Monthly Planner
Updates from your City of Houston

July 2018
Walkable Places Pilot Projects  
What is a "Walkable Place"? A Houston-style Walkable Place is an area with unique standards for sidewalks, parking, building placement, and pedestrian amenities, created with the input of the community in which it is located.

This development in Midtown features a friendly pedestrian walkway, with shops close to the street, shade trees, and seating. This creates a better walkable environment than the traditional suburban-style development with parking in front and buildings set back from the street.

A number of areas in Houston are attracting higher density commercial, office, and multifamily residential developments. These developments also present an opportunity to create more vibrant, walkable streets that support alternative modes of transportation. Muxian Fang, who is facilitating the Planning Commission Walkable Places Committee, reports that the city's development ordinances can maximize these opportunities.

In order to encourage walkable development effectively, rules and regulations are intended to be appropriate for the local context. Therefore, the committee proposes to create an application process to allow creation of Walkable Place Districts with unique rules. The committee expects to conclude the proposed initial projects, and request City Council approval in early 2019.
To ensure the committee identifies appropriate rules, and promote walkability effectively, the Planning and Development Department (P&D) has initiated a series of community engagement meetings in three pilot areas. P&D Transportation Planning and Development Services staff is gearing up for these exciting pilot projects in three areas: Midtown, Emancipation Avenue in Third Ward, and Hogan Street in the Near Northside.
For more details regarding the Walkable Place Pilot Area projects, please visit the project website.
City Alliance Forged with Microsoft
Mayor Sylvester Turner recently announced a groundbreaking opportunity for our city to expand innovation and computer literacy. In the latest huge
stride toward putting Houston on the frontier of technological innovation, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city is the first in the nation to form this particular alliance with the tech giant Microsoft. This alliance, on a long-term basis, will up Houston's technology game, starting at the grassroots in the Complete Communities neighborhoods.
"Microsoft chose us because of the ambitious goal I set for Houston to grow technology innovation as its next economic frontier -- after doing the same thing with energy, medicine, space exploration and the port," the Mayor said. As program specifics develop, they could include initiatives ranging from smart city operations, traffic control operations, networked buildings, energy use efficiencies, environmental decision making, and many other innovations. See the Mayor's press release for more information.

Program Updates

Complete Communities: Affordable housing is a key part of Houston's resilience, and a new "Complete the Community" design competition will solicit conceptual design entries in the five current Complete Communities' pilot neighborhoods. The competition addresses: 1) a design of a resilient single-family home in Acres Home, Near Northside, Second Ward and Third Ward, and 2) an urban design solution for a streetscape in Gulfton. The competition entry deadline is August 3, and you can find that here. Public meetings have been scheduled for July 11 and 14, at the West Gray Multi-Service Center. Additional meetings will be held in the Complete Community neighborhoods. For more information call 832-393-3013.

Houston Bike Plan: New web pages are being unveiled for interactive and useful information on bike plan implementation projects! Check out the new Bike Plan site, it is a progressive website, which means it is constantly being updated so check back frequently.

2018 MTFP: As part of the annual Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan (MTFP) amendment request process, the City of Houston Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 2:30 the City Hall Annex Chambers, Public Level (900 Bagby Street, Houston, Texas, 77002). The purpose of the Public Hearing is to allow interested citizens to be heard concerning proposed changes to the 2017 MTFP. More information about this year's amendment requests and process can be found on the MTFP webpage.

Historic Preservation: Heights Design Guidelines were approved by the Houston Archeological and Historic Commission in June, and were forwarded to City Council's Quality of Life Committee. The three-year process is intended to provide a more consistent framework for development in this historic area. For more details visit the Historic Preservation site.

New Chief of Staff
Misty Staunton replaces Brian Crimmins as Planning and Development Department's Chief of Staff. Misty has most recently served as Planner IV in the Community & Regional Planning Division, including Complete Communities leadership for the Second Ward. She also served in the Development Services Division, performing subdivision plat reviews and related technical work. Brian Crimmins has moved to the Mayor's Office as Special Projects Manager for the Chief Development Officer. He will continue to interface regularly with P&D in this role. Best wishes, Misty and Brian!

Planning & Development

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