Monthly Planner
Updates from your City of Houston

August 2018
Historic Guidelines Passed!

The long-awaited Houston Historic Heights
A large Queen Anne-style home in the Heights South Historic District
Design Guidelines were adopted by City Council after three years of intense community collaboration. City Council approved the Design Guidelines on July 25, and they will be in place by October. These guidelines set objective rules for development and redevelopment in the Historic Heights East, West, and South Historic Districts.

"The criteria for appropriate changes to historic properties in these districts are now clearly laid out. These guidelines make the design process more predicable for applicants, property owners, and Planning staff," according to Matt Kriegl, the City's Historic Preservation Officer.

The three year engagement process involved hundreds of residents and property owners, dozens of community meetings, and an in-depth survey of property owner preferences. Visit the project page for more information on the guidelines.
State of the City Address to APA
The Houston Chapter of American Planning Association (APA) received an overview of the City of Houston Planning and Development Department on July 21, with a comprehensive presentation given at our offices. Deputy Director Margaret Wallace Brown presented information about ongoing P&D projects, including Complete Communities, Walkable Places, the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan, and Hurricane Harvey related updates. She spoke on the past, present and future developments and projects underway in and around the city, and provided updates on economic, housing and recovery trends across Houston. She mentioned that the post-Harvey floodplain regulations, per Chapter 19, are becoming effective on September 1. This presentation is an annual tradition, and each year planning professionals from across the region gather to learn more about the state of planning in the City of Houston. 
The following points illustrate our development trends and facts in 2018 to date:
  • Over 9,500 commercial applications have been reviewed
  • Around 17,500 residential applications have also been processed
  • Almost 2,250 plats, including replats, have been reviewed
  • More than 2,400 lots have been protected with either Minimum Building Line or Lot Size restrictions
Prohibited Yard Parking Ordinance Preserves Neighborhoods
A tool for protecting neighborhood character, and possibly preventing unsightly holes in yards caused by vehicles or heavy equipment parked on the grass, is available and administered by  P&D's Community & Regional Planning Team. The Prohibited Yard Parking (PYP) program is coordinated by Planning staff member Annette Mitchell, and it is an opt-in program for residents to protect their neighborhood character.


City Planners Abraham Zorrilla and Annette Mitchell study impacts of a proposed Prohibited Yard Parking application

A civic club or homeowners association may request the program protections. An application is submitted and neighbors have an opportunity to protest the application. If protested, the request then goes to a public hearing. For example, the Sharpstown area recently asked for protection of over 3,000 lots in several areas of their community. Their proposals had a total of 6 protests out of those 3,000 lots, so a public hearing was conducted by the City's Prohibited Yard Parking Official, Teresa Geisheker. After this public hearing, the applications were forwarded to City Council for consideration and are expected to be voted on in August.
After they are adopted, Houston Police Department and the Department of Neighborhoods enforce these prohibited yard parking regulations.
For more information about initiating this program, visit the  Prohibited Yard Parking Ordinance  website or contact the Community and Regional Planning team at the Department's main number of 832-393-6600.  Call 3-1-1 to file a complaint for enforcement.
Program Updates

Complete Communities: Spanish translations of action plans are being uploaded to the program page. As action plans are being approved, the five pilot communities are also looking ahead to consider grant opportunities and options for implementation of identified projects. Subscribe to the Complete Communities newsletter for updates.
Houston BCycle Expansion: Four new BCycle stations were installed last week in the Texas Medical Center (TMC) as part of the City's Houston BCycle expansion project! This is the fifth install of 14 bike stations scheduled for install in the TMC area. The first station, Ben Taub, was installed in April. Visit the P&D project page for more details on the expansion and ride a Houston BCycle today!

MTFP: The Department's Transportation Division recently hosted several Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan meetings. Each year, members of the public are presented with the proposed amendments to the plan, and recommendations are made. The Planning Commission then acts on recommendations, which is anticipated to take place at their August 23 special meeting. 

Southeast Houston Mobility Plan Updates: The Transportation team held the second Joint Steering and Technical Committee on July 24 at Sunnyside Multiservice Center where Transportation Planners discussed existing conditions, trends, and goals for transportation and mobility in the study area. The first public meeting will be held September 8, 9 am - 12:30 pm at Greater St. Matthew Church. Live or work in Southeast Houston? Share your comments about mobility conditions in the study area on our interactive web map! Our website is constantly updating!
Walkable Places: Several pilot projects are underway to create more walkable facilities along Emancipation Avenue in Third Ward; in Midtown; and in Near Northside. A Committee meeting scheduled for August 8 has been postponed to September 19. Please check out the revamped Walkable Places site for more information.
Planning & Development

611 Walker Street, 6th Floor
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 832.393.6600