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Land Use Committee

> Alleys | Bikeways | Deed Restrictions | Infrastructure Design | Graffiti |
Historic Preservation
| HAHC Agenda | Minimum Lot Size/Minimum Building Line |
Residential Parking Permits

The Land Use Committee is involved in all issues of development in the Heights. Alley issues, deed restrictions, historic district designations, and the Lot Size and Prevailing Building Line Ordinances are confusing. These are all separate and different issues involving Heights development and several of these items may apply to one property.

The Land Use Committee meets at the Heights Fire Station, 12th and Yale, on the first Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. We encourage you to attend the LUC meetings and get involved in the areas that interest you.

Comments can be directed to Land Use Committee, Houston Heights Association, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735, or by fax to 713.868.2455, or by email at landuse@houstonheights.org

If you would like to receive communications from the Land Use Committee including meeting announcements, meeting minutes, and announcements of pending Certificates of Appropriateness (required for historic districts), please subscribe to the LUC Yahoo! group by going to this link...and click the "Join This Group!" button. You can unsubscribe from the group at any time.

Note: Ordinances governing these issues are created and enforced by the City of Houston. The Houston Heights Association does not provide advice for property owners on the application of these ordinances to their situation. It is the responsibility of the property owner to understand and comply with ordinances.

Deed restrictions are not supported by ordinances. It is the responsibility of the property owner to determine the deed restriction status of his or her property and to comply with applicable requirements.

Alleys

Download Alley Ordinance or click here to view powerpoint presentation (it is a large file so may take a little longer to open)

Ordinances regulating the use of alleys in the City of Houston can be found on the City of Houston web site at the 'Code of Ordinances' page. Use this URL, or if obsolete, search for the 'Code of Ordinances' page by following this link.

From this page, do the following:
Click on the link for 'Searchable Code of Ordinances and City Charter'
You will be directed to a web site that contains the Ordinances for Houston, Texas
Click the 'Chapter 40 – Streets and Sidewalks' link in the left pane.
Click the 'Article XV – Alleys' link in the right pane
Click each of the 'Division' links to read the associated content.

For more information or to ask questions about alleys, call your member of City Council.
For contact information follow this link.

You can contact the city engineering department for information: Office of City Engineer – Richard Smith – 713.837.7114 or Lagnesh Varshney – 832.395.4401

Bikeways

For maps of the bikeways, click on the word 'Bikeways' (for a specific map) or the word 'Maps' for an overview by following this link.

Deed Restrictions

Deed Restrictions Houston Heights was incorporated as a separate municipality before 1900 and is recognized by the property code as historic. Because of this and its location in Houston and Harris County, Chapter 208 of the State Property Code defines specific deed restriction procedures that apply only to Houston Heights. Chapter 208 places the responsibility for drafting deed restrictions with the Houston Heights Association (HHA) as the historic neighborhood association and specifies how the deed restrictions can be initiated, maintained, amended, or terminated.

Heights deed restrictions relate to individually owned parcels or tracts, and the neighborhood preservation association, the HHA, is delegated to enforce the restrictive covenants. The restrictions can only be amended if 75% of the owners voting on the issue approve. Ownership of the property may change but the deed restrictions, once approved, are tied to the land.

As only some of the owners in the Heights have applied to have their property deed restricted, there are no blanket deed restrictions, as found in neighboring sub-divisions like Norhill Heights, Woodland Heights, Garden Oaks, or Timbergrove.

The most important Heights Deed Restrictions specify how the land can be used, the number of dwellings that can be constructed related to the size of a specific lot, required setbacks from the site boundaries and the maximum height of buildings. There are no deed restrictions on demolition, form, style, or materials that affect any building that is not located in a protected historic district.

The current deed restriction document can be found on the Houston Heights Association web-site. Heights home owners or prospective purchasers can check existing Heights deed restriction by viewing the Heights Deed Restricted Properties listing on the web-site. This includes a partial listing and for official confirmation they, or their title company, can do a search at the Harris County Clerk's office, 201 Caroline Street # 320 , Houston Tx 77002-1901 (713.755.6411)

Deed restrictions have been created by and are supported by the Houston Heights Association for the betterment of the Heights. Deed restrictions are not enforced by the City of Houston. They are agreed-to by individual property owners.

The Deed Restriction documentation is available here.
A list of deed restricted properties on the HHA web site can be found here.

Pay attention to the 'special note' associated with this list, and perform the recommended research to determine the deed restriction status of any property of interest.

Infrastructure Design

The City of Houston publishes an Infrastructure Design Manual through the Department of Public Works and Engineering. This manual covers topics such as drainage, sidewalks, easements, storm sewers, and culverts. Enforcement of the standards in the manual is via the permitting process. This manual is available here.

Homeowners or builders should seek guidance from an engineer or from the City of Houston. You can contact this department at:
Department of Public Works and Engineering
611 Walker Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 832.395.2511
E-Mail: pwe.director@houstontx.gov

Or visit this page.

Graffiti

If you don't think the Heights has a graffiti problem, that's because of the success and diligent work being done in our behalf by the Heights Anti-Graffiti Squad. Since 2006, Heights resident Paul Luccia has been working hard to keep the Heights the beautiful neighborhood we know and love. With paint donated by our neighbors, Paul volunteers his time to paint over graffiti covering a 13 square mile area of the city. On a regular basis, he patrols the streets between 610 to the north, I-10 to the south, Durham to the west and I-45 to the east. The frequency of his excursions depends on the whims of the taggers in our area, weather and the HISD class schedule. He blends the donated paint into "Heights appropriate" colors. When abating graffiti, he tries to paint the entire surface so no one can tell graffiti was there, avoiding the grey patchwork blocks usually produced by city abatement crews. The goal is to have no one notice a traffic signal control box has turned from sage to beige in a few minutes time.

(Graffiti continued)

Easy things YOU can do – Starting TODAY

  1. Report graffiti to the city when you see it. More reports = more police coverage and less graffiti. City of Houston reporting - Call 311 or visit the reporting web site houston311.org. Reporting to CleanHeights@aol.com helps your local volunteer know where it is so we can abate it.
  2. Tell property owners who have graffiti that you expect them to abate it in a timely manner. Many property owners are just as furious and bewildered as you are. Using social pressure is a great tool. Letting the property owner know that removing graffiti is important, and that neighbors are paying attention, is very motivating. Of course complimenting those who take care of their graffiti in a timely manner is a very nice touch.
  3. Take a bottle of Simple Green® with you when you are walking, jogging, or cycling. Many street signs can be cleaned with a quick spray and wipe. Very quickly you will learn how to identify which types of graffiti can be wiped away without harming the reflective coating on the sign.
  4. Jog, walk or bike with a can of spray paint. Jog from traffic pole to traffic pole (grey primer) or metro stop to metro stop (brown). When you see graffiti - give it a quick overspray. As you jog along the spray can get shaken so it's always ready for use. Try to color match where possible.
  5. Peel off those annoying stickers. Commonly found on street signs, metro stops, and traffic control boxes.
  6. Donate clean 5 gallon plastic buckets. Do you work at a place where sliced pickles or baking products are used? We don't care about the odor, but those 5 gallon buckets come in handy. They can be dropped off at any time to Paul at 1237 Oxford Street. Don't need the lids, just the buckets.
  7. Remove old Yard Sale and 'bandit' signs. Stopped at a red light? Rip them down and toss them out. Bandit signs are those 18x24" advertisements for tree trimming, weight loss, insulation, pond cleaning. I'm sure you've seen them. They are illegal when placed in a public right-of-way and require a sign permit when placed on private property.
  8. Organize your church group, boy scouts, or neighbors to have an "anti graffiti group outing" Information, guidelines and supplies can be obtained through CleanHeights@aol.com. Walk or drive through your neighborhood and abate graffiti where you find it.
  9. Raise funds to support our ongoing efforts. The largest expense is gasoline. Personally I spend about $50 each time I go out on the streets. Gas cards, Home Depot cards, checks and cash are welcomed.
  10. Raise awareness. Speak more to your neighbors, schools, children and civic groups about graffiti. Don't let it become tolerated. By speaking with others you will find many who are willing to help but just don't know where to start. Media attention of completed projects helps other neighborhoods to follow your lead.
  11. Adopt a sign or intersection. If you live near a location that is frequently tagged, keep abatement supplies handy for immediate use. Speed of removal is our best tool in fighting graffiti Paul Luccia Heights Anti-Graffiti Squad CleanHeights@aol.com

Historic Preservation

Links to: National Register Information

Information Ordinances can be found on the City of Houston web site at the 'Code of Ordinances' page. Use this URL, or if obsolete, search for the 'Code of Ordinances' page: http://www.houstontx.gov/codes/

From this page, do the following:
Click on the link for 'Searchable Code of Ordinances and City Charter'
You will be directed to a web site that contains the Ordinances for Houston, Texas
Click the 'Chapter 33 - Planning and Development' link in the left pane
Click the 'Article VII – Historic Preservation' link in the right pane
Click each of the 'Division' links to read the associated content.

Alternatively, the information can be accessed via the Houston Planning and Development web page.

The Houston Planning and Development web site includes information on the boundaries of historic districts and the status of historic districts. Look for the 'contact us' link at the bottom of the page for contacts in the City of Houston Planning and Development Department if you need more information.

HAHC Agenda

Information on the Internet The Houston Archeological and Historic Commission department considers Certificate of Appropriateness applications associated with properties in historic districts. For more information, go to the HAHC internet page.

From this page you can get Commission meeting dates, a list of CoA applications received, and a meeting agenda. Look for links to this information in the blue box at the right side of the page.

The HAHC usually meets the third Thursday of the month, subject to change due to availability of meeting space. Check the meeting dates document for details.

The CoA deadline is 15 days before the HAHC meeting date, and the 'Applications Received' list will be available following that deadline (but before the final agenda is available).

The HAHC agenda will be available at this web site prior to the meeting.

Minimum Lot Size/Minimum Building Line

Ordinances can be found on the City of Houston web site at the 'Code of Ordinances' page. Use this URL, or if obsolete, search for the 'Code of Ordinances' page.

From this page, do the following:
Click on the link for 'Searchable Code of Ordinances and City Charter'
You will be directed to a web site that contains the Ordinances for Houston, Texas
Click the 'Chapter 42 – Subdivisions, Developments, and Platting' link in the left pane
Click the 'Article III – Planning Standards' link in the right pane
Click each of the 'Division 4 – Lots and Reserves' links to read the associated content.

Alternatively, information can be accessed via the Houston Planning and Development web page.

More information about individual properties can be found at www.HCAD.org (Harris County Appraisal District), or by calling the Planning and Development department at 713.837.7880.

Residential Parking Permits

The City of Houston has an ordinance that allows residents to establish ‘residents only’ parking along their block. Once a block is designated ‘residents only’ only residents and their guests will be able to park on the street.

This will be especially helpful on residential streets near White Oak and Studewood, but this designation can be established on any block.

To find out about how to apply for a ‘residents only’ designation for your block, see the City of Houston web page on this issue. http://www.houstontx.gov/parking/Residential-Parking-Permits