NEXT GENERAL MEETING AT ZOE’S KITCHEN Tuesday, July 12th, 7-8pm

Dear Neighbors,

Our next general meeting at Zoe’s Kitchen will be held Tuesday, July 12th from 7-8pm. We hope you can join us. Meetings are open to all members. If you have not paid your 2011 dues, you can do so here by selecting “Join Today” at the top of the page. A minimum of $25 is required for 2011, however, there are larger amounts also available if you would like to donate more. We thank you for your support.

The Board of the RPCA will be meeting on Monday, July 11 from 7-8pm at the home of RPCA Secretary, Andy Stefaniak -1831 Norfolk- to prepare for the general meeting. Board meetings are open to all members as well.

We hope to see you soon and hope you are all keeping cool!

Sincerely,

Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam- 281-804-2157

President, Richwood Place Civic Association

Letter to Neighbors from Rebekah El-Hakam

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you all are having a wonderful start to 2011. We held our first RPCA meeting of the year last night at Zoe’s Kitchen. We have many new Board members as well as Committee Members and Chairs who will be serving our neighborhood this year. Please see the minutes for more details. Thank you to Jennifer Baker for posting them to www.richwoodplace.org

I’d like to start by saying a special thank you to Laura Mullen and Larry Wood for their years of service to Richwood Place. We appreciate the many hours you have volunteered and served on the Board of RPCA. Thank you.

I’d also like to introduce myself for those of you who do not know me. My husband, Moustapha and I have lived in our house on Lexington for six years. We have four children; Bakri- age 5 1/2, Maddux- age 4, Trinity- age 2 and Leeland- 6 months. We have a very busy and full house! We have been active members of the civic association for 6 years. I’ve served as Vice President and most recently as Chair of the Deed Restrictions Committee. This is my first opportunity to serve as president. I am a full time mom who also works as a contemporary worship leader at my home church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in West University Place. I enjoy singing, songwriting, cooking and baking, blogging, yoga and travel. I feel very blessed to belong to this neighborhood and will endeavor to be a positive voice for Richwood Place. I promise to work diligently to address issues. Please call me or email me with any suggestions, concerns or ideas. I am looking forward to a great year.

During the meeting, we discussed our biggest concern as a neighborhood- crime and illegal activity. We believe that many of the problems we are facing are directly connected to the apartment complex- Houston Medical Apartments at 1901 Richmond. We are focused on this property and what we can do to clean this area up. The Security/Safety Committee has placed this as a high priority and it is their first action item of the year.

Please put the following number in your cell phone: 713-884-3131. This is HPD’s non-emergency line. Call them whenever you see any suspicious activity and report it. We will receive more police presence if we have more calls coming in. If it is an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

I’d also like to ask you to call our District D Councilmember, Wanda Adams. Her office number is 832-393-3001. We are asking for her help and for the City of Houston’s help in dealing with the safety issues we are experiencing from the residents and guests of the 1901 Richmond Property.

Happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Rebekah
President, Richwood Place Civic Association, 2011

Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam
281-804-2157 cell

General Meeting Minutes – January 11, 2011

Richwood Place Civic Association General Meeting

January 11, 2011 7 p.m.
Zoe’s Kitchen

Agenda

  1. 2011 Dues
  2. 2011 Officers, Committee Chairs, Committee Members and Counselors
    • President
    • Vice President
    • Treasurer
    • Secretary
    • Deed Restriction Committee
    • Safety/Security Commmittee
    • Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Committee
    • 2 Counselors
  3. Street  Sign Toppers
  4. Deed Restriction Update
  5. Security/Neighborhood Protection Update
  6. Treasurer’s Report
  7. Next RPCA Meeting Date

Minutes

Daniel Baker, Vice President, called the meeting to order

Officers present:

Vice President: Daniel Baker
Treasurer: Larry Wood

Regrets given from Laura Mullen who was unable to attend due to a family illness

Discussion Item  1: 2011 Dues

All members requested to pay dues.  Click here for information.

Discussion Item 2: 2011 Officers Committee Chairs, Committee Members and Counselors

The following individuals were nominated:

    • President – Laura Mullen and Rebekah El-Hakam
    • Vice President – Daniel Baker
    • Treasurer – Sue Bailey
    • Secretary – Andy Stefaniak
    • Deed Restriction Committee Chair – Brian Kilpatrick
    • Safety/Security Committee Chair – Larry Wood
    • CIP Committee Chair – Daniel Baker
    • Counselors (2 available) – John Geiss and Brian Trudeau

All uncontested positions were unanimously approved.  An election was required for President, however, there was concern the current President was not in attendance due to family illness.  The Vice President held a vote to determine whether or not to proceed and the majority (9 to 6) was in favor of continuing the vote for President as scheduled.  The vote was held and Rebekah held the majority (10 to 5).

New committee volunteers included:

    • Deed Restriction Committee – Raymond Eich
    • Safety/Security Committee – Sue Bailey
    • CIP Committee – Brian Kilpatrick, Cliff Helmcamp, Moustapha El-Hakam and Judy Clark

Discussion Item 3: Street Sign Toppers

Cliff Helmcamp presented the proposed design created by Jerry Jeanmard.  Detailed information and cost break down will be presented at the next meeting for final vote.  Sponsors are requested to help cover the cost.

Discussion Item 4: Deed Restriction Update

Rebekah El-Hakam stated there were no updates since the last meeting.

Discussion Item 5: Security/Neighborhood Protection Update

Larry Wood will forward an email recently received from Officer Pate.

Concern was raised over two recent incidents of people ringing doorbells asking for money. Residents are reminded to call the police regarding any suspicious activity.  It was noted a home was entered by a stranger recently at the corner of Hazard and Norfolk  while the homeowner was in the front yard.

Concerns were raised about the apartment complex on Richmond.  The Security Committee agreed to an action item to try to improve the situation.  It was suggested the Security Committee request help from the City Inspector or City Council.

Discussion Item 6: Treasurer’s Report

Larry Wood provided an update at the meeting and will be happy to provide further information to members if requested.

Larry will send a reminder to members to pay their 2011 dues.

Discussion Item 7: Next RPCA Meeting Date

The next meeting date is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7p.m.

Neartown meeting – August 2010

I attended the August Neartown Association meeting tonight at the Cherryhurst Park Community Center.  Minutes from the meeting will be posted at the Neartown website, but I took a few notes from the discussions:

METRO University Line update

Speaker David Couch, Managing Director for Metro Solutions, provided an update on the University Line on Richmond Avenue. Metro recently received a Record of Decision from the FTA.  The alignment of the rail is also set.  Metro will now focus on planning the rail line, including reviewing traffic signals/flow and lane/sidewalk widths.   Metro expects planning to continue through the remainder of the year, with detailed design beginning early next year.  Metro assured the group community input and agreement would be sought before detailed design began.  I specifically asked about left turns out of Richwood Place and David answered that our community input would be requested in this planning phase.  It looks like planning and design will continue in parallel with property acquisition and further requests for funding over the next several years.  That means construction may not begin for two or three more years.  

HEB update

Scott McClelland, HEB Houston Division President, has assured the Neartown Association that HEB wants community involvement in the selection of the store design.  He will use Swamplot.com as a means of communicaiton, including creating a voting mechanism for final design preference.  He now believes the cost delta for the park is around $700,000 , and he hopes he can work with the community to raise the money for the project.  Some of you may have heard the delta was closer to 2 or 3 million, however, creating a two story structure with the store on the second level would provide retail opportunities on the first level that would help close the gap.  HEB has also confirmed the City of Houston would maintain a park if one is built.  There is at least one store plan created (by a HEB architect) and several more are expected soon. 

New High-Rise Construction

A new 13-story building is planned for the corner of Montrose and 59.  I searched swamplot and found two links about the project here and here.

Concerns over neighborhood bars

The home at 2310 Converse, just North of Fairview, has recently become a new bar, the Muffin Man.  The hours for the bar are listed from 11pm until 5am.  This bar has opened in a residence in the middle of a neighborhood street and is raising serious concerns in the Montrose community.  The group is working to understand how to prevent this from ocurring.

Next month’s meeting will include discussions from representatives of the new Whole Foods market planned on Waugh and an update on the 13-story building mentioned above.

There are several other activities this week you may be interesting in participating in:

PIP

The next Positive Interaction Program (PIP) meeting for with the Houston Police Department (neighborhood crime for the Central District #1) is scheduled for tomorrow at 7pm at 1602 State Street.

Heights Wal-Mart

Mayor Parker will host a public meeting regarding the Koehler Street Development proposals (simply put, the Washington Corridor WalMart) at the George R. Brown Convention Center, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday.  Click here for the Houston Chronicle article detailing the meeting.

RPCA General Meeting Minutes – February 2010

Richwood Place Civic Association
General Meeting
February 23, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Zoe’s Kitchen

Minutes

Approximate count of neighbors present: 52

Moustapha El-Hakam, president, calls meeting to order at 7:15 p.m.

Announces officers:

Vice President: Daniel Baker
Treasurer: Larry Wood
Secretary: Andy Stefaniak

Discussion Item No. 01:

Officer Elections:

Vice President and Treasurer run unopposed.

President: Moustapha El-Hakam versus Laura Mullen
Secretary: Andy Stefaniak versus Davide Houston

Floor opened to each candidate for 2 minute discussion

Open floor for questions from neighbors 7:30 p.m. :

  1. Neighbor from1800 Block of Portsmouth: How is each candidate going to reach out to new neighbors who not aware of the Neighborhood Association?
      Moustapha – continued use of signs to announce meetings, published newsletters, and use NING site and Yahoo news board.
      Laura – use existing means of communication and have an open door policy.
  2. Neighbor from 1800 Block of Norfolk. (1). Can we have write in candidates? Answer: Yes none nominated. (2). How do you interface with city council representation? Both presidential candidates have working relationships with Wanda Adams and Sue Lovell. Moustapha has good relations with City Planning Commission.

No other questions. Ballots are cast.

Treasurer’s Report: available funds $1795.00; prior to dues paid on night of meeting.

Vote to create Deed Restrictions Committee:

Rebekah El-Hakim (chair)
Karen Copeland
Eric Houston
Stanley Jones
1 other (Alice ??)

Safety Committee Report (7:45 p.m.):
Neighborhood watch deemed successful with good participation from those who are trained. ID cards are available. For those of you who are interested in signing up contact Larry Wood (281-384-8291)

Capital Improvement Plan Committee
Motion to create standing committee. Motioned approved. Moustapha appoints Daniel Baker chair of the committee. Request to neighbors for help. Committee formed.

Old Business (8:00 p.m.)
Fence on 1800 Block of Portsmouth: City will not enforce deed restrictions.
1800 Block of Portsmouth (Fairmont Museum District Appartments) no new news.
2000 block of Norfolk – Property owner acknowledges deed restrictions
1700 block of Norfolk – new residents
New neighborhood maps illustrating minimum lost size, minimum building line, and deed restricted houses presented.

New Business (8:10 p.m.)
Sign Toppers for road signs. Will discuss further at next meeting when new information becomes available.

Next General Meeting: May 11th.

Announcement of New Officers:

President: Laura Mullen
Vice President: Daniel Baker
Treasurer: Larry Wood
Secretary: David Houston

Meeting Adjourned at 8:20.

Neartown Meeting — March 2010

I attended the March 2010 Neartown meeting this evening, hosted by David Robinson, the Neartown president, at the Cherryhurst Park Community Center. Richwood Place is now a member in good standing of the Neartown association. The meeting was attended by members and officers of Neartown Civic Associations as well as representatives from the offices of Council Member Wanda Adams, Council Member Stephen Costello, and Senator Rodney Ellis.

You can expect that minutes will be posted on the Neartown web site, but I have a few notes from the discussion topics:

Capital Improvement Planning

    The Neartown Association is working on a number of CIP requests on behalf of the superneighborhood and the 21 civic associations that Neartown represents. David Robinson, Neartown President, has complained to the city and our council members about the lack of transparency in this process and the difficulty of the request process.Richwood Place has submitted a request to Council Member Adams and I will forward that request to Neartown’s leadership. There are many other neighborhoods in our superneighborhood that are having severe sewage problems and other matters that need to be addressed by CIP as soon as possible.

Carnegie Vanguard High School

    Carnegie Vanguard High School (web site) is a HISD magnet school for gifted and talented students. It is currently located in South Houston and will be relocating to Taft and West Gray in 2012. They will have 600 students in 2012.

    They are currently seeking a parking variance to prevent having to create an excess number of parking spots on a green lot. The city requires they have in excess of 300 parking spots, but they only have 104 in their current location and are requesting a variance to allow 225 parking spots.

HEB

    There has been a lot of talk in the neighborhood, in the news, and on this web site about a proposed HEB on the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, which by some is considered the most valuable piece of open property in the city. HEB has purchased the property. They have applied for a re-plat without variances. This does not require a vote before the planning commission.

    The City has encouraged HEB to work with Neartown and the association President has met with HEB’s Director of Real Estate at HEB’s corporate headquarters. He reports that HEB has hired an arborist to assist with the tree-filled property and that HEB is pointing out that a supermarket would create new jobs, be an increase in the tax base, and that they could offer a green plan that is conservation oriented.

    Representatives at the meeting discussed a number of potential layouts, traffic issues, and land use concerns. The property is on the agenda for the City of Houston Planning Committee on April 1st.

There will be a Neartown Development Forum at the end of May for residents to work together and with the city to discuss the development and planning of the Montrose area. I will post an update when there are more concrete details.

Minutes, General Meeting, 09-22-2009

Andy did a great job collecting the meeting minutes from our September 2009 meeting (also posted on the NING site).  They are very detailed and informative, so I’ve brought them into the blog for future reference.

Richwood Place Civic Association General Meeting
September 22, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Zoe’s Kitchen

Minutes – Andy Stefaniak

Moustapha El-Hakam, president, calls meeting to order at 7:15 p.m.

Announces officers:

Vice President: Daniel Baker
Treasurer: Larry Wood
Secretary: Andy Stefaniak

Discussion Item No. 01: Deed Restrictions

  • 01. (7:20 p.m.) Moustapha provided an update on the residence located on 2037 Norfolk Street. To date, the city has not been able to prove that the residence is a place of business. To that end, the City is to draft an affidavit for the property owner to acknowledge that the address is a deed restricted property and the activity that occurs on the property is not commercial.

Opened the floor up for discussion: General clarifying discussion, no issues raised

  • 02. (7:25 p.m.) Moustapha discussed the ornamental fence constructed around a residence on the 1800 block of Portsmouth Street. A fence is defined as a “structure” and must obey the minimum building line regulations (20 feet as it is defined on Portsmouth Street) set forth in the Deed Restrictions. The city has opened a file on the property and has apparently red flagged the structure. Multiple attempts to contact the owner have not been successful.

A copy of the Deed Restrictions should have been provided to the owner at the time of purchase of the residence. A copy of the Deed Restrictions can be found on the Yahoo Group Site: http://www.richwoodplace.org

Opened the floor up for discussion:

A question was raised on how one may apply for a variance. It is the opinion of the Board that the Deed Restrictions remain intact. However, those neighbors who would like to learn more about the process are encouraged to contact the Houston Planning Commission (http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/) for information.

The discussion was closed after some further clarification of the Deed Restrictions and some discussion on the topic of changing the Deed Restrictions.

It is the opinion of the Board that the Deed Restrictions remain intact. The neighborhood is reminded that if you are in doubt or have questions as to the governance of the Deed Restrictions, please contact the President for clarification or discussion prior to starting any projects.

  • 03. (7:40 p.m.) A request was to the board to provide a list of those properties which are Deed Restricted and a list of those blocks that have obtained Minimum Lot Size (MLS)/Minimum Building Line (MBL) designations.

Moustapha indicated that a complete list of those residences with signed deed restrictions is not available and it is obligation of the individual buyer/owner to obtain that information. Any information obtained by the neighborhood association in the past is not considered to be 100% accurate and therefore non-publishable without the risk of providing false information.

Those who have questions regarding deed restrictions, please call the Deed Restriction Hotline at 832.393.6333. Please note that this line is to the Office of the City Attorney’s Deed Restriction Enforcement Team and may not be able to provide information. Residents are also encouraged to find more information at http://www.houstontx.gov/legal/deed.html or by the contacting the city services help line at 311.

The Board will try to give the Neighborhood an update on the progress of the MLS/MBL at the next general meeting.

Opened the floor up for discussion: General clarifying discussion, no issues raised

  • 04. (7:53 p.m.) Fairmont Museum District Apartments Update – no official news or updates were available at the meeting. A request was made by Moustapha to help support the payment of legal fees associated with past work and information will be posted on the neighborhood site with directions to make payment. Any little big helps!

Opened the floor up for discussion: General clarifying discussion, no issues raised

Discussion Item No. 02:

NING Site: http://richwoodplace.ning.com/

The Neighborhood Association is exploring the NING website as a social platform to share the neighborhoods interests. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Ning offers an easy-to-use service that allows people to join and create networks. If you have not already visited the site please sign up today!

Opened the floor up for discussion: General clarifying discussion, no issues raised

ADDITIONAL ITEM: Place of Business on 1700 Block of Norfolk:

City has been contacted about business with approximately 20 employees. Neighbors are encouraged to contact the city help line at if any disturbance by the amount of parking or noise is witnessed.

Discussion Item No. 03. – Neighborhood Watch Training

.(secretary note: publication of these meetings notes may occur after the training date, contact Larry Wood if you should have questions)

Larry Wood gave an update on the upcoming Neighborhood Watch Training. Those who are interested are encouraged to come to the training on September 29, 2009 at 7:00 p.m at Larry Wood’s home (1823 Portsmouth Street).

Treasury Report: As of September 28, 2009, RCPA had a total of $1834.35 in funds. Those neighbors who have not paid this year’s dues are encouraged to support your neighborhood!

Discussion Item No. 04. – National Night Out – October 6, 2009!!!!

Fire Trucks, Fun, and Food! We will once again hold the event in the middle of the 1800 Block of Norfolk! Contact Andy Stefaniak or Daniel Baker (on the NING site) for more information!

Motion to Adjourn at 8:10 p.m.

Number of neighbors attending: 30.