Lack of data won't hinder city's effort to stop Ashby high rise*

As he noted here, Neal Meyer has written a post about a meeting he attended last week regarding the Ashby high-rise ordinance Mayor White is pushing at the behest of Southampton residents. (Did any local media attend the meeting?)

What stands out is how capricious and ill-defined this ordinance seems to be. Not to mention that it will move broad powers from elected officials to the city's public works director -- an alarming thought, indeed, after you read some of the things the public works representative had to say.

Anyway, give it a read, and be glad someone attended the meeting and wrote about it!

(*The title refers to an answer given by an official in response to a question: "We don't know yet. We are limited by the lack of data."

Remember, this is an ordinance Mayor White attempted to fast-track ... when the city lacked data.)

KEVIN WHITED ADDS:

That's a good essay by Neal Meyer that ought to be read in its entirety.

Two snippets in particular really caught my eye, though.

First:

Amongst the questions expressed about the rewritten ordinance is whether the Director of Public Works is to decide whether a required traffic study is good or bad? There are supposed to be objective and quantitative measures that are to govern the revised traffic studies that are to be mandated. There is supposed to be predictability in the ordinance. Still, anyone with an inquiring and skeptical mind could easily be left wondering whether such studies could be tossed aside and left to the whims of caprice based on what is expedient from the standpoint of being able to pander to political opportunism.

That's been one of my concerns since Mayor White started trying to fast-track this matter and bypass the usual vetting and debate (a process that that we saw when the SafeClear fiasco launched, and had to be revamped considerably after public outcry). And it also seems to be a concern of Christof Spieler (who knows, maybe the Chronicle will decide to quote him as an expert on this matter!).

Second:

I also discovered that there is a very good reason for why former Mayor Bob Lanier expressed his concern about more planning and regulations. If you are scratching you head and wondering about how the sausage of this ordinance is going to turn out once it is fully ground out, then you should be dismayed to hear that I learned from one meeting attendee that there are no fewer than nineteen other ordinances whose reworkings are in the pipeline! But to quote one interested party:

Road activist Wendell Cox is being brought into Houston next week to talk to Houston City Council members on behalf of the new anti-planning effort led by former Mayor Bob Lanier, developer Richard Weekley, and construction executive Leo Linbeck, Jr. The purpose of the group, called “Houstonians for Responsible Growth,” is to stop what they call “more extensive planning and regulations” in the City of Houston.

Maybe this gentleman can explain to the public which ordinances are amongst the nineteen that are being revamped?

How interesting. I can't imagine why we haven't heard more about this from the area's newspaper of record!

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 01/13/08 07:36 PM | |

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