07/21/10 1:51pm

A reader writes:

There is an overgrown 12 foot wide city-owned “alley” behind my house in Riverside Terrace that due to weeds and trees is no longer navigable by anything larger than a “mini hydraulic excavator.” I know this because Centerpoint drove one back there when they put in my new gas meter in October.

My busy-body retired neighbor informs me that I am responsible for maintaining the alley by keeping the weeds and grass down, though when I look a few houses down in both directions from my house, I see a forest – and no one other than my neighbor complaining about it.  So I quit mowing it 2 months ago, much to her chagrine.  I’d like to treat it more like a green belt. Occasionally I’ll see a screech owl hunting back there during the late evening from its perch on my wooden fence.  IMO the more trees, the better.

Am I really legally bound to mow back there?  Mowing that small strip of grass would equate to another 2 pints of sweat lost, according to my experiences this past month.”

Photo: Swamplot inbox

12/09/09 10:14am

Owner Carolyn Wenglar reports she is having a few problems getting a permit for the planned expansion of La Carafe across from Market Square Downtown. Wenglar recently purchased the adjacent vacant lot on the corner of Travis and Congress, and had plans to turn it into a beer and wine garden for long-storied bar she’s owned for more than 20 years. John Nova Lomax reports:

. . . she has been told that patrons would not be allowed to carry drinks from the bar to the tables on the lot. Wenglar told Hair Balls that the narrow space between the two properties is a city-owned alley, and to cross that alley with booze in hand would . . . be in violation of Texas liquor laws, and thus have held up her permit.

The La Carafe building, which began its life in 1847 as a bakery — and at one point served as a Pony Express station — is just 15 ft. wide. The alley runs along its east side.

Photo: Flickr user Richart