After meeting and negotiating with the developer several times in January and February, the Southgate Civic Club (SCC) has reached a compromise agreement for the Dryden replat and the construction to follow. Under the agreement, the SCC will not oppose the replat of the two lots and the construction to follow. In exchange, the developers have agreed to modify their construction plans in several important respects, and have also agreed to important permanent construction and use restrictions on the combined lot.

The City of Houston Planning Department explained that this is a “must approve” replat without any variances, and that the replat would be granted at the hearing and that, according to their interpretation, it does not violate the deed restrictions.

The developer (Ben Bahorich) was encouraged by architects and developers to maximize the value of the site with a seven-story structure. Ben took into account the residential neighborhood and downsized the structure to four stories, as well as agreeing to other important concessions requested by the neighborhood.

The planned four-story structure consists of one parking level with three stories of apartments above (18 units). The structure will have more than the required amount of parking and will have an underground stormwater detention system, private garbage collection and some level of on-site property management. We expect demolition and construction to start in late May or June of 2020.

Most importantly, the developers have agreed to impose construction and use restrictions (deed restrictions) on the combined lot that automatically renew and will bind future owners of the lot.

The key new deed restrictions enter into effect within days after replat approval and include a 50 ft. height limit, a four-story maximum, no further recombination with other lots, and no short term rentals (Airbnb) permanently after an initial period (6 or 9 months) where it is allowed for up to 50% of the bedrooms. The developer also agreed to remove the rooftop deck for residents, which was an important concession. The new restrictions ensure that this developer (post replat) and future developers can’t build a seven story, 90 ft. tall building.

As part of the agreement, if neighborhood residents stop this project before completion, the new deed restrictions would be terminated, and the next lot owner would be free to build a larger structure.

After this experience, the SCC will improve the transparency and explanation of deed restrictions and guidelines. We will provide better notice to future developers/buyers about SCC’s plan approval authority and interpretation of the deed restrictions by recording additional documents in the county property records and also updating the website.

Lastly, I would like to thank you for the numerous volunteer hours logged by many in the neighborhood, working to protect our community. We have plans to further strengthen and amend our deed restrictions, and will inform you when we are nearing those steps.

To learn more and see building plans, I encourage you to attend the next Southgate Civic Club meeting – Thursday, February 27th at 6:00pm in the Roberts Elementary café.