In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Seven, Number Six, June 2011|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
Hurry to Register for the 2011 Fun Run!
Time is running out to register for the 26th Annual Heights Fun Run! This terrific event will take place on Saturday, June 4. The race course is the beautiful and historic Heights Boulevard starting and finishing at Marmion Park. The 5K Run begins at 7:30 AM, and the 5K Walk is immediately after at 7:35 AM; the Kids 1K will start at 8:30 AM. Once you’ve crossed the finish line, enjoy the After Race Party beginning at 8:00 AM. There will be music, delicious refreshments, door prizes, and awards for the top runners. So hurry! Register yourself, your friends, and your whole family now!
To see more details or to register on-line go to th Street) between 6:15 and 7:15 AM on the morning of the race. or the HHA Fun Run page (click ). You can also register at Marmion Park (Heights Boulevard at 18
If you have questions regarding the race or you are interested in volunteering, e-mail us (click here) or leave a message on the Houston Heights Fun Run line at 713-861-4002, extension 4.
We would like to thank our Platinum Sponsor, Republic Services, and our Bronze Summer Sponsors, Boulevard Realty, Rampart Builders, and Linda Eyles Design, Inc., for their support of the 2011 Heights Fun Run.
Ice Cream Social and Membership Drive
Calling all Houston Heights Association members! Bring a non-HHA member to Marmion Park on June 26 at 3:00 PM for our first annual Ice Cream Social. Encourage your neighbors and friends to join you as fellow HHA members and help our community be a happy and healthy place to live.
The Houston Heights Association is a non-profit organization that maintains, improves, and beautifies public and private spaces and promotes and fosters friendships, goodwill, and community spirit. Volunteers are an integral part of our organization, and we need motivated individuals who are looking to be a part of a growing community.
The HHA membership committee will be ready to answer questions about membership benefits and will have membership applications readily available. Cash and check payments will be accepted. Credit card payments can be made online at (click “Join or Renew Your Membership Today” under the HHA logo).
Out With The Old...
Donovan Park Sandbox Experiment Fails
The sandbox that was installed in Donovan Park in January was a big hit with little kids. Unfortunately, it became a source of problems and had to be removed.
The big issue is keeping the sand in the sandbox. Buckets of sand were poured in all of the play structures. The water fountain had to be dismantled to remove sand that had been poured in it. Someone removed all the HHA membership forms from the box on the sign that requests park users become members and filled the box with sand.
If a way can be found to keep the sand in the sandbox, it will return to the park. If you have a suggestion, e-mail . Signage does not work.
Trails to Trees in the Heights
The Houston Heights is renowned for its extraordinary canopy of native trees, cultivated gardens, and natural green space. Neighbors thrive outdoors and enjoy the trails and bike paths. On Monday, June 13, mix and mingle with your neighbors while learning more about the natural wonders of our neighborhood. See plans for new bayou trails and the trees that make our neighborhood so special.
Planned topics include:
• Bayou Trails & Greenway Initiative - presentation by Project Manager Trent Rondot and Advocacy Manager Catherine Burst, both with the Houston Parks Board.
• Tree Care, Drought, and Mulch More! - presentation by Director Victor Cordoba and Dale Temple, Senior Superintendent for the Heights, both with City of Houston Urban Forestry .
• Jim Bennett on the Boulevard - news about volunteers, donations, and ongoing hard work that makes the Heights beautiful! ()
• Houston Heights Bike Trail and October Bike Rally - updates by Donna Bennett, HHA Board Member
Doors open at 6:30 PM; General Meeting commences at 7:00 PM at the HHA Fire Station (12th Street at Yale). Everyone is invited. Refreshments served.
Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2011 Platinum sponsor:
May General Meeting Wrap-Up
If you missed the May HHA General Meeting on Monday, May 9 - After-School & Summer Programs for Kids - don’t miss this information about the presentations and the presenters.
Each and every month, everything about kids is at your fingertips thanks to Dana Donovan, Editor-in-Chief & Co-owner of Houston Family Magazine. For the past three years, Dana has been making sure that Houston is covered with thoughtful articles about families and a calendar containing everything that’s going on for kids in and around Texas! Look for the magazine at your favorite Heights hangouts and eateries.
The HHA Education Committee is amazing. This power team of dedicated volunteers stealthily works behind the scenes as advocates for teachers, educators, and kids! A special thanks goes to the Education Committee for advocating and saving Love Elementary, providing a $5,000 grant to Hamilton Middle School for band instruments, holding yearly Youth Art Shows, providing grants to teachers and schools, and much, much more!
Experience the great outdoors at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. Special thanks to Lori Hutson, Director of Public Relations & Volunteers for sharing programs for kids and adults. It’s not too late to sign-up for summer! The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center offers Summer Nature Trekkers Camps for kids 5 to 12 years from June 6 to August 12. The week-long classes offer hands-on learning experiences for children ages 5 to 12 under the guidance of staff naturalists, including both indoor and outdoor activities at the 155-acre nature sanctuary. Camp topics in 2011 include Bird Life, MicroWorld Explorer, Reptiles & Amphibians, Angry Earth, and Spiders. Qualified staff naturalists teach children in classes by age (5-6, 7-8, 9-12). Half-day and full-day options are available as well as afternoon classes from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.
The Young Actors Conservatory is a unique summer intensive program that offers conservatory-style training for Houston-area students. Led by recognized theatre professionals from around the country, YAC classes and laboratories encourage participants to explore every facet of dramatic production. Using a total immersion method, students develop scripts; create costumes, sets, and props; design lights and sound; learn movement and voice techniques; and rehearse and perform roles. Building on what they’ve learned, students focus on a central theme to conceptualize, write, design, and perform an original theatre piece, combining the students’ own material with texts taken from the work of well-known writers. The program culminates in a fully realized production of this original work at Stages Repertory Theatre. A very special thanks to Eva Laporte, Director of Education, Young Actors Conservatory for the three pairs of tickets to Stages’ production of Odd and the Frost Giants.
Talento Bilingue de Houston is an exciting and dynamic arts program close to the Heights. For over 30 years, kids of all ages have participated in summer integrated art, dance, drama, and dance classes culminating in a performance in the elaborate theatre complex. They offer after-school and summer programs, too! Special thanks to Angel Quesada, Exhibitions Coordinator & Media Relations.
This is a great time to renew your Heights Constable Patrol membership. For information about payment options, please go to our . There are additional ways that you can support the program: by volunteering your time to help enlist new subscribers, you can increase the membership base, making the cost per person lower. To volunteer, please email , and we will provide you with fliers that you can distribute to your neighbors.
A resident reported that counterfeit money has been received as payment for items at a garage sale. If you are holding a garage sale, take your time when taking payments and pay attention to the bills you are receiving. If you believe a bill is fake, attempt to get a license plate and detailed description and report the incident to the police as soon as possible. Do not try to detain the person or persons. Someone carrying fake money could be dangerous, or could be an innocent person who was also given fake money just like you.
If you notice your neighbors leaving things in their vehicles, please talk with them about the security risk this poses. It is best not to leave or store anything in your vehicle. Something that you might not expect someone to steal, like a bag full of dirty gym clothes or a few coins left in plain sight, may cause your vehicle to be targeted.
Minimum Lot Size (MLS) and
Minimum Building Line (MBL) Ordinances
[The article “The Facts About Houston Heights Deed Restrictions” in our May issue described a tool available to property owners wishing to protect the character of their neighborhoods. This article outlines two other such tools.]
The MLS and MBL ordinances are City of Houston ordinances that may apply to properties in the Heights (in contrast to deed restrictions which are state regulations). These two designations last for 20 years after they have been approved by City Council.
In the original 1890s plan for Houston Heights, with some exceptions on Heights Boulevard, Heights residential lot sizes on each block were of similar dimensions with larger lots located on street corners. Individual residential buildings were sited with common setback distances from the street easements (rights of way). This maintained the concept of front yards and created a regular block face of façades set back from each street. These regulations imposed by the original developers of the Heights were of importance in establishing the residential character and scale of what was Houston’s first mixed-use planned community. While some changes have occurred in the past 100-plus years, this relationship of lot sizes and building setbacks remains, to a very great extent, the defining physical pattern of residential development in historic Houston Heights.
Both MLS and MBL ordinances were enacted by the city in 1999 and amended in 2007 to preserve and maintain the structure and character of inner-city residential neighborhoods including the Heights. Both MLS and MBL are calculated based on the existing lot size or building line for 70% of the area (or 60% if the area lies within a historic district). For the application for either of these ordinances to qualify, at least 60% of the application area must be single-family residential property and the application must include all property within a minimum of one block face or a maximum of two opposing block faces. The City can administratively approve the MLS or MBL for a block face or two opposing block faces if at least 51% of the property owners in the area support the application and there is no opposition.
Minimum Lot Size (MLS)
By establishing the standard for minimum lot size (MLS) in an area, lots cannot be subdivided into smaller lots than specified in the designated area where MLS applies. For example, if a 5,000 square foot MLS was established in a specified area, no lot (with the exception described below) may be subdivided smaller than 5,000 square foot in area. The exception applies when an existing lot is less than the designated minimum lot size. In this case, existing structures may remain or can be replaced at any time (subject to other relevant ordinances such as those in a protected historic districts) without special permission. New structures that conform to the platting of a lot that is less than the MLS may be constructed without special permission (again, subject to other relevant ordinances).
Minimum Building Line (MBL)
The minimum building line (MBL) or setback on the street façade of any residential building controls how close to the right of way new structures may be placed. For example, if a block face carries a 25-foot MBL, no building may be placed within 25 feet of the right of way. Once the MBL is established by the city, an existing building that may be closer to the property boundary on the street right of way may remain in its place. However, any new structure on the lot must conform to the established minimum building line and must be within such a building setback.
For further details or to identify the lot size or building line for your block face, contact the City’s Department of Planning and Development at 713-837-7880. The detailed ordinances can be found on the City of Houston website; the applications, instructions, procedures, and lists of established MLS and MBL ordinances are available online. (Click .)
The next Houston Heights Association Restoration/Historical Committee meeting will be held at the historic Marshall-Kennedy house at 1122 Harvard Street on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30-9:30 PM.
If you are a history buff or just like to visit outstanding examples of historic Houston Heights properties, we have a treat for you to visit in June. You will be visiting a classic architectural example of a simple two-story Queen Anne home with Eastlake influences at the Marshall-Kennedy house at 1122 Harvard Street. The structure sits on a generous lot surrounded by large trees and gardens. The house was built in 1901 by Mr. Kennedy, one-time manager of the early Houston Heights Hotel. The Kennedy family occupied the house until 1960, making several modifications through the years such as shingling over the clapboard, enclosing the second story front porch, and moving the kitchen from its original location to an addition. The original wood shingle roof was also replaced when the house caught fire after the turn of the century.
Since 1960, a succession of four families has owned the home, including the present owners. The house underwent a modest renovation in the early 1980’s and was later placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The present owners undertook a second, very exhaustive restoration with addition between 2005 and 2006. The house was stripped of all earlier modifications, and it was expanded from 1960 square feet to 3100 square feet to accommodate a large family. Key additions included a new kitchen, master bedroom, two-story garage, bathrooms, and closet space. Additionally, garden structures and a cedar greenhouse were added to the backyard.
Enormous efforts were taken in this latest project to integrate the historic features of the house with modern sensibilities. Paint was stripped from the wood trim down to the original varnished finish. Replacement window trim was custom-milled from antique pine boards and flooring which were removed from salvage of other turn-of-the century homes. Lights for the kitchen were obtained from an old warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the dining room chandelier from an old alleywalk in Paris. Additionally, antique doors and windows were installed in as many areas as possible.
Soon after the renovation was completed, the house was added to the City of Houston Historic Landmarks register. Do plan to attend this meeting.
The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public bimonthly to learn about history and restoration in keeping with an appreciation of the historic nature of Houston Heights. If you have a restoration project, historical structure under restoration, or historical information or photos pertaining to the Heights to share at future meetings, please contact Chairman Dean Swanson, 713-880-2832 or .
Education Committee Notes
Congratulations to the faculty, parents, students, and community advocates of Love Elementary for their triumphant win over HISD’s potential closure. We are so happy that Love will continue to grow and prosper in our Heights neighborhood!
On May 26, the HHA Education Committee hosted a luncheon for outgoing and incoming PTO/PTA presidents of Heights public and private schools to explore ways that the HHA can more effectively support their schools’ needs in the upcoming school year. Many wonderful ideas were discussed, with emphasis on how the committee and volunteers can help lessen the impact of planned budget shortfalls for education. The committee plans to visit all Heights school principals in June to gather similar input.
Please welcome the following members to the Houston Heights Association.
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Summer 2011 Bronze Sponsors:
Immanuel Restoration Project
The Immanuel Restoration Project on the corner of 15th Street and Cortlandt is currently in the fundraising stages. The new roof has been completed through the generosity of Vogler Sheet Metal and, with the help of Bob Fretz of Fretz Construction, the bell tower roofing and repair will soon be completed.
The committee is working hard to raise one million dollars so the building restoration can begin. The hope is to create a wonderful community usage building for art, theatre and singing performances as well as a center for quality youth programs.
Restoration design drawings were generously provided by the architectural firm of Ziegler Cooper Design; they were on display to the public during the ribbon-cutting ceremony and most recently during the spring home and garden tour. Hundreds of people took the opportunity to see this magnificent building and realize firsthand its tremendous potential as a functioning and fully restored historic landmark.
The date of March 1, 2013 has been set by the committee as the final date to raise all necessary funds. At this time approximately $200,000 has been raised, so we have a long way to go.
If the needed funds have not been raised by the date of March 1, 2013, the attempts for restoration will end. We are currently sending grant applications to major foundations on a regular and consistent basis; however, we are in great need of community support as well.
Outrage was strongly expressed by the community at the time when demolition seemed inevitable. Fortunately, demolition did not occur. Over one hundred letters of protest were sent along with countless emails. The building was saved, and now we need contributions to be made by all those who protested and the community at large.
If you wish to contribute to this very important project, please write your donation by check to the following organization: Greater Houston Community Foundation; 4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 100; Houston, TX 77027. On the memo line of the check write "Immanuel Restoration Project."
Donations may be made online at . Click on “DONATE NOW!” on the GHCF home page and choose “Immanuel Restoration Fund” in the Program Designation drop-down. For more information on other methods of donating, please go to the GHCF website at or call 713-333-2200.
Thank you. —Chris Silkwood
Woman’s Club Events
The Houston Heights Woman’s Club is having a Garage Sale on Saturday, June 4, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. This event will be held at the HHWC Clubhouse, located at 1846 Harvard. Please come on out and see it. You never know what bargains you might find.
The Literary Club will meet Thursday, June 9, 7:00 PM at the HHWC Clubhouse, located at 1846 Harvard. The book selection is Provenance by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo. Anna Gay will lead the discussion.
National Lemonade Day at Donovan Park
On Saturday, April 30, National Lemonade Day was celebrated at Donovan Park with six lemonade stands manned by local children. The prices of the lemonade ranged from 50¢ to $1.00. One of the stands featured organic lemonade.
The stand manned by the children of Heights resident Marc Ziegler dedicated their proceeds to the maintenance of Donovan Park. They raised $158.00 for the park. Their efforts were helped when the occupants of two tour buses stopped at the park.
Mr. Ziegler and his employer, John Daugherty Realty, are sponsoring play days at Donovan Park this summer. The next one will feature a water slide. Watch the HHA newsletter for the play day dates.
Ten Years Ago This Month
After Tropical Storm Allison
Calendar of Events for June-July 2011
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
June 3, Opera in the Heights presents Bravissmo 2011, a gala evening of dining, auction, and entertainment by opera’s rising young stars. Contact Midge Claiborne at 713-410-0023 for details.
September 22-24, 29-30, October 1-2, Opera in the Heights presents Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit .
November 10-12 & 17-20, Opera in the Heights presents Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit .
January 26-28, February 2-5, Opera in the Heights presents Donizetti’s Anna Bolena in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit .
Heavy Trash Notes
June is a “Junk Waste” month; July is a “Tree Waste Only” month. For dates in your area and more information, visit the City of Houston Solid Waste .
October 2, Bicycle Rally
December 2-3, Holiday Home Tour
December 5-7, Holiday Basket Preparation and Delivery
February 26, Awards Dinner
April 5-7, Spring Home Tour
June 2, Heights Fun Run
At The Fire Station
The second Monday, 5:00 to 7:00 PM, and the last Monday of the month, 8:00 AM to noon, the City Council District H Satellite Office is open at the east (office) door.
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.
Copyright © 2011, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.
Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:
Editor, The Heights, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735;
email ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
Editor: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson
Bill Baldwin, Paul Carr, Angela DeWree, Linda Eyles, Lauriel Hindman, John Ridgway, Andrea Sharp, Chris Silkwood, Jonathan Smulian, Robin Swinney, Lanna vonBaden, Maurine Weyel.