Developer maneuver may make White Oak Bayou-Heights bike trail condo project tough to control

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When developers sought a variance for the Emes Place condo project, posting signs around the property allowing comment to the Planning Commission were one part of the process. It has become less restrictive now that the variance is no longer being sought. (Photo by Charlotte Aguilar)

by Charlotte Aguilar

Canadian developers of a condominium project on a wooded 1.4-acre plot near the Heights Bike Trail and White Oak Bayou late have dropped their request for a variance to develop the site – thereby allowing the city of Houston far less control over their revised plans.

Suzy Hartgrove, spokeswoman for Houston’s planning & development department, confirmed to The Leader that The Viewpoint at The Heights, L.P., altered its plans for “Emes Place” and will now construct a public street over a bridge and install a cul de sac. Earlier plans had called for a private street that would have required a variance and allowed the Planning & Zoning Commission some latitude in approving the project.

Now, said Hartgrove, if the plans meet minimum standards of Chapter 42 of the city’s Code of Ordinances, the commission will have no choice legally but to approve it.

While the initial plans for the property, which borders the hike-and-bike trail and Fifth Street, were for 84 condo units, Hartgrove said the new plans have not specified the density.
City staff was reviewing the new plans to make a recommendation to the Planning Commission, and Hartgrove said she expected it to be on the agenda on Thursday of this week.

The project, which originated eight years ago, has been opposed by Mayor Annise Parker, At-Large Councilmember Melissa Noriega and District C Councilmember Ellen Cohen, as well as the White Oak Bayou Association and Responsible Urban Development for Houston because of concerns about the impact on the bayou, flooding and the area’s greenspace.

Stay with us to follow developments in this story.


  1. marksmu says

    Its comical how Responsible Urban Development is even mentioned as opposition, as if that mattered at all. RUDE is nothing more than a hack group of NIMBY anti-Walmart nobodies….They carry about as much clout in Houston as stray cats.

  2. dara childs says

    Does this surprise anyone? They own the land. They want to build. Why subject themselves to a meddlesome beauracracy if they don’t have to.


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