07/26/17 2:30pm

The HAR listing for the home at 5116 Avenue H in the Second Ward, for sale for $99,990, identified the property’s subdivision as MEX Y CAN. Which seemed notable enough in the rapidly changing neighborhood for the curious name to appear as discussion fodder yesterday on Reddit. The subdivision name is accurate, appearing on county tax records: The property’s developer was required to give a name to the subdivision when the single 5,000-sq.-ft. lot on which it stood (at the time part of a subdivision named Engel) was divided into thirds last year, in order to allow him to sell off individually the 3 existing homes on the property. “Actually no one had any comments [on the name] at the time of replatting,” the developer notes.

MEX Y CAN, the name he assigned to the subdivision, “is for the name Mexican and (Y in Spanish) Canadian,” he explains to Swamplot. “The love of my life is Mexican and I am Canadian. . . . There is no other meaning or significance behind it.” The motivation for choosing this particular name? “Having myself, the love of my life, and our desire to be memorialized in the area for eternity like our love.”

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Subdivided
02/15/17 4:30pm

glen-forest-detention-site

glen-forest-stormwater-detention-basinJust south of the Earthman Resthaven Funeral Home and Cemetery on I-45 — and just north of Greens Bayou — the Harris County Flood Control District is in the process of digging up more than 2 million cubic feet of soil from the Glen Forest Stormwater Detention Basin-to-be. (That’s the purple shaded area in the map shown here, right upstream from the cluster of bayou-side apartment complexes that flooded on Tax Day and helped spur the pre-dawn conversion of Greenspoint Mall into an emergency shelter.) If the name “Glen Forest” strikes you as a bit mid-century-suburban-neighborhood, that’s because it is: the 160-acre site is named after the sixties-era Glen Forest subdivision formerly constructed on the property. The neighborhood was purchased and demolished as part of HCFCD’s buyout program in the early 2000’s, but the roadways and signs had mostly stuck around, at times serving as a convenient backdrop for unsanctioned motor sports, as demonstrated in the video below:

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Greens- and Grave-side Digging
03/23/16 1:45pm

Shadow Creek Ranch aerial photo, Pearland, TX, 77584

What could be causing the mysterious unpleasant odor Pearland residents have been reporting through TCEQ complaint channels since August of last year — primarily from the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision (shown above) between 288 and FM 521 south of Clear Creek? TCEQ’s Andrew Keese spoke with the Houston Chronicle recently about the 26 previous and ongoing investigations, which are triggered whenever a finger is pointed at a new possible emitter of the smell. So far, Keese says, no odors have been officially detected that qualify as a ‘nuisance condition’, but he encourages residents to use the TCEQ’s odor log form to help the search effort by describing “the precise character of the odor, [relevant] weather conditions, and times” when the smell is noted.

Before you ask, yes: TCEQ knows about the 60-ft tall mounds of garbage right across FM 521 from the subdivision, at Republic Waste Service’s Blue Ridge Landfill (visible in the bottom left corner of the above photo as a pinkish blob).  Pearland residents previously sought to keep the landfill from more than doubling in acreage and nearly tripling in height (and blocking the operation of several Doppler Radar stations in the process). The landfill (which started accepting garbage several years before Shadow Creek Ranch’s developers broke ground nearby) will eventually get to pile as high as the 170 ft. allowed by its expanded TCEQ permit — but per a 2009 settlement agreement with the city of Pearland it will have to wait until 2021 before rising to only 130 ft., and wait another 8 years after that to reach for its full vertical potential.

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Sniffing Out the Culprits in Pearland
02/05/16 1:45pm

BUILDING AROUND 1 CEMETERY AND POSSIBLY OVER ANOTHER IN CYPRESS’S ALDEN WOODS Site Plan for the Alden Woods Development, Huffmeister Rd., Cypress, TX 77429 “I said to the county attorney’s representative, this looks like the spot, this looks like a cemetery,” University of Houston anthropology professor Ken Brown told ABC 13’s Ted Oberg, discussing a visit two years ago to the land currently being developed as the Alden Woods subdivision. Darling Homes is developing the 70-acre tract off Huffmeister Rd., just north of the intersection with Maxwell Rd. in Cypress, into a gated community of 3,000-to-5,000-sq.-ft. homes with interior courtyards. Brown investigated another old cemetery on the land for the Harris County Historical Commission; neighbors took him to a site on the other side of the project area rumored to be the burial ground of the slaves held by nearby landowners (some of whom are thought to be buried in the graveyard Brown was sent to check out). The landowner’s cemetery got legal protection from development with the help of the county attorney’s office and still sits in a forested area in the subdivision. The slave cemetery site was not further investigated archaeologically, despite the alleged presence of an employee of the attorney’s office on the site with Brown as he identified groups of east-west-oriented depressions which “[suggested] family type plots within a cemetery.” A statement from the Harris County Attorney’s Office to ABC13 says that the office will now work with the subdivision’s developer to investigate the site. [ABC13] Alden Woods site plan: Darling Homes

01/29/14 11:00am

Cleanup After Oil Spill in Northwoods Subdivision, Mayflower, ArkansasYou know the old joke about suburban developments: That they’re typically named after the natural features that they replace. But in proudly announcing the name it has chosen for the new 692-acre residential development the company is planning near the yet-to-be-built northern segment of the Grand Parkway between I-45 and U.S. 59, Toll Brothers may have made that cliché seem quaint. According to the publicly traded homebuilder, which is working with Cernus Development on the project, the top selling point for this new community is its proximity to the new corporate campus ExxonMobil is building just 6 miles to the west. Northwoods will have room for 1,000 homes built by Toll Brothers and other builders, along with “resort-style amenities that take advantage of the mature trees and topography,” including trails, parks, lakes, and a recreation center.

It’ll also have the same name as a 62-home subdivision in the Little Rock suburb of Mayflower, Arkansas, where an ExxonMobil pipeline accident last March resulted in the release of 210,000 gallons of diluted bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, onto the streets and back yards of the middle-class neighborhood.

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Northwoods, Your Name Is Leaking
10/30/13 10:00am

HOW EASY IS IT TO GET OUT OF IDYLWOOD? A reader wonders if subdividing lots might get you new subdivision rules: “There is a great big ole sign [pictured at right] in the vacant lot at 6636 Meadowlawn in Idylwood. It is a notice of a request to replat the lot into two single family lots. It is plenty large enough, being one full lot and parts of the two lots on either side. As it stands, I can understand why they’d want to replat. The company that bought the property is Nadco LLC. That in itself is not so strange but what is strange is that the sign also says that the two new lots will create a new subdivision known as Idylwood Partial Replat #1. . . . I’m wondering if the ‘new subdivision’ would be subject to Idylwood deed restrictions or if they could totally disregard setbacks and lot lines among other things.” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

07/17/13 10:00am

Note: Read more about that tree here.

The sign shows that a variance is pending to reduce the setback here along Spur 527 — at left in the photo above — the better to fit 15 single-family lots on the less-than-an-acre property between W. Alabama and Marshall St. in the Westmoreland Historic District. A site plan included in the variance application for the subdivision Carnegie Oaks at Westmoreland shows that the 0.83-acre lot would be parceled out, with driveway access to the north from Marshall and to the south from W. Alabama. The lot’s right across the street from that fixed-up former Skylane complex the Spur. A city rep says that the planning commission will decide on the variance next week.

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07/09/13 3:00pm

This solid swath of property neighbored by tightly packed cul-de-sacs in Hunters Creek Village appears to be swinging that way: County records show that just one 7,549-sq.-ft. home now stands on these 4.4 acres at the corner of Memorial and Voss, and a Hunters Creek Village employee tells Swamplot that the property is being subdivided and 7 new homes will be arranged inside the gated community called Reynolds Court Addition.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

04/12/07 9:13am

Woodwind Lakes Website Logo

Here’s another Texas tale about discovering oil on your property—only not the way you’ve probably dreamed about. Don’t we all live on top of former oil fields around here? Many of us do, but in Woodwind Lakes, a relatively recent development inside the Beltway and north of 290, some residents are living on the more toxic and unremediated spoils of a former gas processing plant. Houston Press writer Todd Spivak unearths the gooey details:

The Brookses . . . hired Klein, a licensed geologist, to take more soil and groundwater samples from their backyard. The results were chilling.

Klein found elevated levels of benzene, ethylbenzene, styrene and acetone. Total petroleum hydrocarbons were detected as high as 23,000 milligrams per kilogram — more than twice the level deemed safe by state regulators.

Worst of all: A layer of hot, oily sludge was discovered just one to four feet below the surface. Touching the sod or breathing the air likely exposed them to dangerous contamination, Klein says.

There’s real drama here, but we’re only scratching the surface: What about the strange rashes on pets, the angst over diminishing property values, the vicious feuds among neighbors? It all highlights how easy it can be to put up fancy Houston homes just about anywhere. So many tiny scandals wrapped up in this spicy story:

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