Samy Mahfar Bails on Controversial East Houston Rezoning Proposal

Posted on: September 8th, 2016 at 5:04 am by
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Samy Mahfar now tastes defeat at the hands of City Council.

The much-maligned landlord had sought a zoning change that would benefit his in-progress development at 255 East Houston Street. But before the scheduled City Council vote on Tuesday by the zoning and franchises subcommittee, Mahfar tendered a letter of withdrawal to City Planning Director Carl Weisbrod.

“Although City Planning approved our rezoning application, we were unable to reach an agreement with the Council Member despite best efforts on both sides,” Mahfar noted in a public comment. “We will continue to work towards creating a space on the ground floor of the new development that benefits both the neighborhood and the project.”

(Tail between legs.)

Mahfar had been pushing hard – for five years, in fact – to install a commercial overlay onto a two-and-a-half block stretch of East Houston, which would allow restaurants and/or bars in retail spaces (i.e. “C2-5 commercial overlay in an existing R8A contextual district”). As it stands, the current zoning restrictions in the area only permit community facilities in the commercial units.

The City Planning Commission had approved an application on July 13 for the commercial overlay. It didn’t matter that Community Board 3 – alleged voice of the neighborhood – twice denied the measure, first in 2011 then this past March. A month later, City Council held a public hearing, which brought out the opposition in a big way. Councilwoman Rosie Mendez also stood firm against Mahfar, noting that the proposal negated the hard fought rezoning of the area in 2008.

It worked…

This image has been archived or removed.

Rendering of 255 East Houston

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