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Some Galleria Residents Oppose Plan For A Mixed-Income Apartment Complex In The Area

The Houston Housing Authority is in charge of the project, which still needs the approval of City Council.



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Some residents of The Galleria area are opposing a mixed-income apartment complex in their neighborhood.

The Houston Housing Authority, HHA, wants to build the complex on the 2600th block of Fountainview Drive. It would be located in the midst of high-end neighborhoods like Briargrove and Tanglewood. The complex would have 233 units and most of the apartments would offer some sort of subsidy so that low income tenants can live there.

HHA officials say most of the residents will earn between $25,000 to $42,000 per year.

Some of the potential neighbors have formed a group called Stop HHA Fountainview Project. John Luman, the group's chair, says their concern is the overcrowding of the area's elementary schools and not the possibility of low income tenants moving in.

"It’s never crossed my mind who will live there, you know, what the ethnic background may be, what the racial makeup… It’s never, ever been on my mind," Luman says.

Lance Gilliam, chairman of the board of commissioners for the HHA, says he has not heard of any complaints about the other apartment complexes being developed in the area.

"There are more than 700 apartment units, that are market rate units, being built on Fountainview right now, being opened or being built on Fountainview right now, and we’ve not heard any community concern or pushback against those new units," notes Gilliam.

As for the school issue, Houston Independent School District spokesperson Holly Huffman says there is currently "regional overcrowding" in those elementary schools.

Harvin Moore, who represents District VII on the HISD school board, says if the apartments were built, it would add between 60 and 70 students to Briargrove Elementary. HISD data shows that school is currently overcrowded.

Gilliam thinks even if overcrowding happened, HISD could take care of the students who were impacted.

The Houston City Council still has to approve the project.

City Council Member Greg Travis — who represents District G where the complex would be built — opposes it.

The apartment complex would be built at 2640 Fountainview Drive, near The Galleria. If the Houston City Council approves the project, the Houston Housing Authority construction would start in the fourth quarter of 2016.