and then complain vociferously and try to run the business off. Mark my words, the Heights will reach that same tipping point, if it hasn’t already. As SuperDave said, those who fail to check out their prospective neighborhood at all times of day and night have only themselves to blame. But of course, they’d rather blame the business and try to turn the Heights into some ridiculous suburban ‘paradise.’ That’s what Katy is for, people!” [roadchick, commenting on Jilted Heights Post Office Spot To Move On as a New Mixed-Use Lowrise Complex] Illustration: Lulu

18 Comment

  • Amidst the battles between residents and restaurants/bars/ice cream shops in the Heights there is a legitimate issue. Boneheaded Houstonians who have only seen onstreet parking in episodes of Sex in the City come into the neighborhood and park right in front of people’s driveways or ignore parking restrictions and block people in or make the roads impassible for two way traffic and emergency vehicles. But this is not the fault of the restaurant owners. No amount of offstreet parking is ever enough in Houston. This problem is largely the fault of the City of Houston. While running around giving tax breaks to developers to get all their infrastructure upgrades for free and using drainage fee cash to deal with finances instead of getting infrastructure upgrades, the City has done nothing to upgrade the streets in areas where there has been a sharp increase in onstreet parking demand. If the City would get out and curb and gutter these streets and strictly enforce the parking restrictions, there would be a huge improvement on the whole parking situation.

  • Of course, the Heights was (and is) dry. And living next to a post office is not the same as living next to a honky tonk.

    But other than that…

  • My favorite were those morons who bought condos directly above that one bar on Kirby that was known for outdoor live music. Then they decided to pour water onto the band stage while they were performing. Because that’s not unreasonable or completely criminal.

  • The “dry” section of the Heights includes Eight Row Flint (right across from the old post office spot), and numerous restaurants that serve alcohol. The restaurants used to make you join the “private club,” but lately they don’t seem to care or check at all.

    And amen on the parking. I understand the reasons why restaurants and bars don’t want to have huge surface lots, but it is still annoying and unfair to the nearby residents when a small or non-existent parking lot leads to a complete use of street parking, to the exclusion of existing residents and their guests (and no, this hasn’t happened on my street, so this isn’t a personal complaint). Replacing the bar ditches with curbs and gutters would increase the parking and improve safety, even if it wouldn’t solve the whole problem.

  • Fully agree with Old School about the COH not doing a thing to improve streets in an area they annexed only 90 years ago.
    As for the comment itself, I remember the people who bought townhomes that backed up to the old Walter’s on Washington about 8 years ago and then called the police every weekend to file noise complaints.It’s like buying a home next to an airport runway and then complaining about aircraft noise!

  • @MrEction: Ah yes, Hans’ Bier Haus vs. the 2520 Robinhood condos. Perhaps not coincidentally, “eccentric millionaire Robert Durst”, as he is known in the media, lived there. I say “not coincidentally” because he later took a whiz all over the candy aisle at the CVS down the street. Maybe the water raining down on Hans’ wasn’t water after all?
    Previously on Swamplot: and also see the “Previously on Swamplot” links at that link.

  • Just because you have been breaking the law for years (say, regarding the sound ordinance) doesn’t give you the right to continue breaking the law with abandon.

  • I’d agree the drainage swales should be replaced with curb & gutter, but at least now the city is pushing developers to have a common driveway for many of the townhome real developments. In so many of those areas in Heights or Rice Military in particular what little on-street parking there is is carved up by multiple driveways for each property.

  • Street parking is public. People are allowed to park in front of your house – you don’t own that spot.

    Also, don’t move next to a bar if you don’t like loud music. There are so many properties all over Houston, and in the Heights, that you can pick another one to buy.

    Some people just live for starting trouble like that, and that is one of the saddest things about being a Houstonian.

  • Happened to my cousin in Austin when condos were built next door to his bar. Residents complained about the loud live music on the patio, so he closed and sold it.
    They have food now.

  • @MrEction @GoogleMaster Concerning Hans’ v condos: It wasn’t water that was thrown, it was huge block of ice that went straight through the bar’s roof. That was an extremely nasty dispute. Sorry to say both sides did not look good.

  • I’m gonna let my dog sh!% on any empty lot for years and when someone builds a house on said lot they better not ask me stop! It’s not my fault you didn’t do your research, people!

  • @detroux: And during construction of the Robinhood condos, it was a 10-foot beam that crashed through the roof of the Montessori school next door:

  • Can someone explain why if someone buys a house prior to a night club being built next door, that person HAS a right to complain while the person who buys a house after the night club is already built is not allowed (by your ridiculous logic) the same right? What happens when a neighbor has illegally-loud parties every few weeks? Were you supposed to know this before buying and if you moved in after your a-hole neighbor, are you also not allowed to complain? And no, this is not like buying a house next to an airport runway. Nightclubs and bars (and neighbors) are subject to city noise ordinances. Just because they were never enforced previously does not mean they should not be now. Your inability to understand the basics of civility and how laws work is scary. “You know, we’re living in a society!”

  • There is something wrong with many of the parking lots, especially in the dry Heights area. They just don’t work. Lots of parking schemes approved by the City- plans where there is no adequate handicapped space, and where they got waivers to allow undersize offsite parking (Coltivare) the parking is stacked, undersize and not usable or used because no one know it exists (Gelazzi) and the parking is grandfathered for historic sites, even though the “historic” warehouse structure had been effectively demolished (Heights Mercantile). If the City requires parking, it would probably work out better if they actually enforced their own guidelines in this area that is changing rapidly.

  • This is a game of leapfrog. A neighborhood becomes stale, trendier residents move away, and the ‘hood declines. At some point it becomes uncool enough and cheap enough that the starving artists move in. Artists are replaced by higher-income bohemians, who in turn are replaced by high-income people generally. Eventually all the interesting spots close and the neighborhood stays trendy until upper middle class tastes change, at which point the decline begins anew.

  • Sally, it’s probably because many folks have seen things get shut down because of noise complaints without a decible reading ever having actually been taken.
    Yes, everyone should follow the rules, but why on earth would anyone ever think the police actually apply the rules fairly/equally? Not in this city.

  • @Hey: Heights Mercantile did not get any variance on parking. They are providing 100% of the parking required by the city and spent close to a mil to by two neighboring properties (Golden Eagle Bindery) to meet their parking minimums. Coltivare’s variance was to be able to use spaces at the warehouse next door that are technically in the right of way. Everyone had been using those spaces before Coltivare showed up. They are full sized spaces, but they were built over where the side walk should be many, many years ago. They did not get a variance on the number of space needed beyond what is allowed for credit for providing bike parking.

    The Heights doesn’t need to have every other block on the commercial thoroughfares turned into parking lots. The off street parking in the neighborhoods has plenty of capacity. On even the busiest night you can always find a space for onstreet parking if you are just willing to walk a few blocks. The problem is that people are idiots and will park illegally by blocking driveways or ignoring parking restrictions instead of going an extra block or two away to find a space. Swift enforcement would change behaviors very quickly. Better infrastructure would help too.