Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Matt Festa highlights the next big land use controversy in everyone's favorite unzoned city, Houston. In short, residents of a fancy neighborhood are fighting the siting of a 17-story office tower with traffic and infrastructure concerns.
"It will be costly to both sides," said former state Sen. Jack Ogg, who lives near the San Felipe site and opposes the project. "We have to protect our property rights. We have no choice." Ogg and other opponents believe the structure will increase congestion and cause safety hazards. They say it does not fit into the area, a mix of condos, townhomes, apartments and one- to two-story businesses.
"You have a situation with an affluent neighborhood with resources, a heightened level of interest and stake in the outcome," Festa said. That raises an equality issue, Festa said, about who can muster the most resources to fight a development. While the amount of money and time spent does not guarantee legal success, well-funded efforts may elicit more attention and generate public pressure. [...] "In the long-term, higher-level scholars who study this field are asking questions like: Do these wealth disparities argue for more generalized command and control or less?