Some Happy Guerilla Architectural Disagreement in Montrose, Ya’ll

Quite a few of you have sent in similar photos of this befaced sign at Hyde Park and Waugh for Urban Living’s proposed Hyde Park Maison — that’s French for a 4-story, 3-bedroom townhouse. According to the development company’s website there will be five such maisons, ranging from $589,000 to $689,000, squeezed onto the corner lot bound by Waugh, Hyde Park, Fairview, and Upas, just north of Westheimer. Want to see them without the commentary?

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Below: the floor plan for the 2,965-sq.-ft. maison that would correspond with “Lot 4″ in the site plan above; floors 1-4 go from left to right:

Images: Urban Living (renderings); Candace Garcia (signs)

94 Comment

  • The apostrophe’s in the wrong place, y’all.

  • Why would someone from Austin drive all the way here just to spray paint that message?

  • Pretty cramped as far as house footprint to lot size, but nothing apparently disagreeable beyond that IMHO. At $600k the developers will be making a killing.

  • I wonder who the “we” is. Does the tagger believe that these homes are insufficiently luxurious for the neighborhood?
    On an aesthetic note, I like the friendly inclusion of the smiley face, but I feel compelled to call out the author’s creative apostrophe placement.

  • It’s astounding to me that they have living space on four floors. I’ve been to plenty of townhomes that have a deck or similar on the fourth floor, which seems tolerable since it’s only the deck. However I couldn’t imagine having to go up and down up and down four flights of stairs on a regular basis.

  • @Mike: perhaps the vandal was commenting at that fact. Maybe an elevator would make it better?

  • I can think of many rendered signs around this city that this graffiti could be deservingly applied onto.

  • What self righteous pri*k with false grandeur of an armchair architectural critic did this? Besides committing physical vandalism, what arrogance does one have to have to be a final word in what is or is not acceptable for a neighborhood.

  • Includes no space for an elevator….only for youthful buyers!

  • I’d like to see a variety of exteriors, especially color. I also think it would be smart to have elevators in units with 4 floors of lving space. That would make them attractive to those who are turned off by having to climb stairs.

  • I think four floors is awesome. I love the full floor master on the third floor. The only thing I’d do differently is reverse the fourth floor so that the terrace faces the street. It seems the view would be much better that way, even though you’d be looking away from downtown.

  • I also love that they all face the street rather than the inner driveway.

  • If they’d had spray paint in the late 1800s, there might’ve been similar grafitti in Manhattan when the Brownstones were going up. I won’t be surprised if they start calling this area the Upper West Side at some point. And with 4 floors, these could become multi-family if the area ever cycles down.

  • Take five four-story piles of sheetrock, Tyvek, and of course the ‘de rigeur’ granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, and slap “Maison” on the name: I mean, really, how much more pretentious can this be?

  • These vertical shoe boxes aren’t just for the young, they’re for people whose best friends are orthopedic surgeons. You’ll find yourself at the wrong elevation for food, shoes, family, you name it.

    After a year of running up and downstairs 4+ times/day you’ll be ready to sell, to “ya’ll.”

  • Searching for one stories in Montrose will result in (0) records found before too long.

  • I think they look nice. Also, looks like a woman’s handwriting.

  • I’d sure hate to be the kid in bedroom #3. Down 3 flights to eat breakfast, up 2 flights to brush teeth, down 2 flights, up to comb hair, down, up to get homework, down, up to get shoes, then down 3 to go to school. Evening, up 3 flights to do homework, down 2 to dinner, up 2 to play in game room, fall off terrace.

  • Looks like some of the plans have space for an elevator. Stairs were one reason we sold our townhouse.

  • People, people, people. I think what the author is trying to communicate here is that we need and deserve better design.

    Especially for neighborhoods like Hyde Park. Look at the Mirabeau project; contemporary design, ecologically responsible and great site use to maximize floor plates and views.

    I lived in Hyde Park for four years and when I came across Montrose to First Montrose Commons, the small bungalows were coming down left and right. I’m all for density, but with no zoning and few deed restricted enclaves; I’m afraid the days of Bohemian well integrated community is over for the Montrose… Developers, go figure!?

  • It’s contracted slang: ya + all = ya’ll, it’s a southern thing and right on the sign ya’ll, look it up

  • @commonsense, weren’t you just ranting the other day about how wrong it is to criticize people for having an opinion about what’s going on in the neighborhood? Oops, I guess it depends on what their opinion is.

  • Where do you put the barbecue pit? You telling me these people won’t have one? What’s the point in buying a house for crying out loud?

  • I’ve lived in a four story townhouse (it wasn’t in Houston) and live in a three story without an elevator, you get used to it pretty quick and my heart is the best working part of my body. Let’s see how quick they sell.

  • I live in a 3 story townhome now and it took about two months to adjust to all the stairs, now I don’t even think about it. My legs look like a runner’s legs and even the fat cat lost weight and his ass looks like a race horse.

  • @ John (another one), it’s one thing to whine on a blog about what someone is building in your neighborhood, it’s entirely different to deface someone else’s property. What’s next, sabotage the construction equipment? Steal valuable metals fro the site? This is why every developer/builder refuses to listen to inner city residents, they cannot have a civilized discussion, it’s their way or we resort to vandalism.

  • Headline news! Affluent vandals don’t understand where the apostrophe belongs in the conjunction of “you” and “all”. Must be transplants from other parts of the country trying to seem like locals yet failing miserably.

  • Maybe the comment on the sign is referring to the future tenants rather than the structures?

    Though I’d rather not see the neighborhood devastated by new development like this, I believe the folks who would want to live this kind of life probably don’t make very good neighbors for the neighborhood. Likelihood of a high douche-factor.

  • If people have a problem with all these developments. Do the work and for a neighborhood association. Then take dues and you can make deep restrictions. There are basically no restrictions to what developers can do. They can build on zero lot line. Urban Living is building 3 townhouses behind my house. The rear townhouse is about 5 inches from my fence. That is how it goes.

  • Surprised to see a bedroom on the 4th floor. I thought code stated if you have a bedroom above the 3rd floor, 2 different ways of egress were required.

  • @ Sondra, i totally agree, what do people do if they have 2 kids.. i on the first floor, and the other on the 4th? sounds ridiculous, they would be complete strangers to each other! “hey mom, can i go play with that kid on the first floor?” do developers just assume that there will only be 1 child.. oh right, 1.5 childs….

  • These things have no chance of lasting as long as NY brownstones. Yep, graffiti is a crime, but I have guilty appreciation for the opinion expressed.

  • Sondra,

    I’d hate to be the parents of the kid in bedroom #3, having to run up stairs to check on him. Do you have any idea how much mischief a teenager in a place like that could get in? I once had a bedroom like that as a kid, and it was awesome.

  • commonsense, Really?

    “This is why every developer/builder refuses to listen to inner city residents, they cannot have a civilized discussion, it’s their way or we resort to vandalism.”

    Have you ever had a conversation with these “developers/builders”. Its not exactly a two way conversation. Its about a proforma, $$$. The neighborhood and other inhabitants is not what they care about. Urban Living is one of the worst. They build bad designs, with poor construction, and don’t care about anything but the bottom line. Make sure and record your civilized conversation with one of these townhome developers, I would like to see how that turns out. I am all for developing density inside the loop, but maybe just maybe a sense of place and scale should be thought about before the bottom line. These things will fall apart and be in various states of disrepair in about a decade.

  • The sort that buys this house moves somewhere and starts changing it to be more cookie-cutter and suburban. They aren’t interested with the area as it stands now, they’ve been told it is trendy to be here. So they drive like morons through hyde park, and head down Fairview, scarcely stopping for the children exiting school. This is the sort that moves into a house like this, I believe someone else used the term douche, which is apt.

  • Some preferences are personal, not popular. I lived in multi-story townhomes in or near Montrose for over 10 years. Heck, our first 2 kids learned to navigate those steps safely *GASP*, and while they are the reason we now live somewhere with a yard, I wouldn’t hesitate to live in a free standing multi-story again provided it met our family’s needs. One of which is not an elevator.

  • While I’m not thrilled with how these new townhouses will look, I will take them any day over the decrepit funeral home that used to occupy that lot.

  • I wonder how the tenants of these “maisons” will feel about an auto mechanic shop being right behind them (on Upas). As others here have said, the people who will likely buy these think it’s hip to live in the city, but will soon start to complain about the ‘urban flavor.’ If they run off Downtown Automotive, which happens to be my mechanic, then this means war!

  • We do deserve better.

  • Douche is well deserved. Conspicuous consumption + a 4 story stucco monstrosity=douche.

  • Okay so I lived around the corner on Van Buren for several years and these homes are definitely better than the old funeral parlor that was there. Also these expensive homes are going to be next to a automotive shop that is a bit junky with a lot of cars parked everywhere! Not sure if I would want to spend $600K+ and be next to an automotive shop, but alas this is Houston…

  • Tim,
    4 stories puts this into commercial building code. There is an exception for single-family residences to allow one means of egress, but this is balanced by a requirement for a fire sprinkler system.

    The building code is all about limiting risk. Within an individual residence, the risk is that only one family would die in a fire as opposed to multi-family where the actions of one careless smoker could impact hundreds.

  • I would think at least one of the secondary bathrooms would have a tub, not just a stand up shower.

  • There is space for an optional elevator. If you look just to the right of the front door they have a dashed outline of where the elevator shaft could be. It is indicated on all 4 floors to the front of the stairhall.
    There will be a lot of stairs though, as I’d be fairly certain the living areas on floor 2 will have 11 or 12′ ceilings, and the floor 3 master suite will have 10′ ceilings. The kid on the 4th floor can be excused from PE in school, since he or she will be quite fit from running up and down all those steps.

  • According to Google Maps, before these town homes were planned for the site, this lot was home to a boarded-up former funeral home covered in graffiti. I’d say the town homes are better for the neighborhood than the dump they’re replacing.

  • @Ash
    You are mistaken.

  • n8ball, I always hear the builder side where the local busybodies always complain about ANYTHING you do and always ask for unrealistic things. Most common request is “build less, build smaller”. Well, that simply won’t work mathematically, despite popular belief builders do not rake it hand over fist, they make a good living for them and supporting businesses. And on a big picture, building smaller and less is under-utilizing the property, thereby wasting money and property value. To this day I have not heard a single tangible reason from any busy body or hipster on why to scale down a project.

  • If one does not deserve an unchanging aesthetic ethos of one’s neighborhood on someone else’s nickel, surely the word “deserve” has lost all meaning.

  • I don’t understand why folks living in an older neighborhood are labeled whiners for wanting to have some say in how their neighborhood develops. Try building these things in Greatwood or whatever. Seems only fair that we have some level of control, even if we are…um…”hipsters”.

  • If these townhouses were about 100 feet to the West (and thus zoned to Lanier) I might be tempted. Steps are a problem with infants and the elderly, but a few of the floorplans have a BR on the ground floor.

    As for the graffiti, I love political graffiti and encourage more of it. It is always better to know what people are thinking in their heart of hearts. I don’t consider it vandalism at all…

  • With all this talk about stairs, can you imagine being that poor sap of a realtor who had to go around turning on all those lights for that “magic-hour” shoot?

  • While I think it’s nobody’s business but the builder and the potential buyer, I think developers have jumped the shark with 4 story townhomes. Though I value a detached house as much as any Houstonian, I’d rather live in an apartment (not wood-framed though) with an elevator than feel like I’m a monkey living in a treehouse.

    It’s great to get exercise outside the home or when you’re doing chores at home, but it’s quite another to climb three flights of stairs every night when winding down for bed or if you have the flu.

  • “As for the graffiti, I love political graffiti and encourage more of it. It is always better to know what people are thinking in their heart of hearts. I don’t consider it vandalism at all…”

    Those signs are not cheap. Whoever did this is stealing money right out of someone’s pocket.

  • Given the location and type of product this is, it’s unlikely a family with children are the intended buyer. Either a young childless couple or empty nester looking for an urban townhouse will be living there soon, and they will complain about the steps, sure, but it won’t be that much of a problem.

    I’d want to install a dumbwaiter though. That would be fun.

  • I just have to ask: is it pronouced “you pass” or “up us” or what?

  • Anse, you have control over what you own. That’s the point. If you don’t own it it isn’t yours.

  • I wish that there were warning labels that were attached to mortgages on houses without a restrictive covenant, or HOA…
    .
    “Warning! While it is a bonus that you don’t have to pay any monthly fees to a HOA that would send you a letter when you don’t have your grass cut at the optimum level, it comes with a strong negative, in that you also have no say in what happens on the property next to yours! This means you might live in a cute little neighborhood now, but it might be overrun with 4 story townhomes very soon!!!!”
    .
    I doubt it would help.
    .
    @anse the State of Texas constitution has a provision for creating a restrictive covenant where none currently exists, if the people who live in neighborhoods without a HOA want a HOA like what Greatwood has, they need to set it up following the rules set forth in our states constitution.
    .
    This is why people consider it whining, cause people who CHOOSE to buy a house in a neighborhood without a restrictive covenant should already understand the consequences for thier actions, and if they still like the area enough to take a chance, then the onus is on THEM to get a restrcitive covenant set up, and then gather the required neighborhood support to enact.

  • Can you imagine what fun the parents will have when one of the kids has a sleep over/slumber party and is playing in the game room on their ceiling all night?

  • Spoonman, I can buy where I like, but so can all these folks who think Montrose and other Innerloop neighborhoods shouldn’t be overly deed restricted. I see no reason why we should be able to hold our neighborhoods to the same kinds of standards that other, newer neighborhoods do.

  • These are typical of Houston builder-designed and themed townhouse developments. It would be great if Brett Zamore would come up with a more vertical design that could be employed in Montrose or if Carol Isaak Barden’s company could devise a budget version (500 to 750K) of her modern homes.

  • commonsense:
    I have an issue with building to the lot line and out of scale. What about your neighbors? What about the impact to the adjacent properties? What about infrastructure?

    I always dreamed of looking at 3 stories of molding stucco outside of my window. Not having any sunlight and my yard dying. My 50 year old tree having the roots chopped off or chopped down without any conversation with the adjacent property owner to resolve a tree on a property line issue.

    Have you heard of over building? I think the Houston infrastructure has a hard time supporting these developments by not providing adequate drainage for the pervious cover that is usually being replaced by concrete thus creating flood issues. Lack of guest parking on the property is an issue as well. Overflow parking on the street, which isn’t an issue if the lot has 1 home, but when its 6 a fire truck or ambulance can’t get down the street. Last but not least the fact that many of the people who inhabit the small single family homes are not hipsters, but professionals with families who would like to see more responsible development by builders and developers.
    A city without zoning makes it like the wild west so it’s not an easy fix. But adversarial views by either side just further galvanizes interests. It all starts with a rational and peaceful conversation. Those just don’t happen enough these days.

  • W/r/t to 4 stories vs three: Building these at four stories is probably what allows them to be built with a central courtyard instead of street-facing garages (it could have been worse).
    And about having kids in bedrooms 3 stories apart: if you have two kids and $600k, you’re probably buying a house in the Heights, not a townhouse in Montrose.

  • Toasty, this is good information to know, thanks. I happen to live in a neighborhood that has the best of both worlds: an HOA that is levies voluntary membership fees but still sets pretty straightforward controls on new development. I understand that there is often a diversity of opinion about these things–my neighbors in the Heights, when I was renting there, seemed almost even 50/50 on the issue of a historic district–but it is a good idea to get a dialogue started in these areas, particularly when it appears that folks are not aware of the options they do have.

  • I could see hipsters living here.

  • n8ball, infrastructure needs are calculated by the city and obviously are sufficient, hence the building permit. The rest of the issues are non-tangible and a purely academic discussion. Scale, aesthetics, and construction materials are purely a preference issue and can be argued from both sides. In fact builders believe that building expensive new structures helps raise the value of the homes for the rest of the holdouts as a good community service.

    Also, a cold truth is that builders know that in a non deed restricted community, the neighbors have absolutely no leverage to influence their project (they gave it up when they moved there), hence they’re negotiating from a point of absolutely no power, and that’s just called begging. Given that, a builder will try to be neighborly and entertain certain simple requests but has no duty or obligation to substantially change a given project. At the end of the day, his responsibility is to his family and to make the most money he can for them.

    So, in a nutshell, a civilized discussion is something I agree with, but it would still be ultimately useless.

  • What a bunch of whiners who probably couldn’t afford these homes. Welcome to life in the city. Deal with it or move.

  • For the record (what’s the point? I don’t know — everything on the internet’s so transitory) commonsense’s very basic notion of property rights is quite radical, owing little to the traditional notion of property rights in common law, which certainly, if not overly, concerned itself with the obligations of one property owner to another within an accepted moral framework.
    Or maybe the internet’s not so transitory. Here’s a very clearly-written article I read on the subject 15 years ago:
    http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9604/articles/stuntz.html
    In simple layman’s terms it sets out a conservative’s view of how the current language of “rights” was developed in the 20th century with respect mainly to freedom of speech and to the choice movement, and then came to be applied to property (and all else).

  • > And about having kids in bedrooms 3
    > stories apart: if you have two kids and
    > $600k, you’re probably buying a house in
    > the Heights, not a townhouse in Montrose.

    I resemble that remark… which I mention in the hopes of influencing any builders who are listening.
    I can speak from personal experience that if you have two kids and $600k in the Inner-Inner Loop, your primary concern is schools. In the Heights the middle and high schools are not good enough (yet), so that means playing magnet school roulette, or (urg) 24 kid-years of private school.
    Give me Lanier and Lamar for $600k and we can swallow a private elementary school (if they don’t pass the test — no pressure kids!).
    The floor plan is a bit awkward, but since I want 4 BR anyway, I would take away some of the “game room” space to convert into another BR for the kids upstairs, and use the ground-floor BR for grandparent visits.
    The exterior style of the house is not desirable, but it doesn’t stoop to FTV levels either. However, if you make the same floorplan in a modern style, with two bedrooms on the 4th floor and zoned for Lan/Lam, I would go up from $600k to $800k.

  • >…builders believe that building
    > expensive new structures helps raise
    > the value of the homes for the rest of
    > the holdouts as a good community
    > service.

    Hmmm… Libertarians are the enemy of society. While I might be willing to buy an expensive house, I can tell you that most of my neighbors would prefer that their property taxes stay as low as possible. Raising the value of their house is a nightmare, not a community service.

    > At the end of the day, his
    > responsibility is to his family and to
    > make the most money he can for them.

    No, it’s not. Making a little less money in order to be a good neighbor is the ethical decision.

  • It can be spelled Ya’ll. Not a big deal.

    Montrose is starting to look like a douche bags wet dream.

    We need MORE of this commentary.

  • luciaphile, interesting paper, it basically confirms the current social doctrine of “unless I’m damaging your property (neighbor) in a TANGIBLE way, then F*ck off”.

    Patrick, why would you not want your property value to rise? You’ll get that money in cold hard cash when you sell and tax increase is negligible (a couple of hundred bucks a year). You should look at it as if a developer drops off 20k on your front porch every time he builds close by.

    If you think that a builder has more responsibility to some random strangers than his own family, then you have some serious issues.

  • @commonsense – Gee, I guess the author of the graffiti missed all the opportunities to share their opinion with the developers, like when the developers talked to the neighbors about what they were building, solicited comments, held town meetings… I can’t imagine how someone could become frustrated with what developers are doing in their neighborhood and resort to graffiti when that industry is typical so open and communicative with the neighbors of their projects.

    Sorry, I just think it’s really funny when you seethe.

  • I didn’t read all 71 comments. To address the “no elevator” remarks…it’s there as an option. Do you notice closets on each floor in the bottom right-hand corner? That can be converted into an elevator shaft.

  • wikipedia??? C’mon… read an old southern novel and you may find it.

  • Hmmnn. Doesn’t look so out of place considering there are towmhomes and a midrise across the street. It looks on par with everything else recently built as well. You know who the real douches are? The ones who call out everyone else for being one. There are plenty of areas of town that are run down and waiting for all the proletariats to create a multicultural, artsy, bohemian community. So you have a clear choice, face the inevitable: that Montrose is rapidly gentrifying and practice some of your tolerance or move to an area dying for your creative juices and thumb your nose at the so called douches and have the last laugh.

  • commonsense, I no more believe in the pleasing fairytale of rights than you do in responsibilities, but I do believe that the men who dreamed them up did so not in a vacuum but with the clear understanding that there was such a thing as a FLAWED BUT DECENT CIVIL SOCIETY, with more-or-less agreed-upon standards of conduct; in which OBLIGATIONS WERE AS LIKELY TO BE INVOKED AS RIGHTS; and every human encounter was not a POWER STRUGGLE, a view of human relations that is the sure tell of an IDEOLOGUE. But in any case the TANGIBLES in an urban setting are unlikely to be as STRAIGHTFORWARD as a STRAY PIG wandering the f*ck over your crops, to borrow a couple of your rhetorical devices.

  • luciaphile, the paper also states that the erosion of the Social Obligations has been over a long time and driven primarily by the Liberal movement. In fact the progression of liberal ideas has led to the current notion where, unless specifically forbidden by law, one has no moral obligations under the law.

  • The liberals are coming!

  • “Patrick, why would you not want your property value to rise? You’ll get that money in cold hard cash when you sell and tax increase is negligible (a couple of hundred bucks a year). You should look at it as if a developer drops off 20k on your front porch every time he builds close by.”

    All y’all, not all of us treat Houston real estate like some sort of profit center. Some of us are trying to live here, you know?

  • @ mel- nice to see this said.

  • Mel, for most American families the home is the biggest financial transaction of their life, so it is irresponsible not to seriously think of it from a financial perspective. For many the value of the homes also determines people’s retirement options, whether to sell and raise cash or to pass on to next generation. So, whether you like it or not, a home heavily influences your financial well being in the long term.

  • Commonsense, Quit acting like developers hoping to cash in on the charm of my neighborhood are doing me some kind of favor by crowding five three or four story mini-mansions on a single lot on my block.

  • Amen Mel!
    Also, telling me that raising my property value and taxes is doing me a favor is like telling me a kick in the nuts will make everything OK. Get off my lawn carpetbagger!

  • Every property owner in non-deed-restricted neighborhoods needs to understand: 1. The duration of your ownership – whether you’ve been there 20 years or bought it yesterday – has absolutely no bearing on your ability under the law to determine what your neighbor can do to their property. 2. “Scale” and “character” and “aesthetic appropriateness” considerations are purely subjective judgments that have no legal standing except in historic districts. 3. Height is not regulated, other than some construction requirements through the building code and some regulations related to airports. 4. There is no benefit to the city overall from changing items (1), (2), and (3) in the direction that some posters here would seem to prefer.

  • @ Local Planner- I don’t think anyone is challenging the legality of anything. It’s just disappointing that so many people don’t see how transparent projects like these are. It communicates decisions based on no consideration for being an original and critical human being. Of course this is all subjective. But it’s safe to say we know bad art when we see it. Just look at a side by side comparison of the Astrodome to Reliant. One of those buildings took guts and the other is a giant hotpocket.

  • “You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts.”
    This is a map …
    http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/downloads/residential_design_boundaries.pdf
    … of the area within Austin where applies the so-called “McMansion” ordinance of 2006, revised 2008, which, in conjunction with zoning, governs Local Planner’s (1),(2), and (3), though not “aesthetic appropriateness.”
    As many of you are quick to observe, Austin has become an utterly mainstream town, though perhaps it will never be as business-friendly as Houston.
    The ordinance generated a few stories at first about people who found it annoying, but builders — who, have no fear, are well-represented “stakeholders” here — seem to have quickly gotten used to it. A cottage industry already existed to help them deal with the city. They are used to headaches. It was said that that the ordinance might “promote sprawl,” but looking around in all directions, it was hard to take that argument seriously. Architects no doubt earn their fee playing around with the variables and tying house to lot size. I have heard there is a permitting backlog — I have no idea if that relates particularly to the McMansion ordinance.
    But whether or not it benefits something called the “city,” as opposed to the residents of the city who asked for it, it cannot be said to have stymied Austin’s growth. Last month Forbes magazine named Austin the nation’s fastest-growing city for the 3rd year in a row.
    Is my hometown so much more fragile than Austin — whose economic base is a mystery even to those who live here — that some modest protections, absent zoning, for people like n8ball, would threaten the future growth you eagerly anticipate?
    I understand that “No Rules” is central to Houston’s identity, or at least to its “brand,” but is it wise to hold the city captive to the idea forever? I bet you could change it to “Almost No Rules” and the world would hardly notice.
    Now, in total candor, the point I am trying to make doesn’t please me. Many in Austin — myself among them — would be perfectly happy if the McMansion ordinance, or the SOS ordinance before it, or the “Town Lake overlay,” or any number of actually hippie-dippie ideas — like when we boycotted Arizona — had killed growth. But we aren’t entitled to our own facts either, unfortunately.

  • luciaphile, God bless you.

  • Those who complain about their property taxes increasing are not comfortable with upward movement. A lot of these people think that everything should be locked in exactly the way it was when they bought… but if you bought in a neighborhood because it was hip/desireable, how can you possibly complain about the continuation of it becoming more hip/desireable? Montrose has been a hip/desireable place for a long time with a fairly constant upward trend… “we deserve better” can’t = cheaper… I can understand wanting more interesting architecture… but sheesh these are 600k townhomes, what do you want… 1mil+ unique modern works of art only?

  • luciaphile, I think its time for this city to think about the impact no zoning will have for future generations. I will admit, I am an Architect, so I am very critical of poorly sited, badly constructed, out of scale buildings and the impact they have on neighborhoods. Building McMansions is not thinking for the future, its instant economic gratification for the builder and developer. My Bungalow is 80 years old and is in better shape than many of the 20yr old townhomes in my community. Mark my words, these townhomes will be the rundown faster than the homes they are replacing.

  • Regulations which restrict supply (through, say density restrictions prohibiting townhomes) or adding approval / permitting time (through, say community architectural review) will increase prices. I feel confident enough in the laws of supply and demand to claim that as fact.

    I don’t see the benefit for Houston of artificially increasing real estate prices through these types of regulations. You’re only further restricting, via force of law, the type of people who could move to places like Montrose.

  • That Austin ordinance is one of the stupidest and most restrictive pieces of crap I’ve ever looked at. If it were in place here, much of the Heights would be limited to 2300 – 2500 sq ft houses (Square footage is limited to the greater of 2300 sq ft or 40% of the lot size). There are also onerous restrictions on how the structure can be built upwards. So, the family whose third child happens to be twins has to pack up and move, rather than add on to the house. Just for fun, garage area over 450 sq ft counts against the limit, so no chance to put a guest room on top of the garage. The people who like this sort of thing are bigots, plain and simple. They hate anyone who isn’t just like them, and want them far, far away.

  • n8ball,
    You are an architect. Would you please explain why you think that these new town homes are not built to last. I’m don’t disagree with you but I’ve heard that assertion many times on Swamplot and I would love to pinpoint the exact reasoning. Thanks.

  • Caneco,

    Quit generalizing. I am complaining about my property taxes increasing because I don’t want to pay more property taxes.