The Woodland Park Thinning Story Thickens

THE WOODLAND PARK THINNING STORY THICKENS The backlash to the clearing of Woodland Park vegetation behind the 7 townhomes he’s building on Wrightwood St. seems to have encouraged first-time developer Bill Workman to make hardhat-in-hand rounds this week with local media: He’s given similar statements regretting the snafu to Hair Balls, KUHF, Click2Houston, and abc13. But more details are coming out that complicate a situation that Workman maintains resulted from a miscommunication with a subcontractor hired, he says, only to grade the site: Debris from what’s been reported to be 3/4 of an acre of parkland has been pushed down to the banks of Little White Oak Bayou, presenting a possible drainage problem — which, of course, the grading was undertaken in the first place to solve. And the claim that only invasive species had been removed doesn’t seem to be the case, either, reports the Houston Chronicle: “The Parks Department reported that the cleared property included some healthy trees,” write Erin Mulvaney and Mike Norris. (As many as 100, estimates abc13.) “Reforestation and replanting will be necessary, and erosion control and possible regrading of the site may be required, officials said. A debris pile will also need to be removed. Workman said a large amount of bamboo and an undergrowth of vines were removed in the clearing.” [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo: Andrea Greer

31 Comment

  • Yank his permits and fine him up to his ears. Inundate city council and mayor with objections–very good previous comments on this subject.

  • Sounds like this is going to be pricey and painful for Mr. Workman.

  • They should require the replanting to be trees of similar height and caliper.

  • He should go to jail. This may sound extreme but trees on public property fulfill more than just an aesthetic function. If he had hired someone to trespassed on public property to destroy a pump that mitigates flooding because he didn’t like the noise it makes, or say he hired some one to go into the park and bulldozed the basketball court and the tennis court he would go to jail! That doesn’t even come close to 3/4 acres.

  • pay up Bill workman. You screwed up now fix it on your dime.

  • 100 trees at 30000 a tree, plus a hefty fine, in addition to paying for drainage repairs and a yanking of his builders permit for a year–let’s make an example of him

  • I think he knew exactly what he was doing, making his property have clear sight lines which would make his properties sell.

  • @Robert Proctor, by that logic all the Occupy people should have been arrested, after all they also destroyed public property, specifically parks, and were doing it for their own personal financial gain.

  • @Shannon – $3 million + inability to complete buildings? That’s a little excessive.

  • Lots of people trying to out faux outrage each other. After reading the ever increasing demands for blood from the tittybabies, I have decided that I am on the side of Mr. Workman. You people are worse than a lynch mob. I wonder if you expressed this level of outrage at the seller of your Apple products?

    (really, I’m not buying that this is just a routine error of judgment, and thus requires a good spankie…my personal preference is that a suitable penance would be to restore the wild as much as possible, but using natives instead of tallows, etc.)

  • Ugh, commonsense, you’re so addled by your political position that even in cases where actual harm is done (i.e. the razing of 3/4 acre of public parkland) you have to inject your weird, irrelevant politics into it. Your arguments about the Occupy movement are both ludicrously false and complete non-sequiturs having nothing to do with the issue at hand. But thanks for caricaturing yourself.

  • Look, this guy knew he was destroying public property–he’s lucky he’s not in jail–and no 3 million isn’t excessive, considering he clear cut a public park so his property would have a better view then came up with some pathetic lie that nobody with a pulse would buy–

  • @MW, commonsense makes a good point. Anyone destroying public property ought to be punished. The Occupy protestors had no more right to do the damage they did than Mr. Workman. If they did, then anyone could claim a political reason for destroying public property.

  • Truly a lost Eden, like many urban parks a perfect place for a picnic or a direct meteor hit.

  • Thanks for summing up my sentiments, MW.

  • @MW – Please don’t encourage a known troll…

    Woodland Park destruction was for private gain. Not sure what exactly the Occupy protesters ‘destroyed’, but their use of a public park for purposes of a civil protest is part of a long tradition in this country. Lastly, interesting to note that New York City had to pay protestors over $360,000 compensation for the protestors’ property destroyed by NYC’s finest.

    I agree with Rob Proctor on this.

  • Darn, I had “Benghazi” in my Commonsense red-herring off topic rant pool.

  • Shhh, don’t mention the B word, NSA is listening.

    Occupy crowd damaged the trees, the grass, trashed the place, cost cities millions in cleaning and policing. They most definitely did it for Personal Financial Gain, they protested for more money for themselves. There was clear intent.
    The builder’s intent is not that clear it could have been an accident, omission, incompetence, etc. He said he will comply with the remedies the city officials will put force and until he does not comply with those, there’s nothing can be done criminally or civilly.

  • While I tend to be skeptical of the “honest error” excuse, I also think it’s a bit much to jump right to condemnation of the man. Is it probable it was an error? That’s a subjective questions. Is it possible? Yes. Contractors and subs screw up all the time. And honestly, this isn’t that unbelievable…i.e. that an area adjoining a lot gets cleared. There seem to be a lot of armchair judge/jury/executioners here…let’s back the trolley up a stop. Personally, I’m outraged that the park was damaged. But I’m not willing to Benghazi the guy out of hand. If he pays for remediation, and does what he’s supposed to do, then I don’t think ongoing retribution is necessary. As much as I love parkland, we do need to keep this in perspective. He didn’t mow down someone’s kid here. It’s serious, but let’s leave the demonizing to the talking heads on the news shows.

  • The one acre destroyed is ten percent of the WOODED area of the Park. The new clear view of the bayou provided by the acre of clearing goes tooooooo Preston Woods of Preston Woods Design and his family or so he told several neighbors before the oops. Woods has been a developer for YEARS check his website. He attended functions of FWP friends of Woodland park. Since when does a bulldozer do any more than what he is paid for? at the first upset the contractor commented it was done “to improve the view”. lawyer up guys.By now the city attorney has spoken to Rogue dozer and got the truth. Yep I guess $250k for remediation then multiply 3-7 times for intentional conduct and oops the public no longer has access to the most densely birded part of the park. It all stinks!, The city will get this right.

  • But he didn’t just clear an area adjacent to his lot, he cleared a swath all the way down to Little White Oak Bayou. I suspect he took a calculated risk and it backfired. I doubt that the punishment will be harsh, but I hope it is.

  • Any one giving this guy the benefit of the doubt has not been to the site. It is so obvious this was done purposefully, to gain a view of the bayou. The intent was to destroy public property for private gain, and it was a criminal act. Commonsense, shouldn’t you be commenting on instead?

  • Developers beware. This break it, act sorry, pay a fine, and get what want days are over. Woods and workman adios to your development. I bet the bank loan is being called right now.

  • Oh so now me and my dogs have half a park? Shame on you. Your business will fail.

  • @Rogue neighbor, based on what? Unicorns and pixie dust that we all missed?

  • Common sense, take a look and make up your own mind. You seem to be a mouth price for developers. I hear the state flood are due Monday.

  • Yowza. Walked the site today and it is horrific. You look at what they cleared and you say to yourself ‘why was the dozer even down there?’. I’d like to hear the explanation. Has the builder made a public comment on this yet?

  • For a good laugh google up KHOU Woodland Park. Mr. Workman states what happened. Buttttttt where is Preston Wood the designer architect of the develpment with 16 years experience and owner of the eastern most town home that can now see bayou water from his living room per channel 26 news report???? I hear the general contractor is the brother of Preston’s wife. Any one know of any other work done by Preston Wood in the flood way. I heard he has something up on tc jester. I wonder if any nonsense occurred on that site? This is no accident, just take a look.

  • They piled tons and tons of dirt to build that ground high enough to build those homes, which its probably super illegal and dangerous. Karma never fails

  • As a close neighbor to this property, I would just like to see this issue resolved so we can enjoy that part of the park again.