HOUSTON, TX - George Lucas made headlines this week for some neighborly revenge. He wanted to expand his production studio on land he owned, but his neighbors got together and said no. So he decided to build low-income housing on the property instead, providing needy folks with a place to live, and thumbing his nose at his well-to-do neighbors.
Homeowners don`t jump at the chance to live side by side with low-income housing. Perhaps it’s a stereotype of thinking all low-income housing is like section 8 projects from “the wire.”
Residents are concerned near the Pinemont Park and Ride that closed down last year due to lack of use. Metro has to sell it to someone, and the Houston Housing Authority wants it to provide low-income housing.
Lance Gilliam, Chairman with the H.H.A. says, “The stereotype in some people’s mind is unfair… if you’ll look at any of the three last complexes we built… it’s got a workout room its got a library a computer lab, it looks like any normal class apartment any of our peers in the private sector would build.”
But neighbors say, it really comes down to anymore people, not what kind of people.
Kirk Waldron, Vice President of the Forest West Community Improvement Association says, “We`ve got way too much traffic and congestion already… So whatever it would be we`d be opposed to that if it involved a lot of people.”
Waldron says that even if a private developer wanted to put in a multi-million dollar condominium, “We would be just as opposed to that, as we are to this.”
But even if Metro wanted to put the property up for sale, the H.H.A. was asked if they would exercise eminent domain to guaranty they get what they want.
Gilliam told us, “We’re very reluctant to use it and we do use it. But it really is a last resort. We are hoping we can reach an agreement with our good friends at metro that with their input and the input from the community we can come up with a development that everyone is comfortable with.”
The METRO board of directors meets April 23rd, where we`ll see if the property goes to open bidding or not. Until then, it’s a housing headache.