In This Issue

Hurricane Report

October General Meeting (10/13) Features Art and Candidates

Heights Urban Forest Day (10/4)

Heights Bicycle Rally (10/5)

National Night Out (10/7) Observance Cancelled

Ghost Tales Under The Stars (10/25)

Director Election Schedule

Candidate Statements

Holiday Home Tour - List Of Homes

Restoration Met In The Dark After Ike

New Members


Reagan Alumni Invited To Game (10/3)

Heights Residents Invited To Reagan JV Game (10/10)

How's Your Home After Ike? AIA Houston Offers Free Assessment Service

National Trust Seeks Assessment Volunteers

City Requests Info On Damaged Historic Buildings

Information About Ike Damage And Your Property Tax Appraisal

Utility Credits

Important Notice Regarding Storm Damage Repair Work


Staff and Contributors


logo for The Heights
Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association
Volume Thirty-Four, Number Ten, October 2008
Click here for the print-format PDF version.
Click here for back issues.
Click here to return to main HHA site.

Hurricane Report

by Mark Williamson, HHA President

I hope this issue of The Heights finds you all well and without too much property damage. We have all had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike to some extent, and many of us will be doing so for some time to come.

This article is to let you know how the properties that HHA owns, rents, or maintains were affected by the storm and to let our out-of-town members know how the neighborhood fared. Parts of it will be familiar to some of you who were fortunate enough to have power and an Internet connection during the last two weeks.

Quite a number of trees lost limbs in Marmion Park. The crape myrtles along 18th Street are nearly gone. We have removed the smaller branches and scheduled a tree service to remove the larger ones. Kaiser Pavilion came through with no significant damage.

We also lost two medium-sized trees in Donovan Park. HHA volunteers cut them apart and removed much of the debris. The Heights Playground equipment suffered only slight damage, but we had to close the park until the remaining debris (including broken glass from several of the lights) could be cleared out. Other repairs are pending.

The historic Houston Heights Fire Station where we hold most of our meetings suffered some wind and water damage, but the structure is intact. Repairs there are being done professionally and should have started by the time you read this. There was no power at the Fire Station for over two weeks, so some meetings and rentals had to be adjusted or cancelled. The large pecan tree in the parking lot lost another major branch; the whole tree will have to be removed due to this damage and an earlier lightning strike.

contractor truck and downed treeThe Heights Boulevard esplanade lost quite a number of old trees and major parts of others. We have left the removal and cleanup of major trees to City contractors, who have already started working on some blocks [right].

Some of the trees planted in our Boulevard Reforestation Project were knocked over by Ike. volunteers on the esplanadeA group of HHA volunteers [left] has swept the esplanade, staking those that could be saved and clearing some of the smaller downed branches from larger trees. The foresight shown by those who initiated the reforestation to get a head start on replacing the tree losses on the esplanade is now clearly obvious.

Elsewhere in this issue, you will find a number of articles about aspects of the recovery effort and continuing effects of the storm. Most HHA meetings and events are still on track, including the Heights Bike Rally and Urban Forestry Day. National Night Out in Milroy Park has been cancelled. Several organizations are offering or seeking assistance or information.

The City of Houston has published a Hurricane Ike Recovery Guide available in PDF form. See the link on the temporary front page of their web site

City Solid Waste personnel resumed normal trash pickup schedules on Monday two days after the storm, but curbside recycling has been suspended in favor of picking up storm debris. The recycling drop-off site at 3602 Center (at Harvard) is open. That location is now accepting household batteries (such as AA, AAA, C, and D) due to the large number used while the power was out, in addition to aluminum and tin cans, plastic (#1-5 & 7), glass food and beverage bottles and jars, paper, and flattened corrugated cardboard boxes.

If you just can’t wait for the city to pick up your storm debris, and you have or can borrow a truck, four Solid Waste depositories are accepting small amounts (one pickup truck load or less) from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The depository serving the northwest area is at 6023 Windfern Road, just off the Hempstead Highway between Tidwell and North Gessner.

For information regarding regular garbage pickup, bagged yard waste, and heavy trash, go to

It is recommended that you separate debris into the following piles/areas: household garbage (in the black bin); bagged yard waste; tree limbs & stumps that may be possibly recycled; and other hurricane items such as treated wood (fences, lumber, etc.), carpet, tires, roof shingles, and broken lawn furniture.

The branch library on Heights is still closed, but the downtown central library is open from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and a growing number of neighborhood branches are open, including the Carnegie Neighborhood Library at 1050 Quitman in 77009. See the HPL web site at for more information.

For those of you still out of town:

Houston Heights lost quite a number of trees and major limbs. More than a few of them hit houses or blocked streets, but many more of them missed anything vital. Most of the ones in the streets were cleared (largely by residents) and traffic was moving after a day or two.

The water supply pressure was low and quality in question for a while (under a warning to boil before drinking), but that was a formality until testing could be completed after pressure was restored.

While some homes took on a little water through doors or windows, few if any in our immediate area experienced flooding from rising waters. We are called Houston Heights for a reason.

Almost all CenterPoint Energy customers in town lost power during the storm. Over the first two weeks, two million customers had power restored by teams from all over the country. As of 5:00 AM on September 29, 145,000 customers (6%) were still without power, including around six thousand in Heights area zipcodes (5% in 77007, 20% in 77008, and 12% in 77009).

HISD schools were closed for a week, but re-opened in phases as power was restored and damages repaired. Almost all were open by September 29.

Essentially all restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations were closed for some time. Many have now reopened.

National Night Out Observance Cancelled

Due to hurricane damage to Milroy Park, the observance of National Night Out previously planned for October 7 has been cancelled. We encourage you to plan a more local event with your immediate neighbors.

October General Meeting Features Art and Candidates

The October General Meeting will feature local artists. In addition, at the October meeting, the Houston Heights Association Board of Directors candidates will present brief campaign statements.

Some featured local artists include Karla Cisneros - Blue Crab Studio - a creative-arts firm specializing in the design and creation of jewelry and coastal accessories that celebrate the beauty of seashells and the pleasures of seaside living; Karen Farrell - Farrell’s Art Glass - specializing in custom stained glass for window and door applications, Duskin Hill - Images by Duskin - international award winning photographer focusing on nature, landscapes, abstracts and portraiture; Michael Huggins - works primarily in acrylics on canvas with themes ranging from tranquil landscapes to colorful botanicals; Julie Pettit - Jewels by Jule - specializes in beaded jewelry and unique hand made fabric purses; Adine Rotman - Adines Watercolors - specializes in watercolor animal portraits and watercolor nature scenes; Pam Steward - specializes in photography of the motion of underwater objects; and Naomi Smulian - specializes in abstract oil paintings and teaches children’s and adult art classes at Studio on the Boulevard at 17th and Heights.

Come join us for wine and cheese while you view local art and meet your candidates. Time: 7:00 PM. Date: Monday, October 13. Place: Fire Station 12th and Yale. See you there!

Heights Bicycle Rally

The Heights Bicycle Rally & Scavenger Hunt will start at 7:30 AM at the Fire Station, on Sunday, October 5. It is not a race. Participants can start at any time, as long as they finish by 4:00 PM. Over 200 entrants are expected this year.

This year’s 20-mile route will take riders on city bike trails through the Heights, Montrose, South Hampton, Morningside, Braeswood, Texas Medical Center, Herman Park, Midtown, Downtown, and Norhill. Unlike last year, when there were 16- and 24-mile routes, there will only be one route this year.

Mystery sites for the scavenger hunt will be located along the entire route. This year’s rally maps will also include food and drink options along the route.

The Heights Bicycle Rally and Scavenger Hunt awards ceremony will be a big party. Big Al’s Blues Band will perform, thanks to HHA member Mitch McFarland. The music should start about 3:30 PM.

Around 4:00 PM, MC Martin Piké will start issuing awards and the drawing for prizes will begin. Every child (12 & under) who finishes the rally will receive a prize. There will be a separate drawing for adults.

For more information, visit or call rally chair Paul Carr at 713-869-0505.

Heights Urban Forestry Day - Saturday October 4

Celebrate our Heights Urban Forest! The Heights Association invites you to a fun and educational Urban Forestry Day at the Fire Station from 8:00 AM to Noon on Saturday, October 4. Refreshments, Coffee Bar, and Giveaways for all participants.

The Heights has the greatest number of Champion Trees in Houston. Learn about stewardship of our Heights Urban Forest. Did you know that our largest trees are over 100 years old? Register your Champion Tree, and pick up a seedling to grow into a Champion Tree for future generations! Bring a sample from your garden for a plant ID by one of our specialists. Sign up for trees for your garden or right-of-way at the Fire Station.

Target, Trees for Houston, Newton Wholesale Nursery, Heights Community Garden, Heights area landscape and garden designers, Texas Forestry Service, City of Houston, Parks People, and more will be there!

On Heights Boulevard, take a guided walk with an urban forester! You buzz by every day - this is a special opportunity to see up close the amazing native trees and plants that are cared for and nurtured by HHA volunteers all year long, for our daily enjoyment!

Learn the secret from a Garden Guru on how to choose the right site, properly prepare the area, plant, and care for a tree. Tree planting on the Boulevard follows!

Experience a family fun day in our Heights Urban Forest! Produced by the Houston Heights Association. Everyone is invited!

November 4 Meeting

Next month, Urban Forestry will be meeting at 729 Rutland, the home of Victoria Harrison and Jay Wehnert, who are serious collectors of outsider folk art. Their historic home was featured on a Spring Home Tour several years ago and in the HHA Newsletter “Living in Tandem with Trees.” Victoria has arranged a special presentation of Betsy Siegel’s prints and cards showcasing Houston’s magnificent Oak Trees.

Ghost Tales Under The Stars

Join the Houston Storytellers Guild for its annual free ghost story program at Marmion Park Saturday, October 25. Guild tellers will spin scary stories from 7:30 to 9:00 PM. Bring a blanket or folding chairs and a snack, suspend your disbelief, and prepare to be scared! Thanks to the Houston Heights Association for cosponsoring this free event!

For more information about this or other Houston Storytellers Guild programs, check their website:

Platinum Sponsors

The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2008-2009 Platinum sponsors:

Allied Waste San Jacinto Stone

Director Election Schedule

Seven of the fifteen positions on the HHA Board of Directors will be filled by election over the next few months. Five positions are opening due to normal expiration of terms; members elected to these five positions will have three-year terms. Two positions are for the remaining last year of terms ended by resignations.

The five nominees receiving the highest numbers of votes will fill the three-year terms; the nominees receiving the sixth and seventh-highest vote counts will fill the one-year vacancies.

The schedule for the election of Directors to serve terms starting in 2009 will be as follows, in accordance with the By-Laws and Policies of the Association:

• At the September General Meeting, 15 names were placed in nomination for the 7 positions available. Nominees submitted written statements, which appear below.

• October 13, nominees or their representatives may speak on their qualifications at the General Meeting for 3 minutes. They will also draw for ballot positions.

• On or before October 20, the Election Committee will mail a ballot with a control number to each member whose dues are current as of October 1.

• By November 8 at the close of the post office, ballots returned by mail must be received with control numbers intact.

• November 10, polls will be open for secret balloting in person from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM before the General Meeting. The Election Committee will tabulate ballots and announce the results during the meeting. The results will also be published in the December newsletter.

Candidate Statements

Park Blair: As a business owner in The Heights I have seen the diversity of the people who live and really enjoy being a part of the Houston Heights. I appreciate the support of the people here and welcome the opportunity of giving back to the community. Thank you all for your support and consideration.

Hilary Cobb: A resident and member of the Houston Heights Association since 1994. Docented Home Tours including her own on Arlington in Home Tour 2000. My mission would be to find common ground to incorporate the very best of the old with the promise of the new in our neighborhood.

Anne Culotta: I feel strongly that the Heights is a neighborhood with a great history behind it and an even better future ahead. The key word here is neighborhood: homes, businesses, schools, parks and people. The Heights is not just an investment opportunity nor is it a bungalow museum. Balance is essential.

Mary Ellis: Experience has prepared me: A founder of the Heights Home Tour, 1978; Survey committee, Multi-Resource Area; Home Tour Chairman 1981; Residence on 1983 Tour; Chaired Christmas in the Heights; HHA Board in 1980s; HHA Board, 2008. Im ready and eager to serve again!

Simon Eyles: Heights resident since 1984, long time HHA member. Two homes on spring tour. Regular volunteer for home tour, bike rally and fun run. I will support our neighborhood by appreciating our past and looking towards our future. I feel proud to live in such a wonderful and diverse community.

Michael Jungnickel: Living in the Heights, and watching its character be developed out of existence house by house, has made me want to become more closely involved in the efforts of the Houston Heights Association to balance preservation of neighborhood character and responsible growth in one of Houston’s most historically significant neighborhoods.

Amy Lawson: I am a fourth generation Heights resident, neighborhood food pantry volunteer, and archivist for All Saints Church. I hold an MA in History and am interested in preserving the historic integrity and vibrancy of our neighborhood. I look forward to bringing enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to the HHA board.

Sue McFarland: We recently chose to live in the Heights because of the small town feel, beautiful historic homes and strong community. I will bring a fresh, new approach to the Board to work together with different elements of our community to help achieve a reasonable balance between preservation and compatible re-development.

Genie Mims: As 2008 VP of Communications, I know the importance of advertising HHA events throughout the community. I also realize the need for an exchange of ideas and information among the membership and board. If re-elected, I hope to develope a way to open up these lines of communication.

Martin Piké: I am currently a board member. I am a long-time Heights resident and have volunteered for many Heights events. I am a small business owner in the neighborhood. My wife and I just completed a total remodel of an 1898 home. I am eager to serve a full term as a Board member.

Paula Swain Priestly: Building set back for block, block captain for West Heights Historical District Task Force (her block -70%), docent for HHA Home Tours, walked HHA - City tree inventory and instrumental in raising awareness of historic oaks (Ashland) to be cut down and thus saved the annual herons’ nesting site.

Margarete Sanchez-Ripps: 8 year Heights resident & owner of The Artful Corner, which won “2005 Commercial Renovation” Award. Sponsor of many community events including: School Supply Drive, Hamilton Fundraiser, National Night Out. HHA volunteer: Fun Run, Awards Dinner, Spring Home Tour Ad-Sales Chair. Goal: Strengthen relationships between Heights businesses and the community.

Christine Spin: Chaired Home Tour twice, supporter of Heights artists. I will cultivate broader perspective and forge relationships so that we maintain character of the neighborhood, even as the city around us grows and changes. My focus will be special events to raise neighborhood funds and nurture our unique sense of community.

Bart Truxillo: Historic preservation and the hard work of the HHA have succeeded in making our wonderful neighborhood most desirable. Dealing with this success is even more of a challenge. Once again I wish to be apart of this effort. Thank you Bart Truxillo

Janet Wagner: Being involved in the primary documentation for the Heights Multi-Resource District and author of old Sixth Ward Historic District, historic preservation of neighborhood scale and quality is the primary focus of my interest in the Heights Association.

Get Your Tickets Now for the 2008 Holiday Home Tour

Recently described by Southern Living as “one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in the South’s biggest city,” the Heights will be the scene of the 2008 Historic Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour on Friday, December 5, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM and Saturday, December 6, from 3:00 to 9:00 PM.

Appropriately themed “Enchantment,” the tour will feature six spectacular homes, including three historic residences -- a 1908 Texas farmhouse, 1920 brick Craftsman bungalow, and 1912 American Foursquare -- and three newer homes reflecting traditional Heights architecture. The homes will be delightfully decorated for the holidays. Docents will be stationed at each home to point out the rich history, architectural features, furnishings, and decorations.

A special “holiday bundle” -- 10 tickets for $150 -- can be purchased online at the HHA web site only during the month of October, so shop early!

Individual advance tickets are $17 and can also be purchased online; they will be available soon at various Heights locations. Tickets purchased online can be picked up at the will-call booth at the Fire Station during the tour. Tickets purchased on the days of the tour will cost $20 or $5 for a single home and will be available at the Heights Fire Station at 107 W. 12th at Yale Street and at each home.

Three buses will operate during the tour. Patrons may board the buses at stops located at each home and at the Fire Station.

Thanks to the generosity of Reliant Energy, tour ticket holders can have complimentary holiday-themed photos taken of them at the Fire Station.

Homes On Tour:

* The Williamson Home at 1433 Columbia Street, built in 1908 and enlarged in 1928, is a Texas farmhouse nestled behind a charming cottage garden. The house has a large country kitchen with a 1930s Chambers range and an island created from an antique buffet. Traditional holiday decorations include an extensive collection of “Twelve Days of Christmas” items.

* The Ouellette Home at 1132 Heights Boulevard is a 1920 brick Craftsman bungalow and garage apartment located on the middle lot of three lots connected with lush landscaping. The original kitchen and baths add to the home’s charm.

* The Henry Hicks McCain House at 1026 Allston Street, built in 1912 as an American Foursquare in the Arts and Crafts mold, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is named after one of the Heights’ original residents. The current owners renovated the home’s interior and exterior, using reclaimed hardwoods, natural materials, and antique accessories found locally, including reclaimed/restored light fixtures.

* Miz Magnolia at 408 E. 7th Street, a Southern Classic residence sited among mature magnolia and oak trees, boasts many custom features, such as several fireplaces, a wine room, wooden bar top, cedar courtyard doors, and a deep porch extending across the front and one side of the house. Ten rooms will be open for viewing during the tour.

* The Counts Home at 719 Oxford is a Queen Anne-style residence with many custom improvements, including stained glass and a wood-burning fireplace. Highlights include a turret, front and back porches, and extensive landscaping. In celebration of the holiday season, the owners will display teddy bear- and Dalmatian-themed Christmas trees, Lionel trains and a snow village.

* The Worthington Home at 1135 Heights Boulevard is a newly constructed, 10,000-square-foot replica of an 1897 Queen Anne Victorian in Virginia. The residence features an extensive front porch, antique fireplace, custom stained glass windows, and two copper-capped turrets. The owner’s collections of more than 200 dolls - dating from the 15th century to 21st century - and blown glass ornaments will be on display.

Bronze Sponsors

The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Fall 2008 Bronze Sponsor:

Suzanne Anderson Properties

Restoration Met In The Dark After Ike

The Restoration Committee sends a really great big “Thank you!” to John Palmer for the meeting held at his home/studio on Thursday, September 25, with candles and flashlights. Since John did not have electricity for the meeting, we had a very small intimate meeting group, and everyone was most understanding.

John led the group of attendees around the exterior by flashlight to show how he did not want any of the rear addition to be obvious from Heights Blvd since he was very aware of the sensitivities of building in the Heights. Inside, John led the group upstairs to view all the rooms by candlelight, which added a mysterious air to the meeting, which was very, very unusual and quite enjoyable.

The special touches to the upstairs master bath with unusual tile design added a great deal to the overall idea to save the old building but yet maintain a functional contemporary living space inside.

In the original bungalow, one point of special interest was the use of the original shiplap wood walls, which were caulked for insulation and exposed for a rustic look. The City inspector remarked “this must be an artist’s home with that feature.” John insisted that the original doors be utilized in the restored/added construction.

John’s artwork was not exhibited well; therefore he invited the committee back for a future date to see all the work from his collection and that which he has in progress. John did show and tell the group about his insistence on using wood from restored homes in the Heights in his sculptures, only one of his interesting creative ideas using recycled materials.

John deserves special attention because of his dedication to all things in the Houston Heights and the Association. He even thought about getting a generator for the meeting but committee chair Dean Swanson discouraged it. A great layout of munchies and champagne was served to the small group that attended. In many ways it served as a pre-Halloween nighttime home tour. John always goes first-class!

The next meeting will be held on November 20 at 1630 Harvard. The home is new, replacing one that was struck by lightning, caught fire, lost most of the second story, stood vacant for months, and was found to be too structurally unsound to remodel or add onto. For more details, see the announcement in the September issue, and watch for a possible update in the November issue.

New Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new or returning members to the Houston Heights Association.

  • Kelly Belcher, Financial Advisor
  • Kevin Buras
  • Karen Carter
  • Jimmy Devlin
  • Wulf Focke
  • Steve Hughes
  • Ramsey Jankowski
  • Morse Renovations and Custom Homes
  • Cecelia Ottenweller
  • Laura Pineda
  • Darra Robertson
  • Steve Rogero
  • Kinan Romman
  • Gloria Sanchez
  • Jamie Sava
  • Eileen Smedley
  • Ruel Smith & Cheryl Ray
  • Anthony Vance
  • Shelby Wilson


Thanks to the following for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.

  • Betsy & Scott Baxter
  • Robert Bergeron - Parks & Boulevard
  • Stacey & Mark Courville - Flower Gardens, Boulevard, Parks
  • Eileen Donaghy & Mary Stuart - Boulevard
  • Kevin Grice - Boulevard
  • Darra Robertson - Boulevard
  • Steve Rogero - Flower Gardens
  • Eileen Smedley - Flower Gardens

Reagan Alumni Invited to Join “Dawg Pound” as Bulldogs Face Rival Waltrip on October 3

On Friday, October 3, the Reagan Bulldogs will face off against the Waltrip Rams at 7:30 PM in Dyer Stadium located at 2020 Mangum. “Due to a shortened home team schedule, this game will honor Reagan Alumni as well as serve as our annual Homecoming football game,” notes Reagan Athletic Coordinator Coach Harry Colon.

Reagan Alumni are encouraged to attend the game an hour early to take part in a Tailgate Party being hosted by accounting firm and school business partner, Deloitte & Touche. Bulldog attire for the evening will be maroon spirit shirts - either vintage or current. A canopy will be located outside the stadium entrance from 6:30 to 7:30 PM where alumni can stop to mingle with other classmates while enjoying light refreshments before the game.

The Reagan cheerleaders, band, and bulldog mascot will also be on hand to greet and entertain the tailgaters. Attendees will have an opportunity to join the Reagan “Dawg Pound” by having their face painted or a paw print tattoo applied.

Heights residents are also invited to come cheer on the Bulldogs as these two long-standing rivals face off.

For more information about the Reagan Alumni Game, please contact Coach Harry Colon, 713-865-4400 or visit the Reagan Alumni website:

Heights Residents Invited to Reagan’s JV Football Game on Oct. 10

Are you ready for some football? No, not on TV or across town, but in your own neighborhood! Reagan’s JV football home games are now being played at their newly completed athletic fields. If you haven’t seen the Olympic-quality track and fields for yourself, come by and watch an exciting high school football game.

On Friday, October 10, the Reagan Bulldogs will face off against the Westbury Spartans kicking off at 5:00 PM. “We want to welcome all of our community friends and neighbors to come see our facilities and cheer on our winning Bulldogs,” says Principal Connie Berger {right, with the team mascot].

The Reagan cheerleaders, band, pep squad, and bulldog mascot will lead the cheers and entertain spectators. Attendees will also have an opportunity to join the Reagan “Dawg Pound” by having their face painted or a paw print tattoo applied. Plus, many local businesses will give away items and refreshments at this free event.

For more information about the Reagan Community Game, please contact the school’s main office, 713-865-4400 or email

How’s Your Home After Ike?
AIA Houston Offers Free Assessment Service

home with a tree through it

AIA Houston (a chapter of the American Institute of Architects) will operate an emergency disaster action office from September 29 to December 19, 2008, to assess damaged buildings in the greater Houston area, including Galveston and Beaumont. Volunteer Registered Architects will complete American Institute of Architects Survey Forms specifically created for disaster assessments. The AIA-Houston Disaster Action operations are modeled on those used in other recent disasters, including hurricanes Rita and Katrina. This service is free to building owners and carries no obligation.

Beginning Monday, September 29, applicants for damage assessments can call 713-226-7443 (outside of Houston: 888-388-1885) or email AIA-HDA at to set up an appointment to meet an architect at the damaged property. The volunteers will provide thoughtful, independent surveys to help building owners understand the nature and severity of damage to their property, which will aid communication with insurance companies and contractors. The surveys will provide long-term solutions for repairs and recommendations for avoiding future damage.

Antoine Bryant, Assoc. AIA, is the project manager. Experienced disaster relief workers from Disaster Action, Inc., a subsidiary of the Texas Society of Architects, will train volunteers. To volunteer for the program, email AIA Houston or call 713-520-0155.

Information About Ike Damage And Your Property Tax Appraisal

from the Harris County Appraisal District

Normally, tax appraisals are determined as of January 1 of the year. The tax bill you receive for this year (2008) will be based on that January 1 value, even if you have sustained damage from Hurricane Ike. HCAD has no legal authority to change values based on damage that occurs after January 1. However, individual taxing jurisdictions (the county, your city, your school district, etc.) can ask HCAD to do a “disaster reappraisal” of their property, which would result in a value change for damaged property in the jurisdiction.

The district plans to reinspect areas that have received the most damage prior to January 1, 2009. If your property has not been repaired by January 1, 2009, your 2009 reappraisal will reflect the value of the property as of January 1, 2009.

National Trust Seeks Assessment Volunteers

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is compiling a list of structural engineers and architects willing to perform structural assessments of historic buildings in the Houston/Galveston area damaged by Hurricane Ike. Potential volunteers are requested to complete a short online survey. A National Trust coordinator will be in touch if your services are needed. See their blog post for more information. The Trust is posting online reports from Galveston as they become available.

City Requests Info On Damaged Historic Buildings

City of Houston Historic Preservation Officer Randy Pace is requesting information on historic buildings with major damage that need immediate repair. Please email a brief description of the damage and the street address of the property to Courtney Spillane or 713-837-7894.

Certificates of Appropriateness are not required for emergency repairs to designated City landmarks and contributing buildings in designated City historic districts. This exemption applies only to emergency repairs required to protect life and property; it does not apply to other alterations to designated historic buildings. For detailed information, email Thomas McWhorter or 713-837-7963.

Utility Credits

Many of us were without some or all utilities at our homes or workplaces for a week or two, maybe more. How do we get credit on our bills for the outages?

We hear that Comcast customers must call after their service is restored, let them know how long you were without services and which services (cable, phone, Internet, etc.) were out, and request the credit. Try 1-800-COMCAST (226-2278).

No action should be necessary for power credits. If your power was out, the meter wasn’t running. Your usage before the outage may have been estimated if your meter could not be read during the outage, resulting in a bill that is too high or too low; the following bill should correct for that.

Gas and water usage are also metered, so they should be self-correcting. Except for the boil warning shortly after Ike passed, we have not heard of outages in these services, but your usage may be lower or higher than usual if you evacuated or had to do more cooking with gas.

Call your wireless or wired phone provider for information on any possible service credits you may be due.

Important Notice Regarding Storm Damage Repair Work

from the City of Houston Code Update Newsletter

As the Houston area begins the process of cleaning up and rebuilding after Hurricane Ike, the City of Houston’s Public Works Department would like to provide the following basic repair considerations:

1. Building permits are required for most types of storm damage repair work involving the structure.

2. Electrical, mechanical and plumbing contractors who make repairs to your residential or commercial structure must be registered with the Code Enforcement office and obtain permits and inspections for the work they perform except for certain electrical and gas emergency connections. General Contractors (other than electrical, mechanical and plumbing) are not required to be registered with the City of Houston, but Residential Contractors must be registered with the Texas Residential Construction Commission.

3. We recommended that you obtain three bids and review them carefully, including the contractor’s insurance, before authorizing the work.

4. Homeowners may personally apply for plumbing and mechanical permits on properties they own and occupy as their residence.

5. If electrical outlets, switches and/or the electrical service were subject to wind driven rain, a licensed electrician should examine the equipment before use. An electrical permit is not required to have a licensed electrician examine your electrical system.

To learn if any complaints have been reported against a contractor, check with the Better Business Bureau at or call 713-868-9500.

SPECIAL NOTE: if your property is in the floodplain, you must contact the plan review section at 713-535-7666 before making any repairs.

Repair Permit Guidelines

Structural Repairs:

Permits are NOT REQUIRED for tarping or for replacing fences (<8’), paneling, flooring, insulation, wallpaper, paint, or similar finish work. For single family residences repair of damaged non-fire-rated sheetrock is exempt.

Permits are REQUIRED if your residential or commercial structure suffered any structural damage such as walls being moved or knocked down or a roof collapse. Permits are also REQUIRED for re-roofing, and replacing doors, and windows, any sheetrock in a business or entire boards of sheetrock in residences.

Electrical Repairs:

ALL ELECTRICAL REPAIR WORK REQUIRES A PERMIT AND MUST BE COMPLETED BY A LICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. The hurricane exception will allow emergency electrical reconnections performed by Master electricians licensed by the state and registered with Code Enforcement.

Mechanical Repairs:

Permits are NOT REQUIRED for the installation or replacement of air outlet grills, thermostats, return air filters or grills.

Permits are REQUIRED for replacing condensing units and evaporator coils, or for or relocating a condensing unit from its original location, replacing a condensing unit with one of a different tonnage rating, or installing or replacing ductwork or furnaces.

Plumbing Repairs:

Permits are NOT REQUIRED for minor repairs to plumbing fixtures such as replacing gaskets in faucets or the flushing mechanism inside the toilet tank.

Permits are REQUIRED for replacing toilets, faucets, or sinks, or anytime a plumbing fixture is disconnected or reconnected to the water/wastewater system.

Permit Office Locations

Downtown: 3300 Main St., 713-535-7733

Northwest: 3825 Dacoma, 713-686-6224

Northeast: 3915 Rustic Woods, 281-361-9580

South (Temporary): Houston Police Substation, 3511 Reed Road


Fax: 713-535-7973

Other Related Information

To report damage to streets or bridges, damage to traffic signals or signs, low water pressure, or missing manholes or sewer grates, call the Public Works Customer Response Center at 713-837-0311 (star 600 on a cell phone).

For a list of codes and design criteria see the Forms and Publications page on the Code Enforcement website:

Calendar of Events for October-November 2008








Curbside recycling has been suspended.






Heights 1st Sat.

Urban Forestry Day, 8 AM - 12, Fire Station


HHA Bike Rally, 7:30 AM - 4 PM, Fire Station


HHA Land Use, 6:30 PM, Fire Station


National Night Out Milroy Park event cancelled







HHA General Meeting “Local Artists,” 7:00 PM, Fire Station





Deadline for next newsletter




HHA Board Meeting, 6:30 PM, Fire Station



PIP meeting, 6:30 PM, 1602 State Street




Ghost Tales Under The Stars, 7:30-9:00 PM, Marmion Park



HHA Education Committee, 7:00 PM, 1545 Heights


HHA Crime & Security Committee, 6:30 PM, Fire Station



November 1


Heights 1st Sat


Daylight Savings Time ends


HHA Land Use Committee, 6:30 PM, Fire Station


Election Day

HHA Urban Forestry Group, 6:30 PM, 729 Rutland







HHA General Meeting: “Amazing Animals,” 7:00 PM, Fire Station


Veteran’s Day




Deadline for next newsletter




HHA Board Meeting, 6:30 PM, Fire Station








HHA Education Committee, 6:30 PM, 1545 Heights


HHA Crime & Security, 6:30 PM, Fire Station


PIP Meeting, 7:00 PM, 1600 State Street





HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.

Community Calendar

Events planned by other community organizations.

Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site

October 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 - Opera in the Heights presents Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at 8:00 PM in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For tickets or more information, call 713-861-5303 or visit

October 4 - SGI-USA Houston Culture Festival “Performing for Peace” from 2:00 OM to 6:00 PM on Dow School Green at MECA, 1900 Kane Street in Old Sixth Ward. Free admission. All ages welcome. For more information, visit

November 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22 - Opera in the Heights presents two works by Gaetano Donizetti in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For tickets or more information, call 713-861-5303 or visit

Future History

December 5-6, Holiday Home Tour

In 2009:

February 22, Awards Dinner

April 3-5, Spring Home Tour

April 18, HHA Camp-Out & Music Fest

June 6, Heights Fun Run

October 4, Bicycle Rally

The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.

Copyright 2008, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.

Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:

Editor, The Heights, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735;

email; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.

Staff and Contributors

Editor: Gerald Melancon

Editor Emeritus: Mark R. Williamson

October contributors:

Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Mike Easley, Lauriel Hindman, Trudy Nelson, Bob Pearson, Mark Willamson.