Decision expected soon in Ashby high-rise case

HOUSTON - A state district judge says he will rule soon in a case filed by homeowners to stop a controversial high-rise from going up near Rice Village.

Judge Randy Wilson listened to arguments from attorneys for the proposed Ashby High rise and homeowners who are against the project. 

"It just boils down to it's the wrong project for the wrong spot," said Kathy Kahanek, who lives near the site of the 21-story residential tower that developers want to build at the intersection of Ashby and Bissonett.

However, attorneys for Buckhead Development Partners argued the company has waited long enough to move forward with a "lawful use of the property."

"I don't know how they could build it. With machinery and everything it would cause a nightmare," said Kahanek.

The attorneys told the judge the proposed project is "not a looming monster." 

"I think it's a great project. I think it's going to be an asset to the neighborhood that will allow high density living," said attorney Fred Cook, who represents the developers.

Dozens of residents packed the courtroom to hear the arguments from both sides in the battle.     

For seven years residents have been battling to stop construction of the Ashby high-rise development.

A group of more than 20 residents in the neighborhood is suing to stop development on the tower, hoping to convince the judge the project would create too much noise, traffic and lower property values.

The same residents in December won a court victory when a jury decided the project would create a nuisance, and some residents were awarded money. However, it was not the big victory they were looking for. It was about putting brakes on the project.

The city of Houston attorney has weighed in on this case. He sent a letter to the judge saying the Ashby high-rise should go forward because stopping it would impact future development.

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