Houston City Council designated a portion of the Heights bordered by the 600-700 block of E. Sixth 1/2 Street to the south and 600-700 block of E. Ninth Street to the north, a special minimum lot size area.
As a result, all lots within the are that are residential must remain residential and cannot be split into smaller parcels for townhome development. The ordinance also stipulates that all residential properties within the area must remain residential. Commercial properties may remain commercial or switch to residential.
This minimum lot size area was amended to include Sixth 1/2 Street despite its removal from the application by the Houston Planning Commission. Members of the community advocated for the amendment during Houston city council’s public session Dec. 10.
"The Heights is a very unique neighborhood in the city and perhaps the city and adds to the character of the city of Houston. The value is priceless and will be lost if not protected,” said Heights resident Paulina Sergot.
District D Council Member Dwight Boykins voted against the item and said he did not want to approve the amendment because it went against the planning commission’s recommendations.
“When we ask these commissioners to volunteer their time and do the work and come in and put in hours of research, I think it would probably be disingenuous for us to override them when they typically work with us,” he said.
Residents in the Heights have used minimum lot size area applications to preserve neighborhood character and property values. Alternatively, residents in gentrifying areas of Houston use the same process to stave off development that may push property appraisals higher and push longtime community members out of a neighborhood.