Neartown Meeting — March 2010

I attended the March 2010 Neartown meeting this evening, hosted by David Robinson, the Neartown president, at the Cherryhurst Park Community Center. Richwood Place is now a member in good standing of the Neartown association. The meeting was attended by members and officers of Neartown Civic Associations as well as representatives from the offices of Council Member Wanda Adams, Council Member Stephen Costello, and Senator Rodney Ellis.

You can expect that minutes will be posted on the Neartown web site, but I have a few notes from the discussion topics:

Capital Improvement Planning

    The Neartown Association is working on a number of CIP requests on behalf of the superneighborhood and the 21 civic associations that Neartown represents. David Robinson, Neartown President, has complained to the city and our council members about the lack of transparency in this process and the difficulty of the request process.Richwood Place has submitted a request to Council Member Adams and I will forward that request to Neartown’s leadership. There are many other neighborhoods in our superneighborhood that are having severe sewage problems and other matters that need to be addressed by CIP as soon as possible.

Carnegie Vanguard High School

    Carnegie Vanguard High School (web site) is a HISD magnet school for gifted and talented students. It is currently located in South Houston and will be relocating to Taft and West Gray in 2012. They will have 600 students in 2012.

    They are currently seeking a parking variance to prevent having to create an excess number of parking spots on a green lot. The city requires they have in excess of 300 parking spots, but they only have 104 in their current location and are requesting a variance to allow 225 parking spots.

HEB

    There has been a lot of talk in the neighborhood, in the news, and on this web site about a proposed HEB on the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, which by some is considered the most valuable piece of open property in the city. HEB has purchased the property. They have applied for a re-plat without variances. This does not require a vote before the planning commission.

    The City has encouraged HEB to work with Neartown and the association President has met with HEB’s Director of Real Estate at HEB’s corporate headquarters. He reports that HEB has hired an arborist to assist with the tree-filled property and that HEB is pointing out that a supermarket would create new jobs, be an increase in the tax base, and that they could offer a green plan that is conservation oriented.

    Representatives at the meeting discussed a number of potential layouts, traffic issues, and land use concerns. The property is on the agenda for the City of Houston Planning Committee on April 1st.

There will be a Neartown Development Forum at the end of May for residents to work together and with the city to discuss the development and planning of the Montrose area. I will post an update when there are more concrete details.

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