Ashby Highrise Developer: Knocked-Down Fence Was on Our Property

Responding to last Friday’s video and story showing Cherry Demolition crews knocking a brick wall of the Maryland Manor apartments onto the backyard fence of Ashby Highrise neighbor (and videographer) Scott Reamer the previous Wednesday, apartment tower developer Matthew Morgan of Buckhead Investment Partners offers a few clarifications. In the video, which was posted on Swamplot and Culturemap, Reamer doesn’t come across as particularly happy about the way demolition is proceeding. “You got it! Good job! Now what about my dog?,” he shouts as the bricks fall, just a few feet from the back of his home.

According to a statement issued by Morgan, however, the 55-second video doesn’t tell the whole story:


. . . The wall did not ‘collapse,’ and Mr. Reamer’s fence was not ‘crush[ed]’ or ‘destroy[ed]’. Instead, debris fell on an approximately 8′ section of the fence in question, which was unfortunately knocked loose and alighted at an angle against a tree. Most importantly, however, the fence in Mr. Reamer’s video encroaches onto our property (meaning it is built on our side of the property line) . . . . We have offered (so far without acceptance) to have the fence in question rebuilt on Mr. Reamer’s side of the property line and at no cost to him. After the debris knocked the fence section over, Cherry immediately offered to remove it and repair the damage but were rebuffed by Mr. Reamer and told to stay off of his property.

. . . In an effort to calm Mr. Reamer down, Cherry decided to proceed by hand behind his property in the manner shown on Reamer’s video, rather than with the mechanical process utilized successfully on all other similarly constructed buildings on the property. Had Cherry been left alone to do the work mechanically without trying to placate Mr. Reamer, the fence section may have never been damaged.

  • Oops! Controversial Ashby high rise build accidently crushes a neighbor’s fence: Bricks are flying! [Culturemap]
  • Demo Crews Take a Fence, Ashby Highrise Neighbors Take Offense [Swamplot]
  • Ashby Highrise coverage [Swamplot]
  • Video still: Scott Reamer via Tyler Rudick

    36 Comment

    • A normal person would accept a new fence, maybe even ask for a nicer fence and be done with it, but no, he was looking for any excuse to continue the fight.
      I hope the cooling plant, the noisy backup generator, and the garbage containers will all be located along his property line.

    • In other words it’s really not his fence to complain about. Hope he remembers that when he complains that the parking garage is not the agreed upon distance from the property line. It will be. Just not “his” property line.

    • It’s official. I am losing faith in Swamplot.
      The Southwest Inn burned last Friday – claiming four lives. It was a building with a long, sordid history, currebtly owned by a shadowy investor from California. Was there any investigation into it by Swamplot? Any research into the construction of the building and its recent code violations? Anything at all? No! Instead we get ANOTHER article about the Ashby High Rise!
      Very, very frustrating.

    • HAHAHHAHA!!!!!

    • I hope his site doesnt continue giving credence to these entitled babies and whiners. The stop ashby highrise people are so ridiculous.

    • I just knew that guy was looking to kick some dirt around. Don’t let the facts get in your way fella. What a guy!

    • Normal people would first agree to a jointly funded survey to establish the property line. And then they’d discuss where the new fence should go. But this isn’t about normal people. It’s about the ongoing argument over which should prevail: highest-and-best-use versus preservation-of-residential-character.

    • @ZAW, that was indeed a very tragic event. I saw the fire/smoke during it’s peak and it seemed way out of proportion of what was burning. It looked more like a chemical factory burning than a wood structure. Also, the catastrophic collapse of the structure that early in the process also seems bizarre.

    • I notice the usual Swamplot curmudgeons are nowhere to be found on this article.

    • Really Dave? The first comment hopes for loud machinery to be located next to a guy’s house in retribution for having the audacity to complain about a brick wall collapsing into his yard. Curmudgeons be curmudgeoning.

    • NIYOY…. Not In Your Own Yard !!

    • Yes, the Roadrunner Inn fire was tragic. My next door neighbor is a Houston firefighter who has worked with one of the firefighters who was killed. I find it hard to believe that the building was up to code given how fast it burned.

      There may well have been a surveying error many years ago. In that case, the construction company should have contacted the homeowner if their survey/plans indicated a discrepancy. Where the fence is doesn’t lead to permission to damage it or demo it accidentally or without warning.

    • I have a new single family house going up on my street that will be a big improvement. But, I still get pretty PO-ed whenever they park their construction trucks all over the street, leaving little room to get my car out of the driveway in the morning. I could imagine that this homeowner would not be in the mood for a reasonable resolution on the fence when their new neighbor is a 22 story high rise that will be under construction for probably close to two years.

    • @Marmer- When Mr. Reamer purchased his home, the survey and title company would have noted the encroachment and he obviously accepted title as is or he constructed the fence improperly himself. Regardless of encroachment, Mr. Reamer is owed a new fence and the Buckhead folks have offered it up, only to be rebuffed. Don’t forget that Mr. Reamer is a developer himself so he is just trying to be an obstructionist, he knows this whole drill all too well.

    • Sorry, but right now it’s one guy’s word vs. video evidence of faulty demolition work. Sure, there MAY have been reasons for it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it happened.

    • What about the bricks hitting Mr. Reamer’s house? Was Mr. Reamers house on their property as well?

    • The fact the fence encroached the neighboring property means virtually nothing. If his fence was actually built correctly along his property line, the result would have been the same. The debris fell into his yard and on his house by an incompetent demo company. You tools will excuse anything that doesn’t agree with your ideological biases.

    • WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I don’t know about property lines and all that, but I bet centerpoint would be happy to come remove those trees that are planted way too close to the power lines. That’s a hazard if I ever saw one.
      Did he erect a ladder to get that close to the power lines, or is that how close his house is to the power lines, isn’t there a 5′ easement where you can’t build any structure that close to a power line? Maybe the video doesn’t show proportions right, but that looks a lot closer than 5′.
      Either way, I wish I knew who at centerpoint to alert of this serious risk to the neighborhood.

    • @hooligan, there’s no evidence that bricks hit a house.

    • @toasty, the block book map shows a 5 foot easement with 3 feet unobstructed. That’s not much of an easement.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if a large number of fences in older, established neighborhoods don’t ‘encroach’ a couple of inches either way on the property lines.

    • I love the pro Ashby group! The group who hates the spoiled rich people of the neighborhood but fully support the impoverished developer in anything they choose.

      Developer: “A parking garage for 300+ for every neighborhood! Those car alarms sound so soothing at night.”
      Pro Ashby: “Amen! We only wish we could remove the mufflers from the cars as they enter the garage.”
      Developer: “Construction will take a few years and have no noticeable effect on traffic or noise.”
      Pro Ashby: “Of course not. Who doesn’t guide a few hundred cement trucks in and out of their neighborhood yearly with no ill effects? Plus, as everyone knows, cement trucks are nearly silent these days as are most construction techniques.”
      Developer: “We will have at least one guy on site with a regular garden hose spraying water to keep dust down.”
      Pro Ashbys: “That’s one guy too many! Anyone dumb enough to buy a house in the city of Houston knows that anything can be built anywhere and deserves to breath construction dust 24/7. Besides I hear cement dust is good for the respiratory tract.”

      Ahh…But the funniest part is watching the pro Ashbys pick a side and prance around as if standing up for the highrise is somehow sticking it to the rich and entitled. Hilarious! Especially since we all know there is absolutely no entitlement or money involved in building a multi million dollar, 20+ story, high rent highrise in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Too funny!

    • “I love the pro Ashby group! The group who hates the spoiled rich people of the neighborhood but fully support the impoverished developer in anything they choose.”

      I don’t think it’s a matter of supporting the developer so much as it is not supporting the spoiled rich people who think they can throw their weight around and harass whomever they like.

    • Personally I think the building is hideous. But then it matches the attitude of the neighborhood so it will fit in nicely.

    • Sounds like “revisionist history” on the part of the developers to me. The video doesn’t lie.
      The wall fell on the guy’s fence and into his yard. Can’t imagine why more care was not taken to prevent this–like netting or some other precautions. I, too, would have been pretty ticked off if this had happened to me.
      Then to have the developer say ” Oh , BTW the fence was on the developer’s property” is the height of arrogance.
      Sounds like these developers have no interest in working with the community, giving a bad rap to many reputable developers.

    • “Sounds like these developers have no interest in working with the community, giving a bad rap to many reputable developers.”

      They probably have joined the growning number of people who don’t want to have anything to do with these people let alone work with them. Sometimes it’s best to ignore them but then they want to make sure no one does. They, not the developers, are the problem. Hopefully a judge this Friday will have the courage to say so.

    • Is it only me or have the NIMBYs developed a predilection for lying outright just lately? It’s gotten beyond just arguing in bad faith. And as they’ve pointed out (correctly), it’s ugly on both sides.

      I know that Swamplot is milking the controversy, but ZAW has a good point. Maybe its gone too far.

    • “I don’t think it’s a matter of supporting the developer so much as it is not supporting the spoiled rich people who think they can throw their weight around and harass whomever they like.”

      I disagree.
      First, I do not see Buckhead as the lowly, harrassed victim. If I lived in this neighborhood I would absolutely consider the construction of this highrise as a huge negative and try to prevent it. The construction noise, dirt and traffic will be non stop for several years, etc.
      Second, NIMBY vs. Buckhead does not exist. They are each the same rich and entitled figures doing their best to get things their way.
      Finally, I see no reason why Buckhead could not also be viewed as the entity that is, “throw[ing] their weight around and harrass[ing] whomever they like.” Seems to me that’s exactly what they are doing by insisting on this highrise in this neighborhood.

    • @Rocinante-I’m sorry but, I must disagree on most that you have posted. 1. This conversation and actions are all taking place in Houston, Texas, the largest city in the country with NO ZONING. Due to no zoning, anyone that so desires and has the financial where with all can pretty much build what they want where they want to in Houston. 2. The neighbors have a perception of being wronged; however, Buckhead has followed the absolute letter of the law while the neighbors have resorted to petty name calling, personal threats, legal manuevering, 2 year old temper tantrums. 3. The throwing of weight has solely been that of the neighbors when none of the above (#2) worked in their favor.

      Finally, while I totally support the construction of this building, I do agree with the argument that this may be the wrong place for this building but, it is totally within the law. Additionally, the NIMBY accusations come up because the neighbors do not seem to really care about this issue repeating itself in other areas of town. If there was a real concern for the greater good of the city, the neighbors would harness all of the negative energy into positive change for the city, alas that is not what they are doing.

    • @Higher Density
      I understand your points and agree that Houston has no zoning and Buckhead is not doing anything illegal.
      However, I disagree that the neighbors are not being wronged. I have not seen an argument other than, “it’s not illegal so it’s not wrong” that strongly justifies this highrise in this area.(The higher density argument does not work here, in my opinion, either.) If the building in question is to be constructed to the detriment of the neighborhood, which I believe it is, then Buckhead IS throwing their weight around, albeit legally, to have their way despite the best interests of the neighborhood. (I don’t believe the neighborhood will be destroyed but it will be negatively impacted. Especially during the years of construction and afterwords in the area nearest the highrise.)
      As for the many NIMBY protests- to my knowledge they have done nothing illegal, as the argument goes, no matter how annoying or inappropriate it may seem.

    • @Higher Density
      I also agree that harnessing the negative energy for positive change in Houston would be a good thing.

    • “As for the many NIMBY protests- to my knowledge they have done nothing illegal, as the argument goes, no matter how annoying or inappropriate it may seem.”

      Not that they’re ever enforced but Texas does have pretty good harassmentlaws. Both civil and criminal. As for these people as I recall at least one letter was sent, anonmyously of course, to the developers that was perceived as a threat to their children. In any case, stating publicly that you intend to harass the developers and those associated with them including tenants is pretty much “illegal” but of course most of these people seem to be attorneys so no doubt they know the thin line they can walk. But thin line or not, most perceive it as harassment. Which negates any possible sympathy for them. Not that they care. They believe they are “above” the rest of us as well as the law.

    • If people want land use rules, they should vote for candidates who will enact them. If they don’t, they should be prepared to live with the occasional Ashby situation. Add a strong sense of entitled whinging from the neighbors and you get a lot of the rest of the city rolling their eyes and tuning the whole thing out.

    • The developers might not be violating any laws, but the traffic on Bissonnet is already horrible and will be much worse with the construction. I can’t imagine who would want to live in this building. Actually, I hope no one buys the units.

    • @ Ross: The traffic on Bissonnet isn’t that bad to begin with. Left-hand turns near the curve at Broad Acres can be a little dicey, but this isn’t near there. And besides, these are apartments replacing apartments, and residences are origin and destination points for traffic at a fairly varied time of day by comparison with office buildings or retail or anything else really.

      Also, these will be apartments, not condos. It was originally going to be condos but the delays prompted by NIMBYs caused them to miss the brief window during which condos might’ve been financeable. Ironically, now that only apartments are financeable, these will be smaller units and there’ll be more of them, meaning more traffic, less affluent and more transient residents, a much higher rate of physical day-to-day occupancy even right from day one, and frankly that the odds of the project being a financial flop are tremendously reduced.

      The NIMBYs really shot themselves in the foot to give Buckhead a shot in the arm. I find it ironic and it makes me happy; I for one think that the developers are enhancing the neighborhood.