Both Sides Unhappy with the Ashby Highrise Ruling; Friendswood, the Movie

maximus coffee at 3900 Harrisburg Blvd

Photo of Maximus Coffee at 3900 Harrisburg Blvd.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


23 Comment

  • If there are any attorneys who read and comment, please explain to me how, if the trial court heard the case and made a judgment in favor of compensation for damages, the plaintiffs can expect an appeals court to change the award qualitatively, i.e. trading dollars for an injunction. It not as if the plaintiffs are saying we were awarded 1.2 million and we should have received 2 million. They are saying we were awarded 1.2 million and we want the tower stopped.

    The jury weighed the economic damage that the proposed structure would create and said, net/net the plaintiffs will lose 1.2 million in value. If the plaintiffs were to obtain an injunction, then couldn’t the developer claim economic harm? After all, the jury has spoke and the structure is fully compliant with the law.

  • Re: Ashby Highrise – Both sides equally unhappy is what we call a compromise, even if temporary. Does anyone know when the appeals will be exhausted?

  • I like how the McGuyver homes are being described as “near Memorial.” Someone should come up with a neighborhood name for the area including the Westview/Campbell intersection, right? (Also, it must sound cool in conversation to mention that one’s home was “McGuyvered together”…)

  • Why do people associate the Brio-site with Friendswood? It is not in Friendswood and Friendswood people would rarely even drive by it, since the main road through the site, Dixie Farm, goes only to Pearland. I grew up in Pearland, off Dixie Farm road and Pearland is much closer. The Brio-site is actually in neither city. That whole area is part of Harris County known as Sagemont.

  • @Brian S: Brio isn’t in Friendswood, but it is on the border. I think Sagemont technically stops at Scarsdale. Not sure what the area between Scarsdale and Dixie Farm Road is called, but the streets don’t start with “Sage”.

  • Re: Kipper Club—4400 North Yale is a pretty sketchy neighborhood. Will be interesting if the type of people who will spend $100 on a meal will drive up there.
    And what’s up with opening up Hunky Dory on North Shepherd? Not a spade of dirt has been turned over on that lot since demo work cleared it out back in February. Lots of talk, but so far little action.

  • Jardinero1, I’m no expert, but I suspect that the monetary damage was plead as an alternative to the injunctive relief. I suspect Judge Wilson found that monetary damages could make the plaintiffs whole, and thus no injunctive relief was granted. The plaintiffs apparently disagree, and are appealing that decision. The developer probably thinks that the nuisance it is building in the middle of a residential street is going to improve the quality of everyone else’s lives, and thus the plaintiffs should actually pay them for the loss of privacy, decrease in property values and increased traffic.

    Again, I’m not an expert, but I did drive past a Holiday Inn Express once.

  • @Brian,

    I would call Brio adjacent to Friendswood, plus the mess was caused/owned by a well known Friendswood family who I believe still lives in Friendswood, behind a wall I might add.

  • It does look like the Kipper club will host dinners at Kippy’s Soul Food in the back of the Shell Station at the corner of Yale and Crosstimbers. I guess they are trying to one up Oxheart on doing the diamond in the rough thing.

    As for Ashby, the plaintiffs are allowed to seek relief in the alternative. They asked for a permanent injunction and sought damages in the alternative. The jury was responsible for fact finding on nuisance and awarding damages. The damages were then relevant to the judge’s determination of whether a permanent injunction was appropriate. So, yes. Awarding a permanent injunction would preclude an award of damages (assuming no construction takes place). It is impossible to know when this will all get wrapped up by the courts as the courts of appeal, in addition to being able to affirm and reverse and render, can send the case back for further proceeding based on the court’s ruling. Then, those further proceedings can be the basis for another appeal. So, this could last another 1 to 10 years. More than likely the court of appeals will reverse the jury’s verdict and render judgment for the developers. The Houston court of appeals is very conservative and anti-plaintiff.

  • This is like the case of Jaundice vs Jaundice in the Dickens Classic, Bleak House. In that story the case went on and on and was finally adjudicated after they bankrupted the estate thru legal fees. This has gotten absurd, it just now looks like very bitter people keeping this going out of spite. I live in this neighborhood and an not thrilled with this building but I realize that I live on unzoned Houston and something like this is always a possibility. It seems it’s a lawyer who lives near the Ashby and just files and files. At this point I’m on the side of the developer; I mean enough.

  • I always suspected that Independence Heights was going to be one of the next real turnaround neighborhoods. Currently its pretty rough, but its positioned in such a potentially incredibly area. Kippers Test Kitchen location supports that. I would consider the area a pretty safe long term bet. That said “safe” is not the word I would use for it now.

  • Wow, talk about tone deaf. That UH President is lucky she still has a job. UH has always been a commuter school to try to radically change that in a year was obtuse beyond belief. The thought that she could just ram that down the throat of the student body without a thought to the financial burden of the students nor the history of the school was shockly brain dead. Good for Whitmire tearing into her for being so damn stupid. UH isn’t Trinity or Rice, you can’t just unilaterally change the entire history of a university in a year without a thought to the limitations of the students financially. This isn’t Princeton; it’s a public university full of working class people.

  • re: Friendswood, the Brio site was fairly close to the city limits, but the company that ran it was controlled by Ralph Lowe, the mayor of Friendswood for a long term. He had a gated compound just off of F.M. 528 that he calle “Lowelands”.

    The neighborhood across the intersection from the Brio site was condemned. I’m not sure if their mailing address was Friendswood or not, but as mentioned, this is kind of between Sagemont and Friendswood proper. If you believe Googe maps, the intersection of Beamer and Dixie Farm Rd. is the northernmost point in the city limits.

  • If they want to get more students to live on campus they need to make the “buffer zone” around the university nicer, not just the interior. This means they will need to invest in off-campus buildings, like UT did with those structures that the put into the East Side of Austin wayyyyyy before that became a good neighborhood. Take for instance that one huge abandoned white building on Scott Street. There is no reason that should not be owned and repurposed by the school. Right now its just a huge emblem of the neighborhood blight.

  • @Shannon, the lawsuit in Dickens’ “Bleak House” is Jarndyce Vs. Jarndyce. And yes, I minored in English when I was one of “those working class people” at UH.

  • The case was ‘Jarndyce vs Jarndyce’. I no longer care that ignorant people call UH a ‘commuter school’, because it a just a slur with no specific definition. And Khatour has had her missteps, but she has done more for UH during her tenure than all her predecessors combined.

  • Re: Brio – I wasn’t aware of the Mayor. But, in 1984, when the Brio site was listed on the National Priorities list, Friendswood had not yet annexed the land north of Clear Creek into Harris County (Happened in 1985). Looking at Google, the homes just north of Scarsdale would have been the closest homes (not bulldozed) to the site at that time. But, if the characters involved were from Friendswood, I can understand the book title.

  • @Jardinero1 – I’m an attorney, however, the following is not legal advice.

    An injunction is a different remedy at law. Usually injunctions are harder to obtain than monetary damages as the movant has to show irreparable injury if an injunction were not in place (See, e.g. Sec. 65.011 Since this was denied by the trial court, it is ripe for appeal. I seriously doubt they’re going to get an injunction.

  • I don’t see why people take the phrase “commuter school” as a slur, its really not. To me it just means that you can’t/wouldn’t want to live in the surrounding neighborhood, like at University of Chicago. Maybe that’s just my definition. I have nothing against UH when I say that. If I did I wouldn’t be waiting for my fiancé to finish her PhD there and I wouldn’t be starting a masters program there in the fall. Its a solid school.

  • @ShadyHeightster,
    Don’t call Kipper’s address “sketchy”, call it “Garden Oaks adjacent”.
    W/r/t to Hunky Dory, the announcement is a year old today, which is a long time even by Houston standards, but there’s supposedly been some movement on permits in the last couple of weeks.

  • Shannon, Re: living on campus at UH.
    First, it wasn’t some broadside that was just thunk up in a room and announced this week. I’ve known of this plan for more than 2 years. The rule was actually somewhat reasonable, live within a certain distance and you are exempted.
    Second, anyone who thinks Khator needed to be axed because of this has no idea what else she has helped accomplish for this school.
    Third, well, I don’t have a third, but you’re way under-educated on the subject and should probably keep your opinion on the subject to yourself, or go out and read up before making such claims (which if you are an intelligent person, you’d not make such claims after being educated).

  • Khator has done a tremendous amount of work to raise the profile of U of H. i am not that crazy about wasting money on a football program/stadium that brings very little tangible benefit other than providing an opportunity to throw money away on programs that benefit 70 students directly and provide transitory entertainment for 20,000.

    In that respect U of H is still a USC wanna be.

    Academically, though, she has done good work and to let John W threaten her is wrong. He forgets he exists to serve the will of the people. maybe he should go back to agg exempt acreage where he grows “trees” and contemplate his role as a public servant or as i like to call them: the people’s bitch…

  • A little more info about Brio’s location:
    The neighborhood that was abandoned next to it was called “South Bend”, but that was built in 1980, long after the Brio plant was built. So you can’t say Brio was built in South Bend. Friendswood, on the other hand, dates back to 1895. It was founded by Quakers.