‘WHERE’S OUR SHADE?’ Shade, Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Gray writes, is “cheap, efficient, and delicious.” Spurning the air-conditioned tunnels on a walk Downtown, Gray stops to cool off beneath “the deep sheltered walkway in front of the Post Rice Lofts,” she writes, and starts to heat up with questions: “If Houston knew how to create such excellent, pedestrian-friendly shade in 1912, when the Rice Hotel was built, why don’t we make more shady places like that a hundred years later? Where are new buildings’ sheltered walkways, their canopies and loggias, their arcades and awnings? . . . Why do we make do with little patio umbrellas, scrawny canvas awnings over doorways, narrow overhangs that work only if you hug the building at noon?” [Houston Chronicle ($)] Photo: Finding Camelot
The dangling 2x4s on the ceiling and the photomurals of giant oaks inside just aren’t enough. And umbrellas on the patio just blow over. So Claire Smith and Russell Murrell of Canopy, the restaurant at the southern end of the strip center at 3939 Montrose, now want to build an actual wooden canopy outside on the side patio. One small problem: any extension from the building to Branard St. will cross into the neighborhood’s 10-ft. building line, which means they need a variance. Can’t they just say, “hey, it’s in our name?” Naah — variances aren’t granted as the result of “a hardship created or imposed by the applicant,” says the planning department. So part of the restaurant’s application reads, “The limitations on the use of outdoor space are the result of the Houston climate.” A neighbor who’s “fine with it” whispers to Swamplot about the submission: “My boyfriend and I think it’s funny how The Sun is taking all the heat here.” The issue goes before the planning commission on December 2nd.
Photo: Swamplot inbox