Residents respond after photos of signs banning photoshoots in Houston neighborhood go viral

HOUSTON - The folks in Broadacres, near the Museum District, would like to set the record straight.

“The first phrase in them was ‘Welcome to Broadacres’, so it didn't say ‘keep out of Broadacres,’ it was not meant to exclude citizens from using the sidewalk,” said resident Mack Fowler.

Pictures of the signs went viral when the homeowner's association put them out effectively trying to ban photoshoots in the esplanade.

They say professional photographers, sometimes 40 to 50 in a weekend, like to come out and utilize the view for wedding party, quinceanera and engagement photos.

The problem is -- they bring out props and  end up blocking the sidewalk.

“I've seen sofas, book cases, coffee tables, reindeer,” he said.

And that's what some residents of Broadacres want to stop.

“If they're not setting up and blocking the roadways, then we're absolutely fine with them coming, and we encourage them to come. Golly, it's a beautiful shot, but if you're going to set up a photoshoot, we've got a real problem with that,” said Cece Fowler,  president of the homeowner’s association.

The city says the signs were taken down because the esplanade is a public right-of-way.

That may not be the end of the story, though.

“There is an easement for the city for the walkways and for the roads, but the grass is actually owned by the Broadacres trust. And the most recent title search confirmed that nothing has changed that,” she said.

But the reaction online, and the characterization of their neighbors, has been outrageous.

“I think it's easy to polarize these sort of situations. You see all of this traffic online about how people that live in these expensive houses are trying to exclude the citizens of Houston from walking up and down the boulevard and that's certainly not the case,” Mack Fowler said.

Whether or not the new title search means the signs are coming back is yet to be seen. While that gets worked out, the city wants to remind us that what's really important is that we all be good neighbors, no matter what part of the city we call home, or where we visit.