Comment of the Day: How To Build a Neighborhood Moat with Deed Restrictions

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW TO BUILD A NEIGHBORHOOD MOAT WITH DEED RESTRICTIONS Neighborhood Moat“Instead of throwing lawsuits around, the people in River Oaks should start a Buy Protect Sell program. Buy pieces of land around their subdivision as they come up for sale. Protect those pieces of land by putting restrictive covenants on them (height regulations in particular, since their concern has been the proliferation of high rises in their area). Then sell the properties with the restrictions in place. B/P/S has been used for about a decade by environmentalists elsewhere in the country. It could be used to preserve the low-rise character around a neighborhood. The drawback is that it can be costly for poorer neighborhoods, but River Oaks could well afford it.” [ZAW, commenting on Neighbors File Suit To Stop Hines San Felipe Tower; Silo Sightseeing] Illustration: Lulu

14 Comment

  • Excellent suggestion. With the money they could save by not hiring a gaggle of lawyers they could buy several lots. Litigation should always be a last resort, never the immediate choice. As everyone knows once the lawyers get involved they just plot together to drag it out as long as possible to run up the phantom billable hours—you’d think River Oaks area residences would be smarter than this–I guess I over estimated the brain power, I guess too many trust fund babies have diluted the pool.

  • Shannon: To steal from Breaking Bad, “They are the ones that knock”. They are the lawyers in many cases, thus they can cause a lot of pain to someone in their free time while drinking coffee in their PJs

  • Won’t work unless the neighborhood also has a right of first refusal in their covenants. These sales take place without the property ever being publicly listed for sale.

  • Just like the US-Mexico border, there is waaaayyyy too much land involved for this to be an effective strategy. You could do this on 99 percent of the land, and a high-rise would still pop up on that 1% parcel you just never could your hands on.

  • Instead of comment of the day, can we get “Rant of the Day”? Of course, a certain someone would always get this distinction.

  • Hey there. Lawyer here. Shannon doesn’t know what the fuck he/she is talking about. A lawyer who “plots together to drag out” a case is a lawyer who will soon, in order, be fired by her client for overbilling and failure to stick to the litigation strategy the client and lawyer mapped at the outset, and then sanctioned or disbarred. Thanks, that’s all.

  • My dad worked for 30 years for one of the most prominent law firms in Houston, so don’t lecture me on lawyers, I listened for years on how the profession really works–forget the Masons, Dan Brown should write a book on the secret workings of the law profession–you speak just like a lawyer–you gunna sue me for deformation of your estemmed profession–yeah, try finding one juror who doesn’t hate lawyers–good luck

  • You’re completely correct about the lawyers working pro bono to ramp up the litigation–so typical. Thankfully Hines is more than capable of quashing this absurdly frivolous mess. I feel badly for the small developer that gets some litigious douch with a law degree who harasses him–THIS should be against the law, but for so many years the lawyers made the laws–thankfully that’s beginning to change–this society has too many lawyers and too much litigation brought by underemployed desperate lawyers —

  • Shannon – don’t hate the player, hate the game.

  • To Shannon. Yet another piece of the bombastic know it all puzzle……

  • FirstBump: change the game.
    In advertisement they say “if you don’t like what your competitor is saying, change the conversation.” Same idea.

  • Swamploters live in suspended disbelief, where lawyers are honorable and every descenting opinion from the norm is met with righteous indignation–it’s like you take your notes from the Tea Party–this is a thread, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it’s fine to disagree but don’t get personal, it makes the entire site look like a nerds rhetorical cage fight –not pretty –and I agree we need to change the game, but for so long the lawyers made the laws–it kinda puts us in a major catch up position –I laugh when my lawyer friends get laid off–I’m like awww, you won’t get paid handsomely to lie anymore -so sad

  • Texpat and Superdave: thanks for the criticism.
    Any Buy Protect Sell program would have to employ an expert real estate broker who has his finger on the pulse of local real estate and can get in before the developers when neighbors want to sell. There is a chance that bidding wars will happen, however.
    On the matter of there being too much land. Most of the land around River Oaks is already occupied, and I doubt the owners will all want to sell for redevelopment at once. More likely the properties will come on the market a few at a time, so B/P/S could work. That said, it’s not a silver bullet. If an owner has held a low-rise piece of property since before the B/P/S program started, and decides to redevelop it as a high rise without selling, there’s nothing the B/P/S program can do. The B/P/S program could also lose bidding wars, or simply be beaten to a property.
    Still, I keep going back to the map that one of the StopSanFelipeHighRise people did, showing all of the high rises that could be built around River Oaks. B/P/S would more effective than lawsuits at preventing that. The big deterrent is that it requires that the folks in River Oaks be pro-active and put their money where their mouths are.