DOCUMENTING HOUSTON’S TOWNHOUSIFICATION, ONE TWEET AT A TIME While you’re waiting for Kuukibot’s polite but insistent stream of air toxics tweets to come back, another Houston-obsessed account has just hit the Twittersphere — this one documenting the city’s infill development, as evidenced by daily before-and-after shots pulled from Google Streetview (like the 2-house-t0-7-townhome transition shown above, from near the intersection of Gibson and Snover streets in Brunner). The account’s Philadelphia-based author (who’s looking for submissions, by the way) points to the 1999 changes in minimum lot size requirements as the catalyst for the subsequent waves of tightly-packed townhouse do-overs in previously large-lot neighborhoods around town, as explained by Daniel Hertz earlier this summer: Hertz writes that the decision to allow lots as small as 1,400 sq.ft. within the Inner Loop (a decree later expanded city-wide in 2013) allowed the building of way more housing stock in the city’s core without a switch to multifamily-style buildings. “An important research project in the coming years ,” Hertz notes, “will be to see if Houston’s willingness to allow more housing—and especially missing middle housing—in the center of a growing metropolitan area can reduce the growth of housing prices and keep neighborhoods more diverse and affordable than they would otherwise be.” [City Observatory] Screenshot of Densifying Houston tweet: @densifyingHOU
This Methadone Clinic graphic was posted today on the Medusa Properties website, and conveys in slightly different fashion the same news we received in our email from a Heights-area reader:
The oh-so-neighborly Mr. Jared Meadors did *not* receive the variance he requested for the Baylor St subdivision.
Photo of 2601 Baylor St. and Methadone Clinic Graphic: Medusa Properties
Here’s just one paragraph from a nine-page variance request application submitted for consideration at today’s Planning Commission hearing:
So what message does this whole process send to people like me who are willing to go out and spend their time and their hard earned money and take risks in order to improve the city and improve our neighborhoods? The message is: Only the guys with deep pockets and deep connections—the Perry Homes, the Tricons, the Fingers, the Olmsteads, the Levits, the Weingartens—only those guys get to win at this game. Those guys can build what they want when they want. Everybody else loses. Everybody else gets bad advice and the run around. Everybody else should just stay home and sit quietly on their couches and watch TV.
There’s more to like in Jared Meadors’s request to subdivide the 49-by-120-ft. property he owns at 2601 Baylor St. in Sunset Heights into three separate lots — including an accounting of his annual net adjusted income over the last three years, two HAR.com screen shots, and some occasional heavy leaning on the CAPS LOCK key. But it’s nothing, really, compared to his more wide-ranging complaints about his difficulties with his neighbors and the Prevailing Lot Size ordinance that he has posted on the website of his company, Medusa Properties. It begins:
NEW CONSTRUCTION! SUNSET HEIGHTS – MODERN CRAFTSMAN STYLE – AVAIL SPRING 2008
*** UPDATE *** THE BLUE HAIRED LAWN NAZIS OF EAST SUNSET HEIGHTS STRIKE AGAIN!
More name-calling, after the jump!
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