The tract known as the Whitcomb property will be the topic of a public hearing scheduled Monday, May 4, the evening of the City Council’s regular meeting.
The joint public hearing between City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission will address a requested zone change that would allow a mixed use development on the property, located at 3801 FM 528.
Planning and Zoning opted in March not to recommend the zone change for the proposed development, which includes a 70,000-square-foot worship facility for Clear Creek Community Church — along with 600 apartments, and space for retail, restaurant and commercial. Commissioners cited concern that the commercial component of the development isn’t guaranteed. Residents appeared before P&Z during its discussions to argue against the apartments that would soon be a reality, although current zoning does allow for development of multifamily.
One Friendswood native who already has spoken before council on the subject is lifelong resident Brady Mora, who painted a vivid picture of the small community whose first population boom came during the Depression, when the fig orchards that stretched from Corpus Christi to Orange drew people looking for work.
When Mora was in grade school, he said, NASA came to town, “and we’ve been building ever since,” he said. “As long as I can remember, Friendswood has been under construction.”
At the March meeting, Mora reminded council members that there’s only one tract left of any sizable nature: The 135-acre Whitcomb Property.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “There are shorebirds, wading birds, wildlife, prairie grasses – there are oak trees out there you can’t reach around, so think carefully when you think about developing it.”
One option, he suggested, is to consider reserving space that would be a drawn for nature tourism. Tourism in general is Texas’ third largest economic driver, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife, and nature tourism is the fastest growing segment of that industry.
The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. Citizens may comment either in person or in written form. Documentation of the planned use is available in the City Secretary’s Office at City Hall, 910 S. Friendswood Dr. Both the public hearing and council meeting are held in Council Chambers, also located in City Hall.
City Council meetings are usually held on the first Monday of the month at City Hall beginning at 4:30 p.m.