(Hope this is the right place to comment …)
I am a recent resident in the Magnolia Grove neighborhood, involved in our civic club. However I am not familiar with your organization and projects. Here are some feedback based on your posted presentations and our experience:
* Given the greater economic crunch we are likely to endure for the long run, it seems crucial to prioritize and set achievable goals – separate the Must-Have/Nice2Haves, and pick the Do-ables. Neighborhood inputs can help us set the priorities.
* I can speak for the Rice Military/Magnolia Grove section of Washington Ave corridor. Overall it is a very nice, above-average place to live in greater Houston, and on the upswing. The following are IMO the main issues for concern:
– Unbalanced development tipped toward bar/nightlife establishments – bringing excessive fun-seeking outside crowd into the neighborhood, with associated crime, traffic, parking, and other quality-of-live issues. More worrisome is the “bust cycle” that such entertainment districts always undergo – Richmond Ave. is the textbook example. And a main force of that decline, the Davari Brothers, is in the process of expanding their “adult entertainment empire” into the neighborhood. If the bars and clubs expand significantly beyond current proportions, I believe they will start dragging down property values and driving the middle-class residents away.
– The lack of quality local public schools is probably the #1 obstacle that will throttle neighborhood growth and stability. No matter how much we love this neighborhood, once we have children, we’ll be forced out to the suburbs unless we can afford private schools. The great location and local amenities would be wasted if the neighborhood can’t support family life. I certainly don’t see any reason financially, based on our robust property tax base.
– Given our geographical location between downtown and Memorial Park/Galleria, a good reliable public transit line can greatly reduce our daily auto traffic and commuting. Perhaps too late now, but we should be persistent in pointing out the value of a Washington-corridor east-west connection.
– I know we don’t have zoning, but the gradual concrete-junglization in the neighborhood shows no sign of abating. Every single-family home sold seem to be converted into at least 3 three-storey townhomes, with lawn and yards replaced by building walls practically up to the curb. Is there any recourse for us to restrict this growth – in terms of maximum road & utility infrastructure capacity, or open space/setback rules? The density of townhomes in certain parts threatens to overwhelm the narrow local streets built over 30 years ago to support modest working-class homes.
These are the fundamental issues I can think of. Thanks again for all the work and dedication for making our city more liveable.
Need to ensure parking for businesses is sufficient rather than pushing it off into the neighborhoods where it clogs the streets and where people dump their trash in our yards!!!!!
Thanks for your comments!
With regards to schools, I highly recommend taking a tour of Crockett Elementary in the First Ward. I got to do so a few months ago and was blown away (my child is zoned there when he gets older too)! They are fast tracked to become a fine arts magnet this year and it’s a fantastic school.
Also, if you have any additional ideas about the community, even after the study is complete, please visit http://www.neighborland.com/washave You will always have an opportunity to add new ideas there.
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