This Week at City Hall

Apr. 12, 2013Office of Council Member Ellen Cohen

Packed House for Public Hearing on Development

Chapter 42 in the City’s Code of Ordinances governs development in Houston. To spur growth in under-developed areas outside Loop 610, amendments to this ordinance have been proposed that will create a uniform set of guidelines for the entire city. Council hosted a public hearing on the proposal, taking in comments from dozens of stakeholders. This issue will come before Council on Wednesday, April 17th.

Safe Pass Ordinance Considered

At a special-called session of the Public Safety Committee, Council Member Cohen and her colleagues deliberated a proposal for a Safe Passing Ordinance, which is designed to protect vulnerable road users such as bicyclists, pedestrians, and stranded motorists, from passing vehicles. All other major Texas cities enforce similar ordinances, which set a minimum distance requirement for trailing or passing vulnerable road users. Council is currently soliciting citizen feedback on this matter, so please share your thoughts!

On the Agenda

One of the most frequent constituent calls the District C office receives is regarding exorbitant water bills. Previously, the Public Works Department only provided options for bill adjustment in cases when your water line has a leak due to weather, corrosion, wear, or other accidental causes, or if the cause of the large bill is unknown. Council authorized an expansion of the Leak Adjustments process that will provide relief for citizens who are not at fault for the excess under certain exceptional circumstances. Additionally, a three-member appeals board was created to hear constituents’ challenges in some situations.

What’s Happening in the Annex

District C is home to a portion of Houston’s nationally-acclaimed Museum District, which is a key area for promoting tourism in our beautiful and culturally-rich city. Council Member Cohen met with leadership from the Houston Museum District Association (HMDA) to discuss an expansion of Museum District Day into a four-day program, the Museum Experience. Now that the wildly-popular annual event has grown to include 19 museums and over 28,000 visitors, HMDA leadership has determined that, to improve guest experiences, they will spread the program out over four days throughout the year, each highlighting its own walkable zone of clustered museums. Festivities will include live shows and demonstrations, craft markets, a block-party atmosphere, and free pedicab service! The next day to catch the fun will be Saturday, April 27th, at 8 museums, all located within “Zone 2.”