When he bought his Heights townhouse four years ago, Bennie See knew the nearby land would be developed. He just didn't expect hundreds of apartment units.
"It's a like a little park there now," See said. "I'd rather see houses in there than big apartment complex."
But pricy complexes are under construction throughout the city core. The Heights is no exception. Residents just learned that Trammel Crow Residential will build a four-story complex on 5th and Yale. They're already building a similar complex just a block away, adding more than 600 units total in a two block area.
"If there are no plans to improve traffic, people are not going to get in and out of here," said homeowner John Miranda. "I just don't see how it's going to happen."
Houston city council member Ellen Cohen has heard plenty from her constituents.
But she admits, "In a state with strong property rights and in a city with no zoning regulations, there are few ways in which a Council Member can affect development. My goal is to ensure that the quality of life of my constituents remains high..."
Heights resident Richard Spinks called it "disappointing."
"The quality of life in the Heights is suffering," he said.
We tried contacting Trammel Crow several times Friday and by late afternoon had received no response.
See says his neighbors tried to fight the developers once. They don't know if they can do it again.
He said, "You can go to city hall and fight them, but you're not going to win, because money always talks."
The first project began about a year ago and construction is under way. The newest proposal came to light a few days ago, and residents simply don't know if they can do anything to stop it.