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APA Houston Brownbag
Director Pat Walsh led a discussion on the future of Houston-area planning.
The Houston Section of the American Planning Association's Texas Chapter held a brownbag luncheon on July 28th at the City of Houston Planning & Development Department offices. Director Patrick Walsh addressed major planning topics for Houston, then engaged the audience in a spirited group conversation.
Chris Andrews, Secretary of APA Houston and a City of Houston planner, said "The dialogue approach, between Director Walsh and the audience, was a real opportunity for innovative ideas to be shared. The packed room represented other municipalities, academia, consultants and others, and the session was a unique bent on an annual opportunity."
Historic 4th Ward Homes Move Closer to Landmark Status
Photo courtesy of Leah Binkovitz
The Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (HAHC) approved historic landmark designations for twenty-two historic 4th Ward homes. The area, known as Freedmen's Town, was one of the first African-American neighborhoods in the city and was founded by former slaves. Freedmen's Town was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, but large portions of the neighborhood have been lost to redevelopment. The 22 homes represent a sizable number of the remaining structures in the area. The homes are owned by the Houston Housing Authority (HHA). HHA rehabilitated the homes approximately 20 years ago in an effort to preserve historic homes in the area, and make them available for affordable housing. This is the first time the HAHC has recommended historic landmark designation for affordable homes. The landmark status will preserve the historic nature of these buildings. City Council will consider the landmark designations soon. For more information call 832-393-6556.
Department Service Awards
Director Walsh presents the newly renamed 'Huq Award' to Mohdudul Huq.
Director Patrick Walsh kicked off the Department's 2016 Employee Recognition Celebration with stirring comments, saying "A hallmark of this department, and one aspect we can be particularly proud of, is our ability to connect with the community." 
Director Walsh announced the 2016 Years of Service Award Recipients:
10 Years: Alejandra Garcia and Larry Nierth      
15 years: Maribel Torres and Joel Casas 
25 Years: Thong Nguyen
30 years: Annette Mitchell  
Director Walsh also presented the Department's first annual Excellence in Customer Service Award. The recipient of this award consistently and substantially demonstrates an ability and willingness to work positively, respectfully, and effectively with others; has significantly improved customer service or has increased customer satisfaction in their area; demonstrates ability and willingness to manage changes in work priorities, procedures, and organization; and demonstrates exceptional ability to foster collaboration, communication, and cooperation among colleagues and the community.
The 2016 Excellence in Customer Service Recipient is Mohdudul Huq.
To acknowledge Mr. Huq's outstanding customer service and dedication to the City over the past three decades, Director Walsh further announced the new award will be named the "Huq Award" in his honor.
Proposed Amendments to Chapter 33
The City of Houston is proposing amendments to Chapter 33 of the Code of Ordinances related to the Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan and the Bicycle Master Plan. To view the changes, please click here. These changes will be considered by the Planning Commission on Thursday, August 18, 2016. Comments on the proposed amendments should be submitted to Brian Crimmins at [email protected].
Staff Highlights
GIS Analyst Sona Sunny's work was recently included in the ESRI Map Book, Volume 31, which is a huge honor in the Industry. Her map correlates income, taxable values, and appraisal values for Houston homes, and was given prime two-pages of real estate in the book. Congratulations to Sona!
Public Information teammate and former newsletter editor Sharnae Johnson left the Department last month, to continue her career back in Philadelphia. You will be missed! Thank you Sharnae for your dedication, and significant contribution to the Department's communication initiatives!