Battle brewing over proposed high-rise in Tanglewood

By Brandon Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - In Tanglewood, a bucolic hamlet just a stone's throw from the Galleria's bustle, a battle is brewing: one between the Tanglewood Homes Association and WMJK -- an entity of the Tanglewood Corporation -- the group that developed the neighborhood.

A lawsuit filed last week spells out the spat.

What the lawsuit says

Tanglewood Homes Association, or the HOA, has filed suit against WMJK over potential plans to do what neighbors said the Tanglewood community does not want: a 20-floor residential high-rise in place of the Tanglewood Corporation's house-like office space at the subdivision's entrance.

The space in question is at the intersection of San Felipe Street and Tanglewood Boulevard.

"Gotta find another place," said John Bebout, a Tanglewood resident for over 30 years. "I'm all for capitalism and proper growth but if it's improper or against deed restrictions, which this appears to be, it should not happen."

That's what the lawsuit alleged, claiming plans to build a 20-floor residential high-rise for senior citizens, in place of the Tanglewood Corporation's headquarters, is illegal -- according to Tanglewood's restrictive covenants.

"The proposed tower is a breach of trust to all Tanglewood residents and conflicts with the uniform plan for Tanglewood's development, which has been in place for 70 years," the lawsuit says.

Tanglewood history

William Farrington developed Tanglewood in the late 1940s.

Its tree-lined streets, coupled with restrictions on what can be built in the neighborhood, proved a draw for residents of the exclusive neighborhood.

For instance, community policy states that dwellings may only be used for single-family homes.

The policy also prohibits "business or commercial use of any Tanglewood property," the lawsuit says.

While a lawsuit has been filed, the proposed high-rise is not a done deal. A sale has not been finalized, confirmed Rick Butler, general counsel for the homeowners association.

The lawsuit calls for a judge to decide whether Tanglewood's deed restrictions properly spell out what neighbors say does not belong.

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