Homeowner's association fight
A dead party? Lawsuit filed to block funeral home bar complex on Kirby Drive
The controversy over the proposed multi-club bar complex being built at the old Settegast-Kopf funeral home at 3320 Kirby Dr. is back from the grave.
CultureMap has learned that the David Crockett Addition homeowner's association has filed suit with the City of Houston to enforce a deed restriction that prohibits the sale of alcohol on the property, much to the chagrin of developer Blake Tartt III.
We have obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which has a file date of April 4 and names Tartt, Andy Aweida and Tartt's New Regional Planning among the defendants. (CultureMap also confirmed the existence of the deed restriction with a search of county records.)
Although the deed restriction is old (circa 1958, with racial stipulations intact), the fight is gearing up for Jeff Barati and Aweida, the hopeful owners of a collection of bars and restaurants currently under construction on the site. The two men have applied for permits to convert the out-of-use funeral home and the bank building next door — permits which have not yet been approved.
The suit can come as no surprise to the City of Houston, which has been long-aware of the deed restriction and the subdivision's intent to enforce it.
CultureMap obtained an e-mail some time ago sent from resident members of the David Crockett Addition subdivision's architectural control committee to the city's director of planning and development, Marlene Gafrick, and city attorney David Feldman asking for support in applying the restriction.
Residents, including one lot owner in the subdivision who spoke to CultureMap, even met with Gafrick and Feldman to request that the city deny Tartt's request for permitting to replat that block of Kirby (which would combine the Settegast Kopf and bank lot).
Tartt did not return numerous phone calls requesting comment.
One resident who talked to CultureMap questions whether Tartt, a long-time real estate professional and a member of the City Planning Commission, mislead the City when he indicated that he had no knowledge of the deed restrictions. Tartt filed for a new plat in 2008, and part of that process is supplying an affidavit declaring that he had no knowledge of any existing restrictions. That Tartt was, in fact, aware of the restrictions is "an inescapable conclusion," in the words of the resident, who says he saw the application when he met with Tartt, Gafrick and Feldman.
An excerpt of the e-mail reads:
"Clearly, the representations which have been made about restrictions on the various permit applications submitted on behalf of the Tartt-Thor group have been false. Clearly, it is your prerogative to void and or deny the permits. I request that you cancel any and all building permits which threaten to violate the alcohol restriction on the 3200-3300 block of Kirby, and that you decline to consider any new applications in our subdivision until plans have been approved by the David Crockett Addition Architectural control committee."
CultureMap was the first to report about the funeral home bar complex on Feb 24 and the first to write about the existence of the possible deed restriction on March 1. We'll keep you updated on all the latest.
Looks like this controversy isn't dead yet.