Comment of the Day: Just To Clear Things Up

COMMENT OF THE DAY: JUST TO CLEAR THINGS UP “I don’t understand why everyone on this website gets so worked up about the demolition of these blighted old houses. Houston is actually fortunate that people want to move out of the suburbs into the city center. There are too many reasons why these out-dated houses should go. But practically speaking, old houses are inefficient (usually) and a poor use of space (one story takes up the same space as three). I’ve lived in other places that could USE a bit of urban renewal. Houston is lucky the builders are willing to spend the extra money to clean up the eyesores.” [Confused, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Ran Overbrook]

20 Comment

  • Gosh, it’s so simple. Anything old is bad. Anything new is good. I see the light!

  • I can understand. Houston’s urban core is essentially suburban, so the argument that all the single family homes become inefficient is true. Age has something to do with it, but good condition wood and brick is pretty much all you need to salvage a house if you want to. Everything else can be reconfigured. Tearing down small SFH to replace with enormous SFH is annoying though because it neither enhances urbanization nor is absolutely necessary. It’s just building big to build big.

  • New is the new Old

  • “NewOlden” is a term for a style of new house built to look old right?

  • Gosh, it’s so simple. Anything old is bad. Anything new is good. I see the light!

    This might be the worst comment I’ve ever seen on this site. I think I’ll just stop coming to Swamplot now.

  • Many of us are delighted to see blighted old houses torn down. Generally, in a free society, people that own things are entitled to do with them as they please, and this is a good thing.

  • Well, you don’t get it, because…….You’re Confused!

  • Dara, this particular “confused” post was not made in reference to a blighted old house. The “confused” post was in reference to an old house which happened to be in the way of new construction.

  • My biggest worry with the new stuff being built is that they tend to cover most of the lot that they are built on. They take a 6000 square foot lot that has a 1500 square foot cottage and a 500 sq ft detached garage, knock down the old and cover most of the buildable area with house. Where does the water go??? Street flooding and worse seem to be the result.

  • mel….correct, I don’t know what house was at issue here, and I certainly have seen houses torn down that I thought were good candidates for preservation, but my comment on property rights stands. Unless the structure in question is of some particular historical significance, ie Monticello or something similar, then I do not believe the public has a right to infringe on the owners right to do with it as he/she pleases.

  • I’ve sat through an awful lot of City Council meetings where folks from poor neighborhoods are berating the Council about why it is taking so long for structures in their neighborhoods to be torn down.

    They all say the same thing: Sure, they’re an eyesore, but they also turn into hangouts for teenagers, foster drugs and crime, etc.

    The City claims it takes a long time to work through the procedures.

    On the other hand, there are places like what Mel (above) mentions, where anything built before 1970 is being torn down and replaced with 4 townhouses. Seems to happen somewhere in Neartown weekly.

    That’s not the same as blight.

  • The City’s dangerous buildings department is responsible for handling designation and eventual demolition of derelict structures. Its not cheap $4K per house, there is alot of competition and all those absentee landlords have to be given due process….so it takes time. Outside of an historical district a private owner can demo in as little as a month. you just need the sewar disconnect and gas line teminiation.

    regarding the issue of flooding, it is an issue as permeable land is displaced by new/bigger housing. builders are required to pay an impact fee for larger structures and additional structures. That and we all now pay a drainage fee as part of our water bill.

  • Because Houston has very little history to preserve, and homes built pre 1970 were of far better build quality. These stucco monstrosities will be crumbling in under 20 years, and you think an old brick home looks bad.. Just wait..

  • Fair points in the comment up to the last sentence. A well preserved Queen Anne from 1910 is no eyesore. The townhomes that will go up in its place will be by comparison.

  • Corey,

    Houses built uP to 1970 are all good quality??? That’s an exaggeration. I’ll grant you that until the late ’40’s most homes were built fairly conservatively and by homeowners that cared whether their house would survive and so the bones have good quality (even though they probably need gutting and lots of renovation now), but once the tract home builders arrived on the scene, you can bet quality of the poor builders in the 50’s and ’60’s was no better than today’s awful builders. In some ways I’d expect worse because they had even less building codes. So while it’s true some houses now will fall apart prematurely, slapdash workmanship has always been the calling card of the boom time builders.

  • To play the devil’s advocate, I’m not sure how valid the lot coverage argument related to drainage is. Our clay soils are fairly impermeable, especially in short events. That limits the benefit of unpaved area to some degree. Obviously the original post is just something of a counterpoint to the equally one-sided view of everything old needs to be preserved. Some old things have unique value, but some are inefficient, not of particular historical value, and not appealing to many buyers. But what is an sin’t worth preserving has to be recognized as a subjective value. Crucifying anyone who does/doesn’t agree with a particular extreme is an exercise in delusion. Like always, the rational view is somewhere in between the extremes, and balances market and consumer preference with tangible community character.

  • I love my old 1920s house. It’s got a simple floorplan and at 2,100 square feet, is bigger than I truly need. But it has a beautiful double lot with 5 live oaks, 2 red oaks, and more. I wouldn’t trade it for the newest home on my block, a stucco 8,900 square foot monster with stone accents, a 4 car garage, and a front driveway that leaves no room for a yard. Of course, that house has 5 bedrooms, quarters, a kitchen, a butler’s pantry, formal living, den, formal dining, breakfast room, media room, wine cellar, office/study, and even a “safe” room. 2 people live there. More power to them, but I find that, well, gross.

  • Conspicuous consumption, is to quote you well, gross.. Agreed wholeheartedly.

  • You don’t live in a free society.