A New Home in Richwood Place, 1850 Norfolk

Construction has begun on a brand new single family home in the 1800 block of Norfolk on a 8625 square foot lot. Developer, Carol Isaak Barden is developing the home.

She recently sent us this photo which gives us a glimpse as to what things will eventually look like. Carol says she is working to make the home very “green.” Once all of her vendors are solidified, she’ll send us more photos and she’ll have a sign posted on the property with further details. We welcome Ms. Barden to our neighborhood!

1850 Norfolk, currently under construction

To read more about Carol and her company and to see photos of some of her other projects, visit: http://www.carolisaakbarden.com/

Richwood Place, A Post about Deed Restrictions

According to the City of Houston Planning Department, our neighborhood was originally platted in 1924. At that time, and as the neighborhood developed, there were deed restrictions encumbering  most, if not all of the properties that had an improvement, i.e. a single family home built. There have been many changes since that time. Most notably, the vast majority of the original deed restrictions lapsed according to their terms.  Recently, in the early 90s, neighbors and particularly the Civic Association began working to again form deed restrictions that would apply to the properties within our boundaries indefinitely and ultimately preserve the residential character of the neighborhood. They did this under Chapter 201 of the Texas Property Code. http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Neighborhood/docs_pdfs/Chapter201Chart.pdf

Because this process allowed property owners to exclude their properties from the restrictions, we do have a handful of properties within our neighborhood that are not deed restricted. We have entire blocks that are 100% deed restricted and other blocks that have 2 or 3 excluded properties. One of our goals as a Civic Association outlined in our bylaws is to encourage property owners to sign on to the deed restrictions, which offers certainty and security to themselves, future owners and neighbors. If you are concerned about an activity that may violate deed restrictions, do not hesitate to contact the deed restriction committee chair, Brian Kilpatrick (brianbkil@gmail.com) or the President of the Civic Association, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam (elrebekah@gmail.com).

As a side note, the majority of our neighborhood now has both the minimum lot size protection and the minimum building line protection through the Houston Planning Department. This sets a standard for the entire block for twenty years concerning what can be developed and where. Properties on blocks that have been approved for this ordinance are not able to opt out of this protection. Our deed restrictions do not allow for structures of any kind, including fences, to be built closer than 20 feet from the front property line. However, a property that is not deed restricted, but is subject to a 20 foot setback by the Minimum Building Line Ordinance can build a fence as long as it does not require a permit (currently, permits are required for fences 8 feet tall or taller or built with masonry) Again, please let Brian or Rebekah know if you have any questions specifically about deed restrictions or any other neighborhood concerns.


In Conjunction with Opening Day 2011 of Neartown Little League, there will be a “Ribbon Cutting” Ceremony at ERVAN CHEW PARK in honor of the recent improvements to the park.

When: Saturday, March 26, 2011 / 9:15 a.m.
Where: Ervan Chew Park

Program Participants (in order of appearance):
Master of Ceremonies – Mr. Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department
The Honorable Wanda Adams, Council Member District D, City of Houston
The Honorable Sue Lovell, Council Member At-Large 2, City of Houston
Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam, President, Richwood Place Civic Association

What: 15 minute ceremony to celebrate the improvements at Ervan Chew Park

Thanks to one of our residents and active members of the Neartown Little League, we were notified of this event this week and are happy to report that our neighborhood will be included in this celebration. We hope you can join us on Saturday.

Please also note that the Richwood Place Civic Association Board is working diligently to make further improvements to the park and we have received approval from the Parks Board to make some aesthetic improvements. We will be presenting these to the general membership for discussion and vote at the next general meeting.

Alabama Theatre’s Future Uncertain

From KUHF:

Houston’s historic Alabama Theatre could soon undergo renovations. As Laurie Johnson reports — Weingarten Realty is considering a plan to gut the interior and lease the space as a big box retail store.

The Alabama Theatre on Shepherd is one of two surviving Art Deco theaters in Houston, along with the River Oaks Theatre.

It was built in 1939 and operated as a movie theatre until 1983. It was then converted into a Bookstop, but as David Bush with the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance points out, the bookstore maintained the theatre’s art deco interior.

You can read the full article on the KUHF web site.

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.


    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.