Kingston and BACD go down in flames at Board of Adjustment hearing

If you have an hour to kill, listen to the BOA hearing on 5902 Goliad - click here!

The City's Board of Adjustment voted 3-2 late Thursday afternoon to deny the Belmont Addition's demand to overturn the building permit for the home under construction at 5902 Goliad Avenue. {Click here to see the Board's agenda, and jump to page 82}

After a presentation by Melissa Kingston / BACD, who said City Staff had to be contortionists to approve a structure similar to one they denied a year ago, and challenging definitions of what is a story and what isn't, the City Attorney made it very clear - Building Inspections followed every rule and then followed them again to make sure the structure met not just City Code but the Belmont Addition CD's rules.

One sticking point just made no sense to a minority of the board - BACD insists the home is taller than the 30 feet permitted by the CD and the City Code, but in fact it's inches shorter per a survey and Building Inspection. These board members could not understand a house can have two grades to measure: the first is the garage up to the top of the deck, and the second is the foundation/grade to the top of house, and they must be measured vertically, not sideways.

City Attorney's worked overtime to make sure board members stayed in the discussion box - code, rules, standards - and did not stray outside to discuss emotions, neighbor objections, or lack of sympathy. BOA chair Bruce Richardson demanded to know why the staff member who denied similar plans was not there, only to be told that Building Inspections gets to pick who they want representing them in hearings (and in this case, it was the department's Number Two). When he insisted on forcing the other staff member to appear, the City Attorney called for an Executive Session - 15 minutes turned to 35. Upon return, Bruce made a motion to force the appearance of the original staff person, and it failed 3-2.

The motion on the appeal came up next. Two board members, who are also developers, made their point very clear (not a direct quote)

When we build, we negotiate with Building Inspections. Yes, we talk to the neighbors but in the end the Staff decides to give us, or not, the permit. We may not like what they tell us, but someone has to be the final arbiter in these issues. It does not bother me that this couple would not sit down and negotiate with the BACD since they have no enforcement powers.

The motion to deny the appeal with prejudice was approved 3-2. That means the BACD cannot file another appeal with the City against this permit ever again.

The next step is up to Melissa and the BACD. They can sit back, shut up and stop trying to impose their poorly written standards on people who have lived, are living or will live the district (quoting from her own legal documents), or file a lawsuit against the City in state court within ten days. The over/under at City Hall, according to BD's sources, is that she will file a suit and include a request for a Temporary Restraining Order to force the City to revoke the building permit or at least stop construction. If that happens, the couple building the home, will have numerous legal options at their disposal, including but not limited to suing each member of the so-called enforcement committee and even every resident in the BACD since Melissa claims to be the legal counsel for the entire neighborhood.

Many of us are going around, asking

Who the f*ck died and made her our lawyer??? Show me the paperwork!

There are two other factors for BACD to consider before filing a suit. Philip Kingston is running for City Council, and his fingerprints are all over the nasty and harassing emails sent to City Staff and the couple building the home, demanding they follow the demands of the BACD or else. Filing a lawsuit against the decision is going to flush his claims of being a neighbor-friendly candidate down the toilet. Holding on tight to Angela Hunt's skirt is not helping him in his quest either.

5902 Goliad Email BACD - Brittany Bailey tells Melissa Kingston to take a hike

Then there's Melissa's pending lawsuit against BD for allegedly stealing her domain name, insulting her reputation and costing her money at the law firm. The deadline for filing a lawsuit on the 5902 Goliad issue is the same day as the hearing on BD's anti-SLAPP motion. If she can't show prima facie evidence for every claim made against BD, the case will be dismissed and sanctions in a sum designed to deter another lawsuit can be filed.

Again, another smack up the side of Philip's claims to be happy helpful neighborhood leader .

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville