The City of Bellaire will demolish its city-owned house at 5119 Jessamine using whole house recycling, an effort that is said to be better for the environment but comes with a price tag of $21,000.
The city acquired the property in August with no future plans for the property. The property is located next to the city library and was formerly owned by Mary Ellen Glass. The property contains a house that was built in 1950 and remodeled in 1975 and is considered to be in poor condition. The Harris County Appraisal District valued the house at $12,620 and the land at $244,059.
The council decided to demolish the house in November, but the demolition was delayed because city staff was directed to look into whole or partial house recycling.
The Bellaire City Council has approved a complete 50/50 deconstruction/demolition with Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Harris County. Habitat will be responsible for the complete removal of the structure and foundation, which will be accomplished partially by hand and partially by machine. The estimated cost of the deconstruction and demolition is $21,000 and may take up to 14 days.
Both the Building and Standards Commission and the Environmental and Sustainability Board supported whole house recycling. Numerous Bellaire residents also spoke during Monday night’s council meeting in support of recycling the Jessamine house.
Council was divided in its support of the effort. Councilman Roman Reed, Councilman Jim Avioli, Councilman Pat McLaughlan and Councilman Andrew Friedberg supported spending $21,000 to recycle the house. Mayor Phil Nauert and Mayor Pro Tem Mandy Nathan opposed the motion and Councilman Corbett Parker abstained.
Avioli made the motion to spend $21,000 to recycle and deconstruct the house at 5119 Jessamine, saying that it’s a good way to preserve the environment, while at the same time helping others, and it would be a good test for the Building and Standard Commission’s whole house recycling ordinance.
“It’s worth the $8,000 [more] to do this,” he said.
Friedberg said recycling the house was a “no-brainer” and it would be a good way for the city to be a leader in whole house recycling.
Nathan apologized for not being able to support the recommendation.
“I think we need to be done with this house,” she said. “I don’t want any more problems; I don’t want to waste any more of staff’s time on this house.”
Nauert said that he is currently recycling a house out in the country and is very supportive of it, but he supports a private effort of it.
“Demolishing is recycling,” he said. “Recycling is demolishing.”
Reed said that spending additional money to recycle the house is “well worth it.”