Uh-oh: Looks like there might be a big storm ahead! That would be Category 5 of the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: The “No Zoning” Award. What place, person, or effort deserves such an honor? One of the 5 official nominees listed below. You tell us which, with your votes!
You’ve got 4 of them to spend in this category: You can cast one vote in a comment at the bottom of this post, another in an email to Swamplot, another from Twitter, and another by posting on the wall of Swamplot’s Facebook fan page. (All the rules for voting are spelled out here.) If you want to help your favorite candidate win, start a campaign! The voting ends for this and all categories of the 2011 Swampies at 5 pm on Tuesday, December 27th.
The official nominees for the 2011 “No Zoning” Award are . . .
1. Office Towers on St. James Place, Galleria. “The Marathon Oil Tower at 5555 San Felipe sits directly across the street from 4-or-more-bedroom homes and an entire residential neighborhood. A 40-story building to the left, a home with a huge lot to the right. Pretty much sums up no zoning, Houston style.”
2. Proposed 40 Percent Increase in Required Number of Off-Street Parking Spaces for New Bars, City of Houston. “Under the plan, new bars of a certain size would need 14 spaces for every 1,000 sq. ft., not the current 10. The change should allow more retiring bar patrons easy access to their vehicles at the end of the night — walking through neighborhoods all the way to a car parked on the street in the wee hours can be dangerous. No, there’s no zoning here in Houston, but we sure do regulate us some land use.”
3. Spec’s Wine & Spirits, 6010 Washington Ave, Camp Logan. “Forced to close more than 2 years ago after the county attorney’s office found TABC had granted the store a liquor license based on an error made by the city. But Spec’s still has a lease on the property, and the battle continues to rage behind the scenes. A new state law allows the county judge to appeal the city’s decision not to allow a license, even though the store is located within the ‘alcohol-free zone’ surrounding Memorial Elementary. If we’d all known where these no-zoning zones were, would this mess have ever happened?”
4. St. Agnes Academy Athletic Complex, Bellaire Blvd. at Fondren, Sharpstown. “A fuss over competing city and state alcohol regulations, or a proxy war for the future of Sharpstown? PlazAmericas bar El Corral applied for an alcohol license before the girls-only Catholic school bought the former auto dealership lot across the street — but only received it after construction on the running track, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and other sports facilities had already begun. St. Agnes filed a lawsuit to prevent the bar from opening. Nope, there aren’t any zoning laws involved — just a city ordinance that allows schools to petition for ‘alcohol-free zones.’ Do the athletic fields count as a school? There’s something that seems uniquely Houston about the whole situation.”
5. Zone d’ Erotica, 2626 West Loop South, Galleria. “‘Mommy? Daddy? What’s in that cute pink-and-purple store next to Dillards?’ Yes, that lumpy looking building is Houston’s highest-profile sex shop, bulging near the base of the city’s highest-profile skyscraper, and next to its highest-profile shopping mall. Do Galleria managers grimace in distaste every day as they drive by? Or do they even notice it anymore? Sure, Houston has zones — they’re just different from the kinds you might find elsewhere.”
All righty, then! Which one of these nominees deserves to win? Vote now!
- How To Vote in the 2011 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate [Swamplot]
- Swamplot Awards Ballots 2011 [Swamplot]