On deck for the Berryhill Shopping Center on the corner of Westheimer and Revere: Stanmore River Oaks, an 8-story apartment building planned in place of the site’s existing tenants Antique Pavilion, Prism Cleaners, and the original Berryhill Baja Grill. This Thursday, Houston’s city planning commission will consider the developer’s request to slide the planned building (depicted at top from the north) up to sit just 10 ft. from Westheimer — closer than the existing strip pictured above, behind the variance sign that’s now up on the property.
If the commission signs off, landscaping could go up too along the roadway in the fashion depicted below:
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Stanmore River Oaks
WALK THIS WAY Only 17 percent of projects eligible for incentives included in the city’s 8-year-old Transit Corridor ordinance have taken advantage of them, reports Hilary Ybarra. So the next city initiative aimed at walkability will take a different approach: “The recently established Walkable Places Committee has been tasked with reevaluating the city code to dive deeper into the issue of walkability in Houston. The committee is currently focused on creating an application-based process to establish specific ‘walkable place’ areas,” she writes. “Under this new system, any neighborhood could voluntarily apply to become a ‘walkable place’ and in doing so establish their own set of self-defined unique rules for development to encourage walkability. These rules would include specific regulations covering the building setback, design of the pedestrian realm, landscaping, pedestrian friendly building design, and parking (a separate subcommittee has been formed exclusively to deal with parking).
But once adopted, unlike the Transit Corridor Ordinance, neighborhood- and site-specific building rules would be required, not optional, for all new development. Though still in the early planning stages — adoption of a new ordinance is targeted for 2019 — the proposal certainly faces challenges. How will a neighborhood come to consensus on new guidelines? What are the incentives to apply to become a ‘walkable place?’ What will trigger the application of the new guidelines to existing development? Are historic structures exempt? And perhaps most importantly, what about the spaces between and connecting to the specific neighborhoods?” [The Urban Edge] Photo of Gray St., Midtown: Mark Taylor Cunningham (license)