Big Plans for New Southside Place Homes A Little Smaller

BIG PLANS FOR NEW SOUTHSIDE PLACE HOMES A LITTLE SMALLER Those 45 3-and-a-half-story houses that Lovett Homes said it was planning for the western end of the old Bellaire Technology Center site (shown here) met a lot of resistance, reports the Examiner‘s Robin Foster: “In a packed public hearing Jan. 29, neighbors expressed concern over traffic, visitor parking and the taller buildings.” Since then, writes Foster, Lovett Homes met with some of those “neighbors” to share scaled-back plans, which were presented at a second Southside Place hearing on February 27: The revised plans are for 39 homes no taller than 3 stories, with an interior street for more parking, wider setbacks, more common space, and “larger-than-average trees.” [The Examiner; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

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  • At some point it becomes cheaper to just sue some of the loudest busybodies individually for torturous interference. Once they realize it’ll cost tens of thousands to drag it through courts, it’ll take the fight right out of them. That’s what we’ve done before.

  • Traffic concerns? I would imagine more people worked at this Tech Center than there will be living there now.

  • They’d likely be happier with the big new homes than learning whatever is buried underneath those old research labs!

  • Yeah, Lovett has some serious soil sampling ahead of it.

  • There’s no such thing as “torturous interference.” Nor is there such a thing as suing residents for participating at a public hearing.

  • Then you don’t know much about our legal system… anybody interfering in a legal business transaction can be sued in civil court (torturous interference is usually the term used in pleadings). Whether it’s a valid claim or not is immaterial, the prospective cost of defense usually stops anyone in their tracks. The reason you sue them individually and separately is so they’re forced to use their own money and not association’s or some interest group’s. Just participating in a public hearing probably won’t warrant such a d*ck move but busybodies have a tendency of going above and beyond the call of duty to make waves.
    It’s sometimes used on HOA’s which will not approve a certain design based on internal political reasons vs. compliance with written deed restrictions and people who unreasonably complain about worker’s street parking, noise, or create general headaches just because they don’t like your project.

  • I worked there in the 90s — little-to-no traffic onto Holcombe because it was a 24-hour facility, i.e. not fixed “floods” of employee traffic.

    They were researching oil samples, if anything, so I’d hope there wouldn’t be anything suspect buried beneath the property.

    One of the buildings had amazing wood flooring that I hope is salvaged.

  • Tell me again how I don’t know much about our legal system, please. I needed a dose of humor in my day.

    Again, I repeat, there’s no such thing as “torturous interference.” Not in Texas, not, to my knowledge, anywhere.

    Maybe you meant “tortious interference.” It’s hard to say what you meant, as you describe with glee the possibility of suing individuals who protested a zoning matter at a Southside Place PZC hearing. And there’s no such tort against protestants in administrative proceedings.

    Oh, you can file such a lawsuit. You can file any lawsuit your heart desires. But one of those folks is probably well off enough to hire a lawyer and get attorneys’ fees and costs of court assigned against you when your frivolous “torturous interference” claim is dismissed as a baseless cause of action.

  • First of all, grammar nazi, there they’re there are.
    Secondly, I’m very well aware it’s a frivolous lawsuit, but I have yet to see one dismissed in real life. The point is not to have a winnable case, the point is to scare someone with huge legal costs, or get an order for them not to interfere and drag the start of lawsuit until the project is completed and then dismiss it.
    Yes, technically someone can sue back for legal costs etc. but it is extremely unlikely. Majority of the tame everybody walks away from the table paying their own costs.
    The theory vs. reality of our court system works very well to shut somebody up until the project is complete.

    We had a neighbor that called the cops saying we were digging on her property. The way she made it sound that we had a backhoe in her front yard digging a bunker. In reality she was complaining about her misunderstanding of a survey in the back of her property by about 6 inches. Then she backed into one of our construction trailers with her Lexus and wanted us to pay the damages. I informed her nicely that the trailer was parked legally and if she did not pay for the damages on the trailer and drove off, I would report it as a hit and run. And the story goes on. One “frivolous” lawsuit filed and we did not hear from her for the rest of the construction.

  • Explain to me how protesting at a government hearing gives rise to a tortious interference suit. Those suits can only be filed against someone who interferes with a contractual relationship or the performance of a contract. None of those apply here.

  • Boy, Ross, you must be one of those “grammar nazis” too!

  • I used common sense and read the linked article. Perhaps one of such name should too. Southside Place is strictly zoned. “The Southside Place Planning and Zoning Commission has taken no action on the proposal but is expected to meet soon to vote on a recommendation for City Council to consider.” That means nothing will be built without the city’s (read residents of Southside Place) approval.

  • I’m pretty sure CS meant exactly what was said when referring to “tortuous interference.” The evidence is the proud chortling over the self-described “d*ck move.”

  • Ross, if they play any part in influencing permitting or any other fringe effect on your project, they CAN be thrown into the lawsuit. Same way you throw the title company and loan officer into a lawsuit on a RE transaction that went sideways. Which is still immaterial, I can sue them for violating my overflight rights or my Indian casino gambling rights on my property. The goal is not to have a winnable case, the goal is to stifle their actions until the project is complete, and we all know it’s easy to drag out a start to a civil trial for up to two years.

  • “The goal is not to have a winnable case, the goal is to stifle their actions until the project is complete, and we all know it’s easy to drag out a start to a civil trial for up to two years.” Commonsense.

    “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless the lawyer reasonably believes that there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous.” Rule 3.01, Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.

    Commonsense, I assume you are not a lawyer, because if you are you should already have been familiar with the above. I know it is easy to become cynical about the legal process, and many people use lawsuits the way you describe. But, thankfully, there are safeguards like these in place to protect us from people like you and the unethical lawyers that you hire.

  • “if they play any part in influencing permitting or any other fringe effect on your project, they CAN be thrown into the lawsuit.”

    Again, Commonsense, no. No they cannot. People that show up to a public hearing to voice their concerns (that is, after all, the subject of this article) cannot be sued for your make believe tort of “influencing permitting or any other fringe effect.” In fact, the administrative process – which includes PZC proceedings – specifically allows affected persons to participate in a proceeding, make legal and factual arguments, put on evidence and witnesses, etc – all for the goal of influencing the permitting decision.

    Nobody doubts you’re a smart person with experience in real estate, whatever it may be. But law is clearly not your background, and you’re doing everyone a disservice by pridefully recommending sanctionable, frivolous legal actions.

  • SH, I won’t disagree that there are tons of rules and laws and procedures, but there’s a huge disconnect between Theory and Reality. The reality is that they’re practically never enforced.”Reasonably Believes” is the key here, it’s a pretty low benchmark to reach. The civil legal system is just another tool to achieve a given goal and used as such on daily basis.

  • heyzeus, I hear you that you have moral objections to such things, but their effectiveness cannot be denied. I need only to bring up the Robinhood vs. Swamplot scuffle a little while ago. The lawsuit was a setup and a total BS, yet, it cost Swamplot money and now nothing disparaging can be said about Robinhood here and we all have to wait for our posts to be approved by the moderator. So, technically, Robinhood folks got exactly what they wanted.

  • A suit as described here seems to be a SLAPP suit. Texas law allows a defendant in a SLAPO suit to stop discovery and force a hearing within 30 days. If the plaintiff is found to have sued due to the defendant’s legitimate participation in a governmental proceeding, the cade is dismissed, and the judge “shall” award attorneys fees to the defendant. I dont think you will see any suits on this.

  • A suit specifically against someone speaking out at a public hearing could be considered a SLAPP suit but would be extremely and notoriously difficult to prove since the plaintiff “Reasonably Believes” the defendant is acting with a pattern of malice which may or may not include other actions. The people that yell the loudest at public hearings usually do other things like trying to influence the decision makers outside of normal forums and spread disinformation and defamatory statements.