Sandspoint West HOA

Latest round of correspondences on Rookin closure

When finished reading please sign our online petition:

Copy this link and paste on your web address to read & sign our online petition against Rookin Closure:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Stop_Rookin_Street_Closure/

(Scroll down first to read reply from COH Deputy Director)

SPW Homeowners Association wrote:

Dear Deputy Director Andrew Icken:

Thank you for taking your time to reply to our concerns regarding Rookin Street closure. With all due respect, please allow us to point out several facts and clarify several points made on your email reply.

As mentioned on your email: "The City has a long-established street abandonment policy which requires the agreement of all abutting property owners before a public street is abandoned. One of the reasons for this policy is to ensure that all persons with property adjoining the street consent to the street becoming privately rather than publicly maintained".

Our reply: The two (2) so-called abutting property owners happened to be the City of Houston multi-service center on one side and NCI community center on the other. If this section of Rookin Street is to become private, then we could assume that it would not belong to the City multi-service center where it would be publicly maintained. Perhaps this street section would be "donated" to the interest of NCI where it would be privately maintained. Sounds like a political payback.

Your email mentioned that: "All of the normal procedures to allow for a street abandonment were followed".

Our reply: Attached link please review the City's policy on Street Traffic Project:

http://www.publicworks.cityofhouston.gov/traffic/docs/snap_ntp_info.pdf

We don't think Rookin Street closure is any different from one of such projects if requested by an interest party to be considered by the City and Council action. As you can see, there were many missteps with Rookin Street abandonment as compared to a normal traffic project with the following events that took place:

One Board of Directors from one condominium (Sandspoint West) was contacted by NCI to seek support for Rookin Street closure. We strongly opposed the plan and contacted other Board of Directors from the surrounding complexes. They were surprised to hear such request as they were not contacted. We further requested NCI and Councilman M.J. Khan for a Townhall meeting. The meeting was given on July 19, 2006 with Councilman Khan answering our questions and hearing our protests. He was surprised to hear about the trucking companies and then asked a representative from the Building Services Department to make a street study. After the meeting he promised to keep us informed of future public meetings and Council vote. NCI personnel then obtained our contact names, phone numbers and email addresses.

We did not hear anything further for the next 5 months when finally one of us found out by chance just 3 days before Council Vote that it was going to take place at City Hall on December 19, 2006.

Furthermore, citizens of Houston often see on the street certain City's postings to announce "variance requests", "abandonment of City's structures", "public meetings", etc. that were posted several months in advance of such events. In the case of Rookin Street closure, there were absolutely no postings of any kind. Even 5 months after the City Council had voted to abandon Rookin, there is still no posting to announce the abandonment of a publicly owned structure. Certainly all of the normal procedures to allow for a street abandonment were not followed.

On other discussion, as you are aware, both Rookin Street and Tarnef Street is being used by all residents in the area, specifically the residents from 7 different condominiums, townhouses and apartments complexes and businesses in the area to include two (2) trucking companies that use these two Streets to access to Bellaire if they want to go West on Bellaire. Hillcroft is the only other available Street but it makes no sense to go East in order to head South and then West on Bellaire.

Residents in the area also use Rookin Street to gain access to U.S. Post Office on Rookin & Horwood. They could also head East on Bellaire (without going to the busy Hillcroft) since it is protected by a traffic light at Rookin & Bellaire. Tarnef & Bellaire on the other hand, does not have a traffic light. A traffic jam no doubt would be created here if all traffic were diverted to Tarnef after Rookin is closed.

Without Rookin Street, all residents and 18-wheelers from the two trucking companies would have to use the only available Tarnef Street if they want to head West on Bellaire or access to the U.S. Post Office . Again, it does not make sense to head to the wrong direction East (pass the to-be-closed Rookin) to the busy Hillcroft and then South and back to West on Bellaire.

We have pointed out that Tarnef is already burdened with heavy usage from 2 trucking companies with 18-wheelers, 5 condominium/apartment/ townhouse complexes, a Harris County Hospital District building, a Harris County People's Clinic, a moslem Mosque, a Church and Sharpstown Hospital. Each typical morning, vehicles belong to clinics goers and residents could be seen parking along almost the entire length of Tarnef Street. Students & clinics goers also walk across Tarnef to their destinations.

As you can see, street flooding is not the only problem the residents, businesses and pedestrians would have to negotiate once Rookin is closed. It does not necessarily have to be a "structural flooding" as mentioned on your email to put an impact and a burden on the public. We have consistently reported street flooding at Sands Point & Tarnef and Tarnef & Hornwood for at least the past ten (10) years.

Also mentioned on your email that the "City must research the request to determine the impact of the requested abandonment on the public and the surrounding area" and that this research "includes a street study and all comments from the public".

Our reply: To the best of our knowledge, the only street study made public is from NCI when they first seek for residential support, it is the same entity that requested Rookin abandonment (see enclosed file named rookin_street_closure_external_position_paper). This study is very likely to be biased. It is also a flawed study since it did not take into consideration of any established businesses & public services facilities on the entire length of Tarnef Street, it missed several residential complexes and businesses on the surrounding area to include the 2 trucking companies.

Furthermore, due to our protest at a Townhall meeting, a one-day possible street study was probably hastily performed by the City since we observed a cable going across Rookin for one single day. This street study if taken place, is likely to be flawed since it only represented one single day. There was no street study observed on Tarnef Street or any other surrounding streets.

Also per your email message: " After carefully considering the comments from the community, we relied heavily on the technical analysis of the impact this street closure and abandonment will have on traffic flow in the area. The traffic study indicates that by implementing various mitigation measures, the closure of Rookin Street will not significantly impact traffic in the area".

Our reply: Please be advised that all comments from the community would be coming from us, the Board of Directors and representatives of all 7 condomium/townhome/apartment complexes - We have close contact and stand together to strongly oppose Rookin Street closure since the beginning. There was no other residential or community voices that are in favor of Rookin Street closure. We should mention that, after receiving overwhelming protest from the community at a townhall meeting (that was requested by us), NCI stopped all contact with us and proceeded to erect their own support (using outside residents, possibly from Gulfton and their own paid employees) to mimic residential support. This is clearly a case of "Fraud".

In other words, true public & local residential comments were ignored or suppressed. Traffic study was either flawed, biased or not representative. Normal City procedures were not followed.

Finally, with all due respect:
Please provide the City's street study that was performed by City personnel or their legible contractors to support your statement.
Please provide petition signatures or evidence of support from local residents in support of Rookin Street closure that was submitted to the City.
Please provide the City's established written standard operating procedures for the abandonment of a public street to support your statement.
Please provide a clear reason for the abandonment of Rookin Street from the City's point of view.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors
Sands Point West Homeowners Association

cc: Mayor Bill White
City Councils
COH Joint Referral Committee
COH Department Directors

Reply from COH Deputy Director Andrew Icken

To: SWP Homeowners Association
jyn0999@yahoo.com

Dear SWP Homeowners Association:

Your email message to Mayor Bill White and City of Houston Council Members concerning the subject request for street abandonment of Rookin Street was referred to my office for response. In your message, you expressed your opposition to the requested subject street abandonment. You also indicated your desire for the City of Houston (City) to reconsider the closure of Rookin Street because the residents use it as an alternate route when flooding occurs at Sandspoint Drive at Tarnef Street and Hornwood Street.

The City has a long-established street abandonment policy which requires the agreement of all abutting property owners before a public street is abandoned. One of the reasons for this policy is to ensure that all persons with property adjoining the street consent to the street becoming privately rather than publicly maintained. Moreover, before a street can be abandoned, the City must research the request to determine the impact of the requested abandonment on the public and the surrounding area. This research includes a traffic study as well as reviewing all comments before making a final determination.

In this particular situation, all of the normal procedures to allow for a street abandonment were followed. Specifically, the consent of the abutting property owners was received, performance of a traffic study, and comments considered from the public.

After carefully considering the comments from the community, we relied heavily on the technical analysis of the impact this street closure and abandonment will have on traffic flow in the area. The traffic study indicates that by implementing various mitigation measures, the closure of Rookin Street will not significantly impact traffic in the area.

A storm water maintenance assessment performed of the areas noted in your recent communication specifies that the area is clear of collapse and/or cave-ins and that no structural flooding has been reported in this area within the past two years. The lines have been scheduled for cleaning when equipment and manpower are available. In addition, this area has been referred to the Storm Sewer Engineering Section of this department for review of the overall storm sewer capacity in the area.

If you have any additional questions regarding the subject, please contact Nancy Collins, Assistant Director of Real Estate at (713) 837-0881.

Sincerely,
Andrew F. Icken
Deputy Director
Planning and Development Services Division
Public Works and Engineering Department


cc: Mayor Bill White (SR # 117528)
Council Member Ada Edwards
Council Member Anne Clutterbuck
Council Member Addie Wiseman
Council Member Ronald Green
Council Member Michael Berry
Council Member Peter Brown
Council Member Toni Lawrence
Council Member Sue Lovell
Council Member Jarvis Johnson
Council Member M.J. Khan
Council Member Pam Holm
Council Member Adrian Garcia
Council Member Carol Alvarado
Nancy Collins
Raymond Chong, P.E.
Daniel W. Krueger, P.E.
Eric Dargan
Posted by james106 on 11/09/2007
Sponsored Links
Advertise Here!

Promote Your Business or Product for $10/mo

istockphoto_12477899-big-head.jpg

For just $10/mo you can promote your business or product directly to nearby residents. Buy 12 months and save 50%!

Buynow

Zip Code Profiler

77074 Zip Code Details

Neighborhoods, Home Values, Schools, City & State Data, Sex Offender Lists, more.