November 01, 2007
Chron favors Bissonnet high rise ordinance

The Chron editorialized yesterday in favor of the proposed anti-Bissonnet High Rise ordinance, echoing some familiar themes along the way.

If the public works director determines that the development would excessively impact traffic in the area, city officials could force the builder to make whatever design changes are necessary to bring the project into compliance. According to White, the Ashby high-rise "exposed a loophole" in the city's ability to control residential construction that has negative fallout for traffic and public safety in an area.

The ordinance is one more sign that city government is taking quality of life far more seriously than it did in the past. This year City Council has passed legislation to establish the first historic preservation district and to make developers responsible for contributing to the acquisition of parks in areas where they build.

Company officials seeking to build the Bissonnet project charge that the ordinance is aimed at them, and that is undoubtedly true. By pushing ahead with a plan that would severely affect affluent neighborhoods in the area, they stirred up a hornet's nest of residents with the clout and connections to make their protests heard at City Hall.

If the dispute results in the crafting of sensible land-use regulations that will apply to everyone in the future, then all Houston communities will benefit. In protecting their own neighborhoods, the Ashby Street protesters have done us all a big favor.

As you know, I generally agree with this. I also think that traffic isn't the biggest factor - it's certainly not the only one - and as such I hope it's not the only thing taken into consideration by any new ordinance. We'll see.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 01, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston

"Company officials seeking to build the Bissonnet project charge that the ordinance is aimed at them, and that is undoubtedly true."

That is rather appalling in itself but even moreso given that the Houston Chronicle actually admitted it.

There is a serious question raised with regard to 1717 Bissonet and Sonoma and Medical Clinic of Houston. Why did the city not hold the permits for Sonoma and Medical Clinic of Houston, which the homeowners also oppose?

If this ordinance passes, the result will be that influential homeowners will be able to "pull strings" at City Hall in order to ensure a project is not approved but but influential developers will be able to do the same.

What will they do when both sides are pulling strings? Pick straws?

Judging from what happened with regard to 1717 Bissonet, Sonoma and Medical Clinic of Houston, instead of picking straws they will just check the campaign finance records.

Those who have contributed the most to City Hall will prevail.

That is nothing more than corruption.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on November 1, 2007 1:51 PM