The vacant lot on 9th street is left without an entrance after the district constructed a sidewalk says owner Mike Trans. ( Submitted photo)

Sidewalk construction on 9th Ave. blocks entrance to vacant parking lot say business owners

District of Houston says no issues were raised during public consultation time for sidewalk

A sidewalk constructed by the District of Houston has left some business owners without access to a vacant lot which was used for parking.

Proprietor of the lot, Mike Tran, also owns the building adjacent to it that houses several other businesses like Palisades Café stated they lost access to their entrance after the district did upgrades on Ninth Street as part of the street revitalization.

The building situated on the corner of Hwy. 16, also lost access to another entrance after an Esso station was built in the adjoining lot. This barricaded another entrance option to Tran’s vacant lot.

Tran explained that prior to the construction of the gas station they could still use that property’s entrance to access his lot. However, with the Esso station barricading its entrance, Tran’s lot was left locked from both sides.

Palisades Café owner Liz Watson said that although customers can avail of street parking, barricading the entrance from Hwy. 16 is a missed opportunity for the cafe as vehicles could easily have pulled in to the cafe from there.

The District of Houston said that while parking is one of the permitted uses in the vacant lot and the Downtown Development Permit Area, they did not receive any applications for parking use for this particular lot.

Tran said, “Before it was this cafe it was the Tea House and previous to that it was rented to another contractor and has always had a parking lot, the district has never asked me to apply for a permit to make this a parking lot.”

The district also said prior to the construction of the sidewalk along Hwy. 16 people were trespassing over private property to use the lot for parking .

“Some people may have used the lack of curb and gutter infrastructure and trespassed over private property to access the vacant lot beside the property that is now Palisades Café and use it for parking,” chief administrative officer Mike Dewar said.

According to the district, access via trespassing to the vacant lot was no longer possible when a development permit was submitted and approved for the development of the Esso station, which prevented motor vehicles from accessing the vacant lot via trespassing through that property.

Dewar also said that the district conducted extensive public consultation before the Ninth Avenue revitalization project and received no application for parking access to the said vacant lot.

District of Houston said it had provided options to support the property owner with gaining motor vehicle access to the vacant lot if they wish to apply for a Development Permit for a parking lot.

“We are committed to continuing to work with all property owners and businesses in the downtown commercial centre to support a vibrant local economy and community.”

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