A CALL FOR INNOVATION AT CITY HALL
Originally published on FreePressHouston.com.
WHERE CITY HALL CAN INNOVATE? EXAMPLES:
- Solid Waste: Raise the recycling rate from a lowly 18% of our waste stream to above 50%, based on national best practices, as in Denver. Apartment complexes, compost kits, and FOG should be included.
- Parks: Within five years, every resident lives within a safe 5-minute walk of a public park, including smaller “pocket” parks, connected to Bayou Greenways.
- Overlay Districts: Major overhaul of our obsolete “Development Code” and related permitting procedures, providing for Special Planned Urban Districts (SPUDs), similar to the Old Sixth Ward Historic overlay District. Customized regulations, procedures and incentives should better balance neighborhood and developer interests. Recognize that “one-size-fits-all” regulations do not work in a city as diverse as Houston. Let’s provide for more useable green space, by removing incentives for overcrowding sites with unwarranted density, while allowing higher density for workforce housing.
- Neighborhood Revitalization: Adopt specific plans, projects and incentives, to facilitate mixed-income neighborhoods, providing for affordable housing choices, new jobs, and closing of the wealth gap. Recognize that severely distressed areas representing 60% of city land is just not acceptable.