Can’t Win ‘Em All

After years of legalities and bright yellow signs, it seems the controversy over the Ashby high-rise project has come to an end. Mayor Annise Parker recently announced that the city had exhausted all legal channels of banishing the project and that it would go forward.

Needless to say, the front lines of the Stop the Ashby High Rise organization are very disappointed. They have fought this project tooth and nail since it was first conceived in 2007, mostly due to concerns about traffic, safety and preserving the integrity of their affluent neighborhood.

Situations like this one are tough. They demonstrate the pros and cons of Houston’s notorious no-zoning policies, the same laws that give Houston its unique texture but may also threaten its future. I think most residents  agree that preserving Houston’s historic neighborhoods is important. And yet, the enterprising spirit of our community requires that we not prevent someone from turning a profit (as long as it’s a legal venture, of course).

It will be interesting to see how this development changes this neighborhood, and I’m not just talking about traffic. One member of the Stop the Ashby High Rise initiative has gone public with his “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” attitude toward any who will benefit from or be involved in this project in any way, including real estate professionals and residents. Also, the group refuses to call the game even though the outcome seems final.

You have to admire their dedication and, at the same time, hope the neighborhood will embrace their new neighbors in time. What do you think? Do “good projects always get built”? Or should we protect the integrity of our neighborhoods at all costs?

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