Houston City Hall

The Houston City Council will seek more information concerning two additional phases of a housing development in the middle of the community before approving it. The decision came during a meeting Monday.

Developer Scott Lauderdale is seeking authorization for the second and third phases of the development at Hawthorn Avenue and King Street, where two duplexes are complete and construction continues on a third. Two neighbors, Darrell Vandivort and Betty Emery, expressed concerns about the project; other nearby property owners also attended but didn’t address the council.

The City of Houston sold the 4.25-acre tract to Lauderdale and in July 2019 approved the first phase of the project.

Property owners in the area told the council they have issues with safety, parking on streets in front of the development, potential water drainage issues and a lack of details related to additional work there. The addition of a third duplex has caused visibility issues for motorists attempting to turn from King Street onto Hawthorn Avenue, property owner Darrell Vandivort said.

“I don’t think there’s a person here that would want that mess — that is what I’ll call it — in their neighborhood,” Vandivort said.

Council members took no action, but signaled they will need additional information to ensure it complies with the city’s requirements.

In other matters, members:

•Voted 4-2 (Sam Kelley and Michael Weakly no) to extend a cost of living adjustment to city attorney Brad Eidson, which the majority said was their expectation when the city’s workforce — with the exception of the city administrator — was given the same for 2023. Kelley, who has sought to fire Eidson on two different occasions, said he would approve it if documentation showed the city’s attorney worked at least 30 hours weekly on city business and said he was voting “no” on behalf of the city’s taxpayers. He suggested bids be taken for the position (that vote was 2-4.  Yes Kelley and Weakly; others not to do it). Kelley said he believes the city’s attorney is overpaid. Eidson has been a salaried employee since July 2003. He oversees most of the city’s legal portfolio, prosecutes cases in municipal court, reviews all law enforcement reports and attends each council meeting. He is paid $30,000 annually. Mayor Willie Walker promised a veto following the council pay vote.

•Approved six sets of protective bunker gear for the Houston Fire Department totaling $18,619, which was below budget. It is part of an annual purchase that phases out old equipment.

•Okayed membership to the board of the Texas County Memorial Hospital Community Improvement District.

•Ratified the mayor’s selection of Preston Wade to the Houston Parks and Recreation Park, as it had recommended.

•Approved paperwork to proceed with the purchase of a greens mower for Houston Municipal Golf Course.

•Will formalize an agreement with Ken Lawson of Mockingbird Lane that allows him to manicure and access the city’s property near him, but also includes a liability clause should damage occur to city utilities.

•Heard from City Administrator Mark Campbell that fencing installation may begin as early as next week around a pickleball and volleyball court at Westside Park. Campbell also reported on meeting with a regional state economic developer that resulted in the exchange of information about the community. A preliminary meeting to reach a union agreement with the city’s electrical department was slated for Thursday (today), he also reported. He’ll be traveling to Jefferson City to conduct business on behalf of the city this week.

•Will seek additional information before approving an animal swap meet on its property at Highway F and U.S. 63 and heard a request from Alderman Don Romines to seek public input for the development of a new city park on donated land at West Highway 17 and Lilly Avenue.

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