Council Member Larry V. Green

Last month on March 6, 2018, it was a complete shock to the District K staff and the rest of Houston to hear of the sudden passing of Council Member Larry Green.

“The District K staff is sincerely appreciative of all the heartfelt prayers and thoughts as the “Green Dream Team” continues to transition during this bereavement period.” states Martha Castex-Tatum, District K Constituent Services Director. “Council Member Green was a man that lived life to the fullest. He accomplished a lot and was well loved by his constituents and peers.”

Council Member Green was a graduate of Madison High School, earned his BA in political science from the University of Houston and his doctorate in jurisprudence from Texas Southern University. He practiced law in private practice for over 20 years while volunteering countless hours of his personal time to a number of civic causes before serving as a congressional aide, and later the director of the job training non-profit HoustonWorksUSA.

Council Member Green was first elected to Houston City Council in 2012, after the creation of the newly formed District K. He was the first council member to hold the seat for this new council district. During his tenure on City Council, Council Member Green championed for economic development to District K, often boasting that District K had the largest number of empty lots within the city, prime for residential or commercial development, and focused on a number of job creation programs to improve the quality of life of the constituents. Additionally, Council Member Green served as the Chair of the Transportation, Technology, and Infrastructure Committee at City Hall, and was also an active board member for the Texas Municipal League and the National League of Cities.

“In spirit, his legacy lives on. The District K office will continue to thrive and move the council office forward and upward,” states Donald Perkins, District K Chief of Staff.

District K Special Election — Saturday, May 5

With the recent passing of Council Member Green last month, the City of Houston is mandated by state charter to hold a special election to fulfill the remainder term of Council Member Green, which expires December 31, 2019.

The District K special election is scheduled for Saturday, May 5 with early voting starting April 23 through May 1. The designated Harris County and Fort Bend County early voting locations for this special election are:

  • Harris County Administration Building — 1001 Preston St., 77002
  • Fiesta Mart — 8130 Kirby Dr. (@ Old Spanish Trail), 77054
  • Hiram Clarke Multi-Service Center, 3810 West Fuqua St., 77045
  • Platou Community Center, 11655 Chimney Rock Rd., 77035
  • Chasewood Community Clubhouse, 7622 Chasewood Dr., 77489

Residents can vote at any of these designated locations within the County they are registered. However, residents must vote within their designated precinct on election day (May 5th).

“It is paramount that every registered District K resident go out to the polls and vote during this special election, states Donald Perkins, District K Chief of Staff. “Council Member Green has advocated very hard for District K to receive its equal share of capital improvement projects and other economic development initiatives. Moreover, he bridged the gap of two former council district areas to view things from a holistic approach that enhances the betterment of District K as a whole. The next elected person to fulfill this vacant seat needs to have that District-wide perspective.”

To date, there is a confirmed candidates’ forum scheduled for Tuesday, April 24 at Westbury High School auditorium starting at 6:30 p.m. This grassroots forum is being sponsored by the six (6) District K super neighborhood councils (Braeswood SN, Near Southwest SN, Westbury SN, Brays Oaks SN, Central Southwest SN, and Fort Bend Houston SN) in addition to Southwest Houston 2000 and the South Houston Concerned Citizens Coalition. The forum will be moderated by KHOU, Channel 11, Larry Seward.

For a complete list of the nine (9) District K candidates vying for this vacant seat, click here.

New Parker Elementary Opens!

After a delayed completion, Parker Elementary has a new school building which finally opened last month, following Spring Break — March 19. The weeklong event consists of afterschool tours for parents and area residents.

“The new building is extraordinary, states Jennifer Edmondson, Westbury Civic Club Manager and school parent. The school’s lower grades are all located on the first floor whereas the upper grade classrooms are on the 2nd floor. The different grade levels are represented by different colors painted in the classrooms and hallways to give the children an unspoken clue as to where they belong.

There are open areas in each hall equipped with tables and ottomans where small groups of students can study together. The new building also has a two-level library with a bank of computers and it has a new gymnasium. More importantly, there is a new cafeteria — NOT a cafetorium.

Parker Elementary’s First Day in Their New Building

Parker Elementary is a widely recognized HISD music magnet school that needed a proper performance venue. The new building has a 500-seat auditorium in which Parker’s many acclaimed performing groups can perform. The various art disciplines each have their own classrooms which are spacious and inspiring. There also are storage areas for all the instruments.

Lastly, the auditorium is still under construction, but should be in use some time this month. Several performances are already on the calendar before the school year ends. The old Parker building will be razed in the near future (no confirmed date set yet). Also, a new teachers’ parking lot and new playground area have yet to be built. The students, administrators, faculty, and staff are enjoying their new academic and fine arts home. “The Parker Elementary School administrators will continue to coordinate a showcase tour of the new building for the Westbury community.”

Westbury Community White Elephant Sale – April 28

Springtime in Westbury is known for its annual community White Elephant Sale. This year’s community garage sale event will occur on Saturday, April 28, from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Westbury United Methodist Church. The rain date is scheduled for May 5.

The Westbury Civic Club will coordinate booth space. They may be purchased during normal office hours of 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Interested vendors must be a paid current member of the Westbury Civic Club to purchase a booth. This means you must have paid your 2018 civic club membership dues of $50. If you have not paid your 2018 dues, you may do so at the same time that you purchase your booth space at the civic club office. The booth price for individual Westbury residents will be $20-$25. Booths will go on sale to non-residents and groups/ non-profit organizations, if space permits, on a first come, first serve basis. The booth price for non-residents is $70-75.

“The Westbury White Elephant Sale allows residents the opportunity to sell unwanted household items at a highly visible central location with security provided, states Jennifer Edmondson, Westbury Civic Club Manager. The Westbury Civic Club provides location, security, bathrooms, and publicity for the sale. The Civic Club does NOT provide tables, chairs or shade. “Garage, estate, yard, moving sales, etc. are not permitted at Westbury residences by long standing policy of the Westbury Civic Club and the deed restrictions. So why not have fun, make money, be safe, and be a good neighbor. Plan on having a booth at the Westbury White Elephant Sale.”

Friends of Westbury High School Foundation Celebrates Annual Scholarship Gala — Saturday, May 5

It’s that time of year again! The Friends of Westbury High School Foundation is celebrating their 26th annual scholarship gala on May 5th at the Braeburn Country Club. This year’s theme is “And They’re Off! – An Evening at the Derby”.

The open reception is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm., followed with dinner and the scholarship program. This year’s gala will honor Texas State Representative Shawn Thierry and in memoriam Scott McCleskey and Reginald Washington.

The Friends of Westbury High School Foundation, an all-volunteer, non-profit, tax exempt organization, was founded in 1992. Thanks to the generous support of Westbury alumni, friends, and business partners, the Foundation from 1994 to the present has raised over $400,000 for scholarships for deserving Westbury students. In addition, the organization supports school projects; such as campus landscaping, mentoring, serving on school committees, and maintaining the Foundation website.

For more information on how to get involved and how to buy tickets, please email Gala Chairs Elise Namee and Barbara Freilich at Donations and auction items are always welcome. We hope to see you all there!

District K Hosts Groundbreaking Event — Bayou Greenways 2020 — Sims Bayou Trail System (Phase II)

SAVE THE DATE — Thursday, April 19

The District K office, in partnership with the Houston Parks Board and the Houston Parks and Recreation Dept., are geared to break ground on Phase II of the Bayou Greenways 2020 — Sims Bayou trail system. The event will occur at 10:00 a.m. along the 4000 block of Bayberry Dr. at White Heather Dr. — front of Montgomery Elementary School. The Phase II segment of this trail system will start at Heatherbrook Dr. and extend east to Buffalo Speedway along the north side of the bayou.

Last year, Council Member Green hosted the ribbon cutting of Phase I, which started the Sims Bayou trail system from Hillcroft Ave. to Heatherbrook Dr. (behind Windsor Village United Methodist Church). The Phase I segment consists of an 1.8 mile concrete paved trail that parallels Sims Bayou. Along the winding trail system, the District K office also partnered with Trees for Houston to plant over 1,200 trees along the trail portion of Blue Ridge County Park.

The Phase II segment will feature the following:

  • New 10-foot wide concrete trail along Sims Bayou Greenway from Heatherbrook to Buffalo Speedway, which includes replacement of the existing asphalt trail in between Heatherbrook and S Post Oak Road and also between White Heather Drive and Buffalo Speedway.
  • Directional and educational signage, trash cans and recycling bins, benches, unique ornamental design features, wildflower plantings, and native trees.
  • A trailhead entrance to the Sims Bayou Greenway with parking at S Post Oak Blvd.
  • Trail connections into neighborhoods from the Sims Bayou Greenway at Heatherbrook Drive, S Post Oak Road, Buxley Street, Hiram Clarke Road, White Heather Drive, Bayberry Street, Bligh Street, Gowland Street, McCadden Street, Fleetwell Street and Buffalo Speedway.
  • A future trail along the CenterPoint easement parallel to Hiram Clarke Road. The trail will tie into the Sims Bayou Greenway and provide access to neighborhoods along Hiram Clarke up to Airport Boulevard.
  • Uniquely designed trail gateways along Buxley Street into Grissom Elementary School and Audrey H. Lawson Middle School, and also a linear park connection at Montgomery Elementary School.
  • Ongoing maintenance of the greenway including weekly trash pickup, bi-weekly mowing, trail and amenities upkeep and flood cleanup of the trail.

The full length of the Phase II greenway segment is estimated to be complete in Spring 2019. Residents should be mindful of the active construction site along the bayou where construction vehicles will be entering and exiting. Residents and the public should not enter areas with orange construction fencing.

Sims Bayou Greenway is part of a citywide project called Bayou Greenways 2020. This initiative is being led by the Houston Parks Board in partnership with the City of Houston. Bayou Greenways 2020 will create a continuous parks system along Houston’s major waterways, transform more than 3,000 underutilized acres along the bayous into linear parks and connect 150 miles of hike-and-bike trails.

2018 Keep District K Beautiful Day

Thank you to all of our District K neighborhoods who participated in the Keep District K Beautiful Day event earlier this month. This year, we had six (6) District K communities participate with beautification and de-litter clean-up initiatives. Way to go:

  • South Houston Concerned Citizens Coalition & Five Corners Management District
  • Concerned Citizens of Quail Run
  • Brays Oaks Management District
  • Braeswood Super Neighborhood
  • Westbury Civic Club
  • Almeda Plaza Civic Club

We hope to have more neighborhoods participate next year!

2018 District K Hosted 2018 Community Town Hall Meeting

Last month, the District K office hosted its annual District K Community Town Hall Meeting (formerly the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) meeting) at The Fountain Life Center. “This was the first time to host a community meeting without Council Member Green, but he was there in spirit,” states Martha Castex-Tatum, District K Constituent Services Director. “The turnout among District K constituents was outstanding.”

This year’s community meeting started with a featured memoriam presentation in honor of Council Member Green. The District K meeting continued with a powerpoint presentation that highlighted all the various District K initiatives by Council Member Green entitled, A Year in Review.

Mayor Turner was the keynote presenter, along with Carol Haddock, the new Houston Public Works Director. The Mayor and Director Haddock touch based on post-Harvey recovery updates and highlighted recently completed projects, projects underway, and projects programmed for next year. Following their respective presentations, the community meeting departed into breakout groups among the various City departments and other interagency organizations in attendance.

View a copy of the District K presentation.

District K Sponsored Two (2) Neighborhood 101 Workshops — How to Lower Your Property Taxes

Last month, the District K office hosted two (2) Neighborhood 101 workshops, in partnership with the Harris County Appraisal District and the Harris County Tax Assessor’s Office. The first workshop was held at The Fountain Life Center and the following workshop was held at Willow Meadows Baptist Church.

“These simultaneous workshops were designed to provide a forum for attendees to know how to save money on their property taxes. Whether you reside in Harris County, Fort Bend County, or Brazoria County, the workshop better equipped everyone with the resources and techniques to be better informed of various exemptions,” states Donald Perkins, District K Chief of Staff. “Being able to provide these types of workshops to our District K residents is invaluable. It is our desire to make sure our residents have the information they need to enhance all aspects of their quality of life.”

The presenters moderating this workshop were very knowledgeable in this subject area and provided an interactive dialogue about various types of exemptions.

The new deadline date to protest your property tax is May 15 (NOT May 31)!

District K Hosted Neighborhood 101 Workshop — Legal Aspects of Running an Effective Civic Board

Back by popular demand, the District K office recently hosted another Neighborhood 101 — Legal Aspects of Running an Effective Civic Board at Westbury High School. “The attendance of District K community leaders learning to achieve best practices about how to become an effective leader and civic board member was outstanding,” states Donald Perkins, District K Chief of Staff.

The workshop was geared toward current and emerging board members who are unclear about their legal roles and responsibilities. This interactive workshop helped define what they can legally expect of their fellow board members. Whether the civic association is a mandatory assessment association (i.e. HOA/POA/CIA) or a volunteer-based civic association (i.e. civic club), this workshop enhanced their civic board skills.

Houston Police Department Positive Interaction Program (PIP) Meetings

District K has two (2) active PIP meetings administered by the Houston Police Department. All PIP meetings are open to the public; regardless of where you live.

Southwest PIP Meeting (every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.)
Southwest HPD Substation
13097 Nitida St.
Houston, TX 77045

For more information, please contact the Westbury HPD Storefront at 832-394-7520 or the Hiram Clarke HPD Storefront at 832-374-9840.

Braeburn PIP Meeting (every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.)
Braeburn HPD Storefront
7576 West Bellfort Ave.
Houston, TX 77071

For more information, please contact the HPD Braeburn Storefront at 832-394-7555.

Any Annual Civic Association Meetings Planned on the Horizon?

The Spring and Fall season is the time of year a significant number of civic associations host their annual civic association meetings. Since 2012, the District K council office has continued to make a commitment to visit every civic association within the District. If you are receiving this e-newsletter and the District K office has yet to attend your annual civic association meeting, please contact the council office at 832-393-3016 or to schedule an appointment.

Has Your Civic Association Been Updated with the District K Council Office?

Update your civic association contacts with the District K council office. If your civic association has recently elected new officers, changed the primary contact person, new e-mail address, new contact number and/or new or changed meeting location, time, and date, please take a moment to update your contact info with the District K council office.

Periodically, the District K office sends pertinent information about District K news and City of Houston topics of information relating to your neighborhood and neighborhood association. To ensure you and your civic association receives this information, we need you to update your contact info. Thank you for your help and your interest in District K.

City of Houston Updates Ch. 19 — Floodplain Management Ordinance

Earlier this month, City Council approved new measures for Chapter 19 which is the City of Houston floodplain ordinance. The previous code only applied to properties in the 100-year floodplain, but the new ordinance applies to both the 100-year and 500-year floodplains.

There are important distinctions between the two different floodplains. Below is a clearer explanation of the new ordinance’s effects on the respective floodplain areas.

Changes to the 100-Year Floodplain Areas

  • New homes will be required to be built to the 500-year floodplain level plus 2 feet.
  • Existing homes where a planned addition increases the footprint by over 1/3 of the existing square foot space will be required to elevate only the addition to the 500-year flood plan level plus 2 feet (not the entire home).
    • This change does not apply to existing homes where the planned addition will be less than 1/3 the current floor space.
      Note: the existing rule of an elevated level of 100-year floodplain level plus 1 foot still applies.
  • Existing homes that engage in “substantial improvements” that increase the value of the home by 50% or more will be required to elevate the entire home to the 500-year floodplain level plus 2 feet or more.
  • The current rule of “zero net fill” will remain in place.

Changes to the 500-Year Floodplain Areas

  • New homes will be required to be built at the 500-year floodplain level plus 2 feet.
  • Existing homes where a planned addition increases the footprint by over 1/3 of the existing square foot space will be required to elevate only the addition to the 500-year flood plan level plus 2 feet (not the entire home).
    • This does not apply to existing homes where the planned addition will be less than 1/3 the current floor space.
  • The “substantial improvement” rule for 100-year floodplain does not apply.
  • “Minimal net fill” is allowed for homes in the 500-year floodplain areas, as long as there is no interference with the “sheet flow” of potential flood waters.

The new ordinance does not regulate foundations for elevation. However, citizens have the option of utilizing pier and beams to elevate their respective home.