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Houston City Council Designates ‘Green Corridor’ In The Heights

Despite an absence of community opposition, the vote was still hard-fought around the council horseshoe.


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: Jonathan Smulian with the Houston Heights Association wants part of Yale Street be designated a
Jonathan Smulian with the Houston Heights Association fought for part of Yale Street to be designated a "green corridor."

A "green corridor" designation ensures trees that are 15 inches or more in diameter cannot be cut down without city approval and the paying of a fee or replacement of the trees.

That's now the case on Yale Street between Sixth and 19th Street in the Heights.

The vote in favor was unanimous but not before a lengthy discussion and an initial tag, or delay of the vote, by council member Michael Kubosh.

That triggered Mayor Sylvester Turner to ask council members to come to him if they have questions about an agenda item before a vote is scheduled.

"If there are items that have been on the agenda, especially for a couple of weeks, it doesn't make sense to go through a 30-minute discussion," Turner said. “And so, just like you all want me to be transparent and provide you all with information, and so I don’t blindside you. Let me just say, I don’t want you to blindside me.”

Kubosh then took back his tag after getting his questions answered by the city attorney.

Council member Greg Travis had an observation about the whole ordeal.

"Just find it interesting today that we spent 20 seconds discussing borrowing $230 million and we spent 45 minutes talking about trees," he said. “Just want everybody to know that sometimes, there’s an old adage that says, sometimes we lose sight of the forest – wait for it – due to the trees.”

This is the first time the city has designated a street a green corridor.

The green corridor designation does not affect residential homeowners or trees on private commercial property behind a designated setback.

A couple of years ago, the Urban Forestry Committee of the Houston Heights Association found the "green corridor" provision under the trees and shrubs ordinance.

The group collected signatures from commercial property owners along the 1.6 mile stretch to present to the city.

The city council's quality of life committee reviewed the application in April and a public hearing about it was held two weeks ago.