I am disappointed that Landan Kuhlmann’s article (December 21) about the proposed Design Guidelines did not present the reasons why these guidelines should be accepted as is, not altered by Bill Baldwin, and passed by City Council. Bill Baldwin has said “his neighbors” are furious about the guidelines. He lives in Woodland Heights. The Design Guidelines apply only to Houston Heights. Which neighbors are these?
In the public hearing in November, Baldwin opposed the design guidelines’ side setbacks and floor area restrictions for houses and garages, arguing instead for wider, larger, and taller houses and garages to be built in Houston Heights. He calls the guidelines “arbitrary”. because developers and builders would have to follow rules and restrictions. Oh my, this really would be a calamity.
He claims to know current homeowners oppose these guidelines. This seems strange and I have tried to figure out why.
These homeowners live in a big house in Houston Heights, but want to be able to move to a really big house? Or they feel comforted by having even larger houses around them? They seek perceive increased neighborhood prestige if all the houses in Houston Heights are huge and look alike? Sort of like Greatwood in Sugar Land or Champion’s Forest?
Kuhlmann allows those of us who approve of the Design Guidelines as written, to be classified as “the same ones” who fought for the Historic Districts, “those who want the neighborhood to remain the same.” These are meant to be pejorative classifications, “Preservationist’s views” (we all know that is a dirty word in Houston). The article conveys that these folks, who also live in the neighborhood, are die-hards? or anti-progressive?
The reality is that the three Heights Historic Districts will be greatly undermined if these Design Guidelines are changed to please Bill Baldwin, and the “character” of these historic districts which) Baldwin said is “what makes Houston Heights unique,” (Leader 12/2/17) will most certainly be diminished by construction of even larger houses and garages extending from lot line to lot line. In my opinion, Houston will ultimately be very sorry if this, their largest historic neighborhood, goes away.