05/21/13 11:15am

A LAND USE COUNTERATTACK FROM THE YALE ST. ALEXAN HEIGHTS Though the variance for unrestricted use that Trammell Crow had sought to make way for the Alexan Heights apartments along Yale St. was denied, other amendments to the existing single-family restrictions on that lot bound by Yale, Allston, and 6th that the developer is now seeking might allow the 366-unit complex to go up after all, reports The Leader. And, besides this play in the land use game, it seems as though Trammell Crow has also responded, in part, to the first round of objections coming from neighbors: “TCR has restricted the project’s driveway on Allston Street to be a service exit, left turn only, to divert traffic away from the neighborhood,” reports Cynthia Lescalleet. “[And] if the city will approve a HAWK signal — a crossing signal controlled by pedestrians or bicyclists — at the bike trail adjacent to the . . . site, TCR will fund and build it.” This revised application will go up in a public hearing Downtown this Thursday. [The Leader; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Trammell Crow Residential

05/14/13 10:00am

A new site plan from Town in City Brewing Co. was approved by the planning commission last month, finally clearing the way for that brewery that would be made out of a trucked-in kit to be put together. The microbrewery, taproom, and outdoor garden on this lot near 1125 W. Cavalcade in Sunset Heights were all supposed to be done by now — or so brewers Justin Engle and Steven Macalello were telling their investors in November, when the Houston-fabricated steel parts first came rolling onto their 9,714-sq.-ft property. But the required 25-ft. setback from a major thoroughfare like W. Cavalcade threw a wrench in their plans.


04/27/07 8:36am

Chinese Tallow Tree Leaves“You are the first line of defense against these deceptively beautiful, but deadly invaders in our midst,” warns the Bellaire Examiner.

Who is this evil interloper? The Chinese Tallow Tree. Don’t get caught harboring one of these nasties on your property.

Yeah, it’s a bad tree. Because it takes over and forces out other plants, right?

Chinese tallow alters light availability for other plant species. Fallen tallow leaves contain toxins that create unfavorable soil conditions for native plant species. Chinese tallow will outcompete native plant species, reducing habitat for wildlife as well as forage areas for livestock.

This alarming description is from a website on invasive species put together by the Houston Advanced Research Center and the TCEQ’s Galveston Bay Estuary Program. But read carefully between the lines and you’ll realize that to the authors, the Chinese Tallow isn’t just an alien invader—it’s proof that Houston needs land-use controls:

Chinese tallow will transform native habitats into monospecific (single species) tallow forests in the absence of land management practices.

Do these folks realize what they’re advocating? Let’s hope they stick to gardening and stay out of urban planning. No telling what they’d do if they got hold of Houston’s development regulations.

Photo: Flickr user ultraviolet_catastrophe