There is a new online version of the open letter to the Ashby High Rise developers.

SIGN ONLINE: Visit the petition site now to sign your name. You’ll be able to add comments and choose whether or not to display your name.

An Open Letter to the Ashby High Rise Developers (PDF) Print the letter via the link above. Mail signed letters to SAHR, PO Box 540331, Houston TX 77254.

WHY WE ARE PROTESTING THE ASHBY HIGH RISE” Longtime Southampton residents Jeanette and Frank Stokes share their concerns about the Ashby High Rise and its human impact.

     Some may wonder why, in this age of urban development, people are protesting the construction of a 21-story high rise in the center of a neighborhood of families.  Why not just move away? Why not accept that Houston has no zoning and deal with it?  

No doubt, meritorious arguments already have been made as to the inappropriateness of the Ashby High Rise considering the nature of the surrounding neighborhoods.  One can understand why the nearby cities of West University Place, South Side Place and Bellaire, through their zoning laws, would prevent this imposing structure from being built in the center of their neighborhoods. 

However, one very important consideration that we should not overlook is the effect of the high rise on the individuals in the neighborhood and others in the area.  Please try putting a face to the many people who will be impacted by the construction of a 21 story building in their backyards—literally.

Imagine you are an elderly person suffering from respiratory problems and living only a few feet from the proposed 21-story building.  What will it be like during the approximately two plus years of construction?

Put yourself in the shoes of neighbors who have small children on the block behind the proposed high rise. What kinds of nightmares might you have with a crane swinging overhead as they nap? Many of us in the area recall the crane accident that happened not far away. Fortunately, no one was in the Montessori school when the construction accident occurred.

Another neighbor who has made this area his home for over 50 years is undergoing chemotherapy.  What happens to his health and his property values as he battles illness and endures the construction of this towering structure? 

In the block next to the site, the parents and grandparents of an autistic child worry about his ability to walk or play in a neighborhood filled with cut through traffic. Put yourself in their shoes.

Just across the street from the site, a young couple has spent the last few years doing the work themselves to renovate an older home to provide a safe environment for their young children. What will their investment now be worth?  What kind of environment will be created with a restaurant serving liquor only a few feet away?

Finally, it is not only our neighbors who will be impacted. Those who pass through our area daily on the way to the Medical Center, Rice University, or as an alternative to the Southwest Freeway gridlock will experience the impact. We urge the many Houstonians who have never driven by the site of Ashby and Bissonnet to do so—especially during peak traffic periods.  You will notice this is not the Huntingdon or the Four-Leaf Towers landscape.  These are two lane streets and traffic is already at the breaking point. Often times, during the 5:00PM rush hour, Bissonnet is a “parking lot” for both east and west bound traffic.  What will traffic look like with the vehicles related to the restaurant and the 218 apartment units added to the already existing congestion?

 So, as Houstonians of forty-five plus years, we choose to protest against a development that does not respect a Houston neighborhood’s unique composition or the genuine personal costs of the project.  While growth is good and the lifeblood of Houston, irresponsible development will end up choking Houston neighborhoods.

Our own story and those of our neighbors are the reasons we protest.  —  Jeanette & Frank Stokes