The Tax Break That Boosts Traffic; Why New Homes Burn 8 Times Faster

JFK Blvd. at Rankin Rd.

Photo of Radiant Fountains, JFK Blvd. at Rankin Rd.: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool


18 Comment

  • Re: Fire article. If read it more carefully and look at some other stories on it, the 90% of problems with the fire spreading is the modern FURNITURE, not the house itself. Sure the engineered beam is much lighter than a solid wood beam but that particular I-beam they used is the cheapest thing you can buy and is intended to replace 2x12s and not solid beams. Additionally an older homes is much more likely to CATCH on fire because of outdated electrical and heating systems. Article must have been sponsored by the fire sprinkler union.

  • If they turn 600 Jefferson into a boring glass box I will have a mental breakdown. It’s the 70’s and 80’s all over again. While the current structure isn’t an art-deco masterpiece it is a great modern building. Every building does not need to be a sky blue glass box. I was hoping 800 Bell would be too large to renovate the facade but now NO building is safe. Let’s slowly pull out our erasers and wipe away any history or representation of an era long gone.

    I’ve been in a few buildings that are considered “Class A”, and the interiors are complete garbage. They should really consider putting that exterior money into the interior to improve it vastly. Maybe they could hire an architect that hasn’t done interiors on buildings on the beltway. Maybe they could even shoot for some LEED certification to lower maintenance costs.

  • Clearly, because purchasing a fire sprinkler system and retrofitting my HOME makes perfect sense.

    I’m going to run right out and do that.

  • Get your government hands off my parking subsidy

  • So new homes are nothing but glorfied piles of kindling crammed with lots of cheap, off-gassing crap..we’ve been saying that on Swamplot for years!

  • From what I hear, the International Code Council is leaning toward requiring fire sprinkler systems in new residential construction at some point. My guess is it will be reality within the next 10 years. The current* residential code gives requirements for fire sprinkler systems IF one is being installed and they are substantially less rigorous than for commerical construction (for example, PVC piping is allowed).

    *By ‘current’ I mean 2 years ago when I was working on design for a house that would include a fire spinkler system.

  • International Code Council!? sounds like UN Agenda 21 mumbo jumbo! I oppose!

  • Dana-X, only people living in dilapidated shitgalows slowly dying of asbestos and lead poisoning are saying that.

  • commonsense is a better parody of commonsense than NotCommonsense.

  • Part of the problem is that modern construction uses gypsum firewalls as opposed to masonry firewalls. If there’s a seam, crack or hole in the gypsum sheets, fire can easily get around it and spread, well, like wildfire. They believe that’s one reason why the fire that destroyed that apartment complex under construction spread so fast. I’ll take my 50s-era condo with its brick firewall that extends through the roof over new construction any day.

  • @commonsense: International Code Council is the organization that writes our locally adopted building codes.

    I-beams are mostly used as an alternative to wood trusses.

    Some municipalities (Bellaire, West U, Spring Valley, etc) are already requiring fire sprinkler systems in new homes. It’s not too expensive in new homes or extensive remodels.

  • Residential fire sprinkler systems have been required for new builds in at least one of The Villages for around a decade. Circa 2005, a business colleague complained about revising plans for her new single family home because of recent changes to the local code.

  • I’m aware of the sprinkler code, in fact we’ve never built anything without the sprinklers, even if it’s CoH where it’s not required. We also usually use open web 36″ trusses because of the span requirements and ability to run ductwork and plumbing easier. You always see old homes on the news catching fire, you never see new high end construction catching fire unless it’s for insurance money.

  • @commonsense
    Maybe you only see the old home fires on the news because they burn longer…the new ones go up in smoke before the cameras can get there. (or that is what the article would have you believe) Our house is from the 1940’s, some parts of it are great others are not.

    In other news I think the Esplanade & other work on the East side of town has been nice. Things may evolve or shift, but I don’t think we have to worry about the Latino Culture going away as it is a true part of this city.

  • can we please make commonsense’s last comment the COD?

    I just want to see a Swamplot picture of sneaking away from a newly built townhouse on fire with a gasoline can. It will also have the nice bonus of upsetting Shannon again.

  • Re: the East End’s ethnic issues, I do like the idea that the East End should carry a Mexican theme. I don’t much like that they’re labeling it “Hispanic” or “Latino”. The fact is that it is an area that’s not just heavily Hispanic, but that the Hispanics there are disproportionately Mexican in ancestral origin by comparison with many of Houston’s other Hispanic-majority neighborhoods. However, the East End is a big place and there are areas in the East End that have a different flavor or historical significance that should also be emphasized. Parks that front Buffalo Bayou should get a more port-driven aesthetic; Navigation Boulevard is perhaps the most appropriate thoroughfare in all of Houston to feature that theme. Old Harrisburg (although all of it has been replaced multiple times over its history) should perhaps get a Texas Independence theme and it has a ready-made symbol that it can draw on because it was the birthplace of the first lone star flag. And that all of these themes should coexist and sometimes overlap and influence one another; and having them do that should be a goal unto itself because that is also a theme in Texas’ cultural history.

  • Re: the parking subsidy. I tend to agree that the tax benefits related to parking are too poorly targeted to achieve any worthwhile benefit for society, however I also disagree with them that the transit subsidy remains worthwhile. Eliminate them both, re-allocate funding toward transportation issues that further interstate commerce, and allow states and localities to configure their own intra-state and regional transportation policy.

    In general, reset and simplify the federal tax policies and machinations. That’s the bigger issue. Its so complex that marginal subsidies like this one rarely have any effect on consumer or employer behavior at the individual or firm level.

  • The east end stuff is mostly about folks just complaining because of change. These old folks used to wish they lived in a nice neighborhood, but now that it is moving that way they want it to stop. I realize their aim is to keep the culture intact, but as far as demographics go those areas have lots folks with latino roots. The difference is they are young professionals and dont fit the mold of the old east end. That said, it would be nice if the parks and renovations did retain more touches from the past.