On September 8, 2022, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission were treated to a conceptual presentation for a Planned Development, a medical office building on the old Randalls grocery store site.
At right are three options proposed by Page Architects. If you think H-E-B is oppressive, how about a 5-story building and the adjacent 5-story garage, bordering Bellaire Blvd and Bissonnet per Option 1?
What would this sort of development say about our town, how does it relate to that pedestrian friendly downtown with those small cafes and boutiques, touted in the UV-D ordinance and in the most recent Comprehensive Plan?
The medical buildings (MOB) are the white ones. The grey ones are the parking garages. There are few structures less attractive than a parking garage, but none of the proposals would serve to improve Bellaire’s image. P&Z members seemed lukewarm to the idea of medical buildings and parking garages on that site.
This table at left lists what is currently allowed or not allowed in the UV-D. Note that a height of 79 feet is allowed as a Planned Development in the UV-D if approved by City Council. Up to 90% site coverage! There would seem to be plenty of locations in this area that are better suited to this type of development.
Instead of multi-story wall-to-wall structures, why not pursue a development similar to the 2-story remodeled Town Center located on Bellaire Blvd and South Rice Avenue? With surface parking only and walkable, with outdoor spaces and beautiful landscaping.
That would require changes in the UV-D zoning, and it’s time to review this ordinance. Same for the UV-T, so that the terrific outdoor development proposed by Thompson+Hanson could be built.
No other affluent city in this area allows a 3 to 5 story building in the center of their downtown. West University limits building height to 35 feet, Southside Place allows tall buildings along the south side of Bellaire Blvd, backing up to Houston. (See map at left.)
Isn’t it time for Bellaire’s City Council to listen to the residents? Council can suggest that the Randalls site be rezoned to at least align with the CMU, then go a few steps further. Limit building height to 2-stories or 35 or 40 feet, surface parking only, no parking underneath a building. Require at least a 15 foot setback and greenspace. This location should be a showplace, a park, not a parking garage.
Please email concerns or questions to the Mayor and members of City Council via our City Clerk, Tracy Dutton, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let Council know what you think.