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The District Journal, March 26, 2018

Council Passes Group Home Changes

Laster Amendment Requires Online Posting of Application Information

Last Wednesday, City Council passed major legislation changing the way group homes are addressed in the city. Following reports of multiple fires and public safety concerns at these facilities, the City has implemented a new permitting system with Certificate of Occupancy requirements for boarding homes, lodging facilities, and correctional facilities/alternative housing.

It can be confusing at times to know the difference between each of these entities:

  • “Boarding homes” are defined as being three or more unrelated persons with disabilities and/or elderly persons. (Persons receiving care for drug and/or alcohol addiction are considered disabled.)
  • "Lodging facilities” are a new category of facilities that are used and occupied, for compensation, by three or more unrelated people.
  • A “correctional facility” is a facility for the housing and rehabilitation or training of adults on parole, early or pre-release, or release from a penal institution.
  • An “Alternate Housing Facility” (AHF) is a residence owned by an individual, private legal entity, non-profit or faith based organization where three or more unrelated parolees reside.

The changes that were passed include permit requirements for all three, as well as distant requirements from schools, public parks and other facilities for correctional facilities and AHFs. These changes will allow City inspectors to regulate and monitor known facilities, where before, most of these homes operated under-the-radar.

After hearing from many constituents, I had questions regarding how these homes would change the makeup of our single-family residential neighborhoods. After expressing my concerns on how these facilities would affect deed restrictions, your District J office, the Mayor’s office and various City Departments were able to come to an agreement on a compromise that provides for transparency during the application process. The Laster amendments require department directors to post on a publicly accessible City website the following information: the name of the owner and operator, the physical address, and legal description of the proposed location. This posting must be made within five days of the Director’s receipt of a completed application. Civic associations and Council Offices can monitor this list and have a better understanding as to who and what will be coming into our neighborhoods. Because of this, the inspection process by the Legal Department can begin sooner, should deed restriction questions arise.

The passing of this ordinance and the Laster amendments was a long-time coming. I applaud the efforts of the City Departments involved and the Mayor’s Office for bringing this legislation to Council for action. I hope that we can continue to work together to insure the integrity of our residential neighborhoods remains intact for generations to come.

Thank You,
Council Member Mike Laster


District J Community Meeting

The District J Annual Community Meeting (formerly known as our "CIP meeting") is this Wednesday. We hope to see you there!

Where:
Bayland Park Community Center (new location)
6400 Bissonnet
Houston, TX 77074

When:
Wednesday, March 28th
6:30pm


TxDOT Public Meeting on I-69

TxDOT will be holding a public meeting tonight to introduce and receive input about the I-69 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study, which encompasses I-69 from Spur 527 to BW 8 in Harris County and includes the cities of Houston, Bellaire and West University. The meeting will be held in an open house format so the public may come and go at their convenience, and staff will be available to answer questions. No formal presentation is planned.

Where:
Clarewood House – Auditorium
Parking entrance on Reims Rd.
7400 Clarewood Dr.
Houston, TX 77036 (Map)

When:
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Open House: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.


Council District Service Funds 2018

Ongoing CDSF projects for sidewalk reconstruction and ADA ramp installation on Fondren at Bissonnet and Guildford The District J office has been working diligently with your local civic associations to finalize projects for the FY2018 Council District Service Fund (CDSF). Every year, district council offices are allocated discretionary funding for use in their districts for infrastructure and service projects. In FY2018, each Council District was allotted $725,000.

Here is an overview of some of the projects approved this year:

  • Sharpstown ADA Ramps and Sidewalk Repairs
  • Sharpstown CCT3 Speed Cushions
  • Sharpstown Speed Limit Signage
  • Larkwood Sidewalk Repairs
  • Fondren Sidewalk Repairs
  • Curb Repairs on Hillcroft Esplanade
  • Braeburn Valley West ADA Ramps
  • Braeburn Valley West Trail Connection
  • Rasmus Park Improvements
  • Shopping Cart Retrieval Program
  • Burnett Bayland Park Fence

211 Hotline for Harvey Assistance

Needing Harvey-related assistance? Dialing 211 gets you access to a United Way help line that people can call for help with:

  • FEMA appeals process
  • Home repairs

While 211 is the best option, there are direct numbers you can call as well. If you are interested in assistance with FEMA Appeals, call FEMA directly at 800-621-3362. If you would like to specifically call the Houston Housing and Community Development Dept. regarding home repairs, please call 832-394-6200.