Heights Project Approved Over HAHC Denial

Filed in Heights News & Events by on September 19, 2014

HAHC’s Denial of Yale St. Project Overturned

128 W 17th Proposed Houston Heights

Commercial/Residential Project Approved

Everyone living in the Heights has heard stories of struggles with the HAHC (Houston Historical & Archeological Society). These are the gate keepers who issue the Certificate of Appropriateness for any project in a historic district. Without this COA, nothing can be built or remodeled in a historic district. The Heights has 7 historic districts, so this is an on-going battle. Houston Heights alone has 4 historic districts.

Steve Folkes wanted to put up this building at the corner of Yale and 17th. It was rejected by the HAHC. This is Yale St we are talking about here. It already has similar cool, funky old buildings. I thought this would be a no-brainer…a perfect addition to the Heights, keeping with historical commercial buildings. This was also to be a combination commercial (downstairs)/residential (top 2 floors) building.
I would love to see similar buildings built in locations like Yale St, and 11th St. Even Shepherd if we can get rid of some car lots!
To make a long story short: the plans were rejected by HAHC, but that ruling was just overturned by the City Planning Commission. Common sense wins…a rarity when dealing with the City.
Here is a quote from Steve when he petitioned the City through Change.org

“We want to build our new home and business on this currently vacant lot – on Yale Street at the corner of 17th St. Our business is not retail but a private office with three employees. The top two floors would be our living quarters – one for my wife’s 90-yr old mother to help her maintain her independence,  and one floor for us (the kids were kicked out after the first round with the City Preservation staff). Grandma spent the early period of her life in the Heights, and she is looking forward to spending her later years here too. The property is the only vacant lot in Heights Historic East District directly on Yale. Next to us is: a vet clinic, public car wash, another vacant lot and a historic 2-story Queen Ann The structure is compatible with many other historical buildings in the Heights, which is what the Historic Preservation Ordinance requires. It is also SHORTER than the similarly designed structures in the East District……

Additionally, the property is on a commercial corridor and the proposed design takes this into consideration and would complement the neighborhood. Please let your voices be heard and support this project, local small business and family. Thank you.”

In defense of the HAHC: they have a tough job, especially with the multiple historic districts and the immense popularity of the areas. A LOT of remodeling is going on in the Heights; much of it in these districts. A new subcommittee is to look at the current ordinance and see what modifications might be needed….Good luck….Rich

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