I really don’t envy Judge Randy Wilson the task he has.
Lawyers aren’t the only ones peppering the judge in the Ashby high-rise case with last-minute paperwork. A former city councilman, a pro-developer interest group and residents who live near the planned tower have all submitted pleas in hope of influencing his decision. One arrived in an email addressing the judge in the case by his first name and closing with, “Sent from my iPad.”
In addition to formal correspondence from the lawyers who participated in the monthlong trial that resulted in a jury verdict that favored opponents, four other letters and a friend-of-the-court brief from a Houston attorney also have been entered into the official court record since state District Judge Randy Wilson heard their final arguments to a week ago.
Peter Brown, director of Better Houston, a nonprofit urban planning group, sent a letter to the court also. In the letter, Brown, who was on City Council from 2006 to 2010, also sided with the residents.
“A ruling in favor of the developers in this case would perpetuate the unplanned, hap-hazard, inefficient development patterns which negatively impact city life,” Brown wrote in part. “A ruling in favor of the developers would unnecessarily limit the authority of the City to enact reasonable rules, standards and incentives to promote important initiatives now underway.”
He recommended downsizing the tower to seven stories or 90 feet and to require a public space. He also suggested the judge mandate a basic overhaul of city development regulations to ensure more security for developers for future projects.
The Houston Real Estate Council took the side of Buckhead in its statement to the court. The group noted that an earlier friend-of-the-court brief submitted by Houstonians for Responsible Growth, a nonprofit that represents developers, which argued against a permanent injunction for a project that otherwise complied with city regulations and state law.
See here, here, and here for the background. I truly have no idea what Judge Wilson should do, or what he might do. The only thing I feel confident about is that someone will appeal his ruling, whatever it is.