High-Rises: Not In Your Backyard

Next week Houston Councilmembers will vote on where developers can put high-rise buildings. The so-called "Residential Buffering Ordinance" is designed to promote density in certain areas and protect neighborhoods in other areas.

Next Wednesday in the last city council meeting of the year, councilmembers will vote on an ordinance to create eight activity zones where high-rise development will be encouraged. Places like the Galleria, Upper Kirby, Downtown and the Texas Medical Center will welcome more towers, while small neighborhoods will have additional protection against them.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the city wants to do what it can to protect homeowners without stifling growth.

“We’re going to specify where we want to see it and try to make it a little easier. And where we want to discourage, we’re going to add buffers between mid- and high-rise development and nearby residential development. We’re not outlawing it, but we are focusing that more dense vertical development on major collector streets.”

The buffer between high-rise buildings and residences will be between 30 and 40 feet, depending on the width of the road where the development is being built.

The rule is the city’s answer to the firestorm of complaints set off by the proposed Ashby high-rise.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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