On September 4, 2008, the City of Houston rejected–for the sixth time–Buckhead Investment Partners’ application for an Ashby High Rise site development permit.  The City’s comments to the application posted on the Department of Public Works’ website indicate that the City’s rejection again arises from the traffic-related impacts of the project.  If you would like to see the City’s comments to the developers’ most recent submittal, go to http://www.pdinet.pd.houstontx.gov/cohilms/webs/Plan_LookUp.asp and enter the Ashby High Rise project # 07042588, then select “Display Plan Check Comment Information.”

One of the Ashby High Rise developers was quoted in the most recent edition of a neighborhood newspaper saying that “I’m prepared to try and address [the City’s] concerns as long as it takes to get a permit.”  It appears, however, that Buckhead did not make any significant changes to its earlier permit application, choosing instead to seek one or more variances from the City’s policies, which the City has declined to grant.   We are gratified that the City continues to use the permitting process to force Buckhead to mitigate the traffic burden that its unwanted, high-density project would impose on our single family neighborhood.  We are preparing a letter to City representatives explaining why we believe that the variance being sought by the developers should not be granted, as well as bringing other matters to the attention of the City that should be considered in the evaluation of any future permit submittals.  We will post this letter on our website when it has been delivered.

We can only speculate why Buckhead’s strategy appears to be to string the permitting process along indefinitely by making incremental changes that are destined to be rejected by the City.  However, we remain committed to continue our opposition until the developers abandon their plans or propose an alternative project that is acceptable to our community.

We encourage you to continue to proudly display your Stop Ashby High Rise yard signs and bumper stickers/magnets, which are one of the most effective tools we have to keep this issue in front of our friends, neighbors, elected representatives and the media.   These signs remain very effective, but Stop Ashby signs continue to disappear mysteriously.  If your yard signs or bumper stickers/magnets have gone missing or are beginning to show their age, please replace them.  Bumper magnets are available at Picnic, as are replacement yard signs.  Or, simply reply to this message and one of our volunteers will deliver a sign to your home.  And if you see anyone stealing or defacing these signs, please contact the Southampton/BOCA Patrol at (713) 825-5555 immediately.

We also encourage you to communicate to your elected City of Houston representatives that you remain strongly opposed to such an ill-conceived project in our neighborhood.  A complete list of the Mayor’s and council members’ email and mailing addresses can be found here.

September 20 will mark the one-year anniversary of the town hall meeting at Poe Elementary School that gave rise to the Stop Ashby High Rise effort.   As we approach this anniversary, the Stop Ashby High Rise Task Force salutes the effort and dedication of our neighborhood to oppose this project.