Sept 2005 NEIGHBORHOOD NEWSLETTER

 

NEXT MEETING
Thursday, September 22, 2005, 7pm
at Brazil (2604 Dunlavy)

EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
(Stay tuned for a social in October -- time & place TBA, but plan to celebrate cooler weather with your neighbors!)

 

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                                                                  

 

To all residents of Mandell Place,

As we close out another summer season in our neighborhood, It is time to reflect on some things that have happened over the past few months. During that time we have had one general meeting and two socials, all of which were well attended. We've also stepped up to the challenge of a deed restriction violation.  My thanks go out to Arleen Znosko as well as the Fraziers for all their hard work putting the last two socials together. I also want to thank Dan & Magda at Brazil for allowing us to have our last two meetings there, as well as all of the residents in the neighborhood; because without all of you banding together the land developers would have invaded our neighborhood long ago and the quality of life would not be nearly as pleasant as well all enjoy today.  Until the next meeting, take care of yourselves and of each other.

 

Sincerely,

Robert Graham

MPCA President

 

ELECTIONS ARE COMING!                                                              

By Robert Graham

 

Our annual elections for officers for the M.P.C.A. 2006 Board Of Directors is rapidly approaching. Interested in becoming more involved?  Here is how the nomination process works:

 

All designated officers shall be elected at the general meeting in the month of November of each year and shall take office at the January of the following year. The Officers shall be elected by a vote of all members present. In the event of a vacancy occurring in the staff of officers, the vacancy shall be filled at the first general meeting after a vacancy occurs by a majority vote of the members present. The Nominating Committee shall consist of all voting members wishing to serve. Additional nominations may be made from the floor. Nominations for all elected positions shall be open to any member of the Association who is in good standing.

 

Update on the Deed Restriction Challenge                                                     

By Jaye Tullai

 

         In late June of this year it was brought to the attention of the Board that one of our residents had just built a garage that was in violation of the 75’ setback in our deed restrictions. The garage was built as an extension of the front faćade of the house and is not a few feet out of compliance, but  nearly 50 feet out of compliance.

            Of all the provisions in our Deed Restrictions, the 75’ garage setback (paragraph d) is the one that has the most bearing on our ownership here in Mandell Place.  However, the violator was not a builder but one of our neighbors, and I wanted to give that some consideration. I met with the homeowner, the Deed Restriction Chairman Charley Herndon wrote her a letter officially notifying her of non-compliance, and the Board of Directors of Mandell Place convened a Board meeting.  Fliers and signs were sent out calling a General Meeting of the Membership on  21 July 2005.

            At the General Membership Meeting, this issue was introduced with the Deed Restriction Chairman reading both his letter and the homeowner’s reply, and then I stepped in to moderate a discussion. More than 50 people attended and over 20 people took the floor.

            The first gentleman to take the floor spoke with vehemence about apathy on the part of both the Board and residents.  In spite of  (or maybe because of ) his challenging remarks, the membership showed itself to be anything but apathetic, and quite unified and certain about demanding that the Board protect the Deed Restrictions. 

A former deed restriction chairman proposed that the membership show its desires in the form of a Motion to vote on.  The first Motion was passed unanimously that the Board would contact the City about the non-compliant structure.  The second Motion was a proposal to wait to act until the homeowner returned from an eight week vacation. This proposal was defeated about 3 to 1.  Finally one resident proposed to re-word our earlier resolution to use stronger and more direct language to show that we will enforce our Deed Restrictions and this was passed without dissent.

The violating structure was built without getting any permit from the City of Houston. At the meeting, one couple renovating on Kipling related the experience of being denied a City permit to extend their porch beyond the front setback because it would violate the Mandell Place Deed Restrictions. They described having to change their plans at their own expense but also acknowledged that it is not an aesthetic issue, nor one of being singled out,  but one of maintaining the Deed Restrictions. Their story also shows that the City of Houston is working with us, and will work with us, (thanks, by the way, in no small part to the Mandell Place  lawsuit of 1988)

Although the evening was hot and humid and the acoustics were not great, the meeting lasted a vociferous and participatory two hours.

The Deed Restriction Chairman drafted a letter to Robert Oaks at the Code Enforcement Dept., City of Houston and I hand carried the letter to his office. Mr Oaks was kind enough to meet with me and outline the process for me, introducing me to the inspector who would be sent out and describing the role the city’s legal department plays in these cases. He gave me the number of the City Attorney’s Office and I spoke with the Assistant City Attorney that same day.

The building was red tagged shortly thereafter, citing the unpermitted structure. At this writing the owner has not yet returned from vacation.


 

                                                                                                               

Sidebar-  That 75 foot Rule or What “garage setback” has to do with you.

 

In a city without zoning, we have only our Deed Restrictions to shape our neighborhood.

The Deed Restrictions vary widely from subdivision to subdivision. The restrictions that were drawn up for Mandell Place are different from those of Winlow  Place for example. Restrictions vary widely in content. Some outer loop suburbs have Restrictions that govern what color you can paint your front door.  Ours “run with the land” that is, they have been in effect since the neighborhood was chartered in 1923.

Only paragraph  “e”” of our Deed restrictions for example, and not any rule of the City, prohibits a tattoo parlour from opening next to you.  In Houston it is up to each neighborhood to show the City that you want enforcement of these, and in today’s climate the City will  work with you.  But the burden of monitoring is largely in the hands of the residents.

 Protecting your Deed Restrictions is the biggest job, and in fact the reason for the existence of the Civic Associations.

So why should we care about garage setback?

Paragraph “d” of our Deed Restrictions is hugely important in shaping our neighborhood.   This is the one that states that garages have to be set back 75’ from the front lot line.

This is the rule that is keeping townhouses out of our neighborhood. If garage structures have to be set back that far, there is simply not enough room to put two modern size structures on the lot.

A slender thread, but there it is.

This is not to insult any of the townhouses that were slipped into Mandell place during the (pre lawsuit) days of non enforcement.  But the builders will always make more money if they can put two on a lot, and if we were to back slide now are neighborhood would look like the canyon of garage doors that is on the other side of Westheimer.  Owning property both in Mandell and in Vermont Commons I can demonstrate that the same house in Mandell Place is worth a lot more than in the subdivisions that are being torn down for townhouses.  In the case of a one story bungalow for example, I can make a fairly clear and convincing case that the same bungalow over there would bring $80- 100,000 less.  But that is the stuff of another essay.

 

YARD OF THE MONTH                                                               

 

The yard of the month awards for the summer were:

 

            June                            1623 Marshall

            July                             1519 Kipling

            August                       1601 Kipling

 

These are the yards our neighbors selected to model for our neighborhood.  We now have a new and exciting method of selecting this honor!  The resident receiving the yard of the month sign will, in turn, select the next yard for the following month.  This democratic procedure has a different person selecting this honor each month.  You may be next!

 

RECYCLING PAPER IN THE GREEN BINS                                   

 

The City collects the following kinds of paper:

   Mail, envelopes, home office paper, flyers, computer paper.

No dark colored or decorative folders, cards or envelopes

No plastic bags or foil packaging.

 

                                    Heavy junk pick up is the second Wednesday of the month. 

 

OUR WEBSITE

 

We want to thank our resident and support, David Crossley, whose Gulf Coast Institute hosts our website. We love being on the Internet and being accessed through our own name at www.mandellplace.org.

 

BLOG ON…                                                                                    

 

With thanks to long time and loyal resident Dorothy Tyler, Mandell Place now has its own blog for you to express an opinion, give us your ideas, inform others about what is going on in the neighborhood.  It is a community bulletin board! Go to:

 

                                                http://mandellplace.blogspot.com

 

BABYSITTER AVAILABLE!                                                      

Submitted by Nan and Craig Varoga

 

            Our teenage daughter Molly is available for babysitting during evenings and on weekends for Mandell Place residents.  Molly recently completed the American Red Cross babysitting course.  Interested parents can call 713-729-1639.


JOIN MANDELL PLACE CIVIC ASSOCIATION

 

ANNUAL DUES:____$50 SUSTAINING  ____$25 CONTRIBUTING  ____ $100 PATRON

____$10 FIXED INCOME/TENANT

 

NAME:___________________________________________________________________

 

Address:_____________________________  E-Mail:______________________________

 

Home phone:______________________    Business Phone:__________________________

 

Mail to: Mandell Place Civic Association, P.O. Box 66005, Houston, TX 77266-6005

 

 


OFFICIAL MPCA RECEIPTS FOR MEMBERSHIP DUES                 

            Did you know that MPCA issues receipts for dues that can be used for income tax purposes?  The receipts satisfy auditors that your dues were paid to a 501(3)(c) organization and are a tax-deductible expense.

 

2005 CIVIC ASSOCIATION BOARD

 

President                       Robert Graham                  713-526-0291        Robert_26884@msn.com

Vice President               Jaye Tullai                          713-526-1830        jaye.tullai@prodigy.net

Treasurer                       Joan Roden                       713-521-0415        jandbroden@aol.com

Secretary                       Jennifer Hasche                 713-523-2447        jenandjay@houston.rr.com

Security                         Jed Kenna                         713-523-1776        jed1939@mail.ev1.net                           

Membership                   OPEN

Newsletter                      Jennifer Hasche                 713-523-2447        jenandjay@houston.rr.com

Socials                           Arlene Znosko                                                  AZNOSKO@aol.com

Historian                        OPEN

Beautification                 Ernst Roth                          713-524-5546       

Past President               Robert O’Neal                    713-529-1549        robert.oneal@ps.ge.com

 

 

 

2005 Block Captains

 

1500 Hawthorne                      Delores Lamb                           713-524-1119

1600 Hawthorne                      Carol Wolk                                713-529-0082

1500 Harold                             Samir Khushalani                     713-523-1735

1600 Harold                             David Toy                                 713-522-5463

1500 Kipling                             Dorothy Tyler                            713-523-0979

1600 Kipling                             Dorothy Tyler                            713-523-0979

1500 Marshal                           Pamela Lafin                            713-520-0250

1600 Marshall                          Bill Bartlett                                713-523-5031

W. Alabama                             Bill Bartlett                                713-523-5031

Westheimer                              David Toy                                 713-522-5463