And here is a message received from Anne Clutterbuck that demonstrates the public focus on this issue. She mentions the opportunity for citizens to speak to City Council in a public session below:

Subject: RE: ASHBY HIGH RISE OPPOSITION PLAN

Thank you for contacting me about the proposed high-rise at 1717 Bissonnet. As your neighbor, I share your intense distress about a project of this size that is wholly out of character for our residential neighborhood and threatens to cripple our area mobility. As your City Council Representative, I oppose this project and promise to do all in my power to stop it from being built, the Mayor shares my concerns and attached is his statement on the matter.

If you were able to attend last Thursday’s community meeting at Poe Elementary, I appreciate your taking the time to listen and to provide your questions and comments, as well as suggestions in moving forward.

One of the many concerns brought up at last Thursday’s meeting was about the impact on traffic. As I discussed at the meeting the City of Houston is currently reviewing a “Traffic Impact Analysis & Access Management Ordinance” that would require developers to have a traffic impact study completed before development. The developer would not be issued any kind of permit, replat or certificate of occupancy until he or she complied with any mitigation necessary to improve traffic flow required by the city’s traffic engineer. Proposed development that overly impacts mobility would be limited. You can read the draft ordinance that was brought to the Transportation, Infrastructure & Aviation (TIA) Committee in June 2007 on my website: http://www.houstontx.gov/council/c/index.html. The draft ordinance should be coming before the TIA Committee again within the next two months. When the ordinance does come before the committee I will send out an email notifying you about the date and time. Any citizen is able to attend these committee meetings and sign up to speak about the posted agenda items.

Another suggestion brought up at Thursday’s meeting was for City Council to place a temporary moratorium on high-rise development in residential neighborhoods until the Traffic Impact Analysis & Access Management Ordinance could be passed. This opportunity is being explored. The City Legal Department is looking into whether or not this ordinance could be applied retroactively to this development based upon their initiation of the permit process. While no building permit has yet been issued by the City of Houston, Buckhead Investments have already begun the process of applying for the necessary permits to begin demolition of the existing site and construction of the redevelopment.

I continue to speak daily with the developers, the director of Planning & Development and Public Works & Engineering Departments about this project. I have urged the developers to construct their property in a manner more in keeping with the character of our beautiful neighborhood or to sell the property to someone who will; I will continue to express our opposition to the developer and city staff.

As well as taking the opportunity to speak when the draft ordinance comes before the TIA Committee, you are invited to express your concerns during Public Session at Houston City Council. Public Session is held every Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 pm when Mayor Bill White and the entire City Council meet to listen to comments from the public. If you would like to speak before City Council at any Tuesday afternoon public session then please contact the City Secretary’s office at 713.247.1840 to sign up.

I will keep you posted as developments occur. In the mean time, should you wish to volunteer to help stop this development, then you may contact the Southampton Civic Club and BOCA representatives who are coordinating the neighborhood effort through their website: www.StopAshbyHighRise.org.

Warm regards,
Anne Clutterbuck
Houston City Council Member, District C
City Hall Annex
900 Bagby Street, 1st Floor
Houston, TX 77002
phone: 713-247-2004
fax: 713-437-6901