August 2009 deed restriction enforcement on Portsmouth

As promised, I’ve written a post about the deed restriction enforcement regarding a new fence on the 1800 block of Portsmouth.  I realize this is a sensitive topic, with strong opinions on both sides of the argument, so I’d like to simply present the information here for those interested.  Please also understand this matter is still being pursued, so it may not be appropriate for me to share details without the consent of the homeowner.  If you have more questions, feel free to email me directly.

As you are probably aware, properties in Richwood Place are deed restricted.  It is the responsibility of the Richwood Place Civic Association to enforce deed restrictions on behalf of the residents.   

In August 2009, the Richwood Place Civic Association and the City of Houston found that a new fence constructed on the 1800 block of Portsmouth violated the Richwood Place deed restrictions (specifically, Article III, subsection 9 of the Declaration of Restricted Covenants) because it was built less than 20 feet from the front of the property line.  A letter was sent to the homeowner noting the violation and requesting the property comply with the deed restrictions.   The Civic Assocation received a letter from the resident’s attorney in September 2009.  Eventually, a suit will be filed on behalf of the Civic Association to resolve the issue and that’s where it stands.  This item is discussed in more detail our regular meetings.  Members and residents that would like to join the discussion should attend the next meeting (scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, 2010)

Copies of our deed restrictions are given to owners at the time of purchase.  I have also included them on the About Richwood Place page of the this website.  If you have questions about your property, visit the City of Houston Deed Restriction information website, contact the Office of the City Attorney’s Deed Restriction Enforcement Team’ s Deed Restriction Hotline at 832-393-6333,  or contact the City Services Help Line at 311.

I’d like to close this post by letting you know my philosophy for posting to this site; I’m only going to pass along information.  Rarely, if ever, will I include my own personal bias. The web site and blog are intended to to pass along content I feel will interest you.  And again, please feel free to comment here or email me directly with questions or concerns.

Mayor doubts funding for Uptown, University rail lines

From The Houston Chronicle

Mayor Annise Parker cast doubt Wednesday on whether the Metropolitan Transit Authority has the money to pay for two planned light-rail lines that proponents say are critical to the success of the agency’s plans.

Parker said members of her transition team have “drilled down” into Metro’s finances and she now feels comfortable only with the funding plans of three rail lines: the East End, North and Southeast. Construction on those lines is under way.

The University Line would run on Richmond Avenue, just North of Richwood place.

Trees Available From City of Houston

Just got this email from Mark Johnson @ Neartown: The City of Houston Urban Forestry Department has gifted Neartown residents with (50) 15-gallon hardwood trees in the following species: Shumard red oak, Texas Green Ash, Retama (Jerusaleum Thorn), Evergreen elm, Mountain Laurel, Redbud, Red Maple and Mexican plum.

The trees must be planted on the City right-of-way (or other City property such as a park or school) and the new owner will sign a form agreeing to water and feed the tree(s) for a minimum of two years.

These trees are HUGE! A truck is required for transport – and I do not have a truck. For more information or to set up a time to view the trees, contact Kathy Schipper at kathleencanty@sbcglobal.net. Hurry and make a decision as these beauties will go fast!

Neartown Leaders Meet Tonight! (March 3)

Sorry for the late notice — I just got this email:

The Neartown Presidents Council will meet this evening at 7:00 PM at the Black Lab on Montrose to coordinate this year’s Super Neighborhood application for City of Houston – CIP Funding. Civic Association Presidents and other Officers are encouraged to attend this event, bringing ideas that will be presented at this coming weekend’s CIP Work Session, sponsored by District D Council Member Wanda Adams.

Please comment on this post or email if you can attend. Additionally, I will be emailing the RPCA CIP committee to see who can represent Richwood place.

Rail update from METRO

Work on Metro’s University Corridor rail project is underway.   Once constructed, the line will run directly North of our neighborhood, with the closest stations at Richmond & Shephard and Richmond & Dunlavy.

My wife, Jennifer, spoke with Monique Ward at METRO to see what this means for our neighborhood.  Monique first pointed out that METRO received some great news in December 2009.  The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the University Corridor Light Rail Transit Project advancement to Preliminary Engineering Phase (the Federal Project Development Process is: DEIS, Designation of Locally Preferred Alternative, FEIS, Preliminary Engineering Phase <where we are now>, Final Design, Construction, Operation).  That means the project is moving forward, the line is set and engineering activities are in progress.  As a next step, METRO has posted the Final Environmental Impact Statement on its website for any interested parties to review (you can review the first chapter for an overview).  METRO anticipates receiving a record of decision in early April.  Once this is received, METRO can move forward in the process to seek federal funding and engineers can proceed with design work. 

To sum up current activities, METRO resources are currently working to complete all the necessary steps to get federal funding so that construction can begin.

If all goes as planned, METRO is expected to break ground on the line some time in 2011.  Construction is expected to take four years to complete, however, METRO plans to break up the construction into small segments to minimize impact to businesses and residents in the area.  METRO doesn’t expect to have anymore large scale community meetings, but they do expect to provide regular updates (ground breaking, status, etc) once the record of decision and funding are received.  Monique wanted to assure any home or business owners who would be impacted by the line that METRO will contact them directly.  She said they will provide ample time for these individuals to work with the METRO real-estate department.

The Richwood Place Board will continue to follow METRO’s announcements and let you know when more information is available. If you have questions or if you would like the METRO contact information we gathered, please email me at dbaker@richwoodplace.org.

Construction of the North and Southeast LRT lines is already taking place.