Sunday, September 30, 2007

There Goes The Neighborhood...

Yesterday the missus and I were riding our bikes to her office in the Texas Medical Center when we noticed some new lawn signs bearing the message 'STOP THE ASHBY HIGHRISE'. After I got back to the house, I did a Google search and came up with the following URL:

http://www.stopashbyhighrise.org/

The site tells the entire story. A couple of real estate developers have acquired title to an old apartment complex in the 1700 block of Bissonnet, plan to demolish it, and replace it with a 23 story residential tower. This is so wrong in so many ways that I hardly know where to start. To begin with, the area in question is one of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in Houston. It isn't some barren wasteland that will be 'improved' by the presence of a residential mid-rise. Furthermore, the only two 'major' thoroughfares providing access to this proposed monstrosity are Bissonnet and Dunlavy, which dead ends into Bissonnet at the proposed site. Both are two lane residential streets with no possibility of being widened. Traffic problems will be bad enough on Bissonnet after construction of the seemingly inevitable 'Rail on Richmond' commences. Throw in this stupid thing and count on gridlock from Westheimer to Rice Blvd.

In this morning's Houston Chronicle, I was relatively pleased to see a guest editorial speaking out against the development project, as well as a little bit surprised--usually the Chron is as reflexibly pro-development as the national MSM is pro-Hillary. It's a good piece, and it speaks well of the consequences of this latest piece of greedhead developer stupidity (read it for yourself at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/5175002.html).

There is an on-line petition on the 'Stop the Ashby Highrise' site, and I strongly recommend signing it. Given the lack of zoning in this city, it will be virtually impossible to stop this profoundly bad idea......but at least we have to try.

The site in question is mere blocks, BTW, from another, more horizontal, implementation of the same thing at the corner of Dunlavy and Richmond. Not long ago, developers announced plans to raze the picturesque semi-ruins at the corner of Dunlavy and Alabama for.....you guessed it, a residential mid-rise with ground-level retail.

I've lived in Montrose for 30 years and loved it........oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Southampton and the surrounding neighborhoods represent the characters and the history of Houston that must be preserved. Houston as a city has grown tremendously over the years due to no zoning regulation. Just look at what no zoning do to the areas north of Memorial along Sheppherd/Durham and Washington that I currently live in. No zoning has completely transformed these areas from a no man land into one of the most desirable location to live for young professionals as well as for empty nesters. Southampton is a different story. It is a beautiful historic neighborhood that has characters. I drive by this area often from the museum and always have such admiration for it. While it might be true that some folks can not afford to live here, that is no reason to allow this kind of unappropriate development to take place that just destroy the neighborhood. If no zoning is allowed to continue in this manner to any neighborhood, what is left of Houston history then?

Shelby said...

Won't somebody (not) think of the Young Professionals (and Empty Nesters)???

Mr. Anonymous, I don't suppose you're familiar with the gigantifabulous monstrosity known as Sonoma that is being built in Rice Village?