NewPort Lake Estates lumbers forward

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Manvel city council approved a preliminary plat for the NewPort Lake Estates development to be located at the south east corner of CR 48 and CR 58 in the far north-west portion of the city. The plat covers 64.14 acres and is comprised of 175 residential lots and 16 reserves. Manvel’s Planning, Development, & Zoning Commission (PD&Z) unanimously recommended the endorsement. The approval follows a change to the zoning classification for the property which was authorized by council last March. The project’s developer, Joe Watson, explained he will be back in front of council at its next meeting to request clearance to actually begin site work, and shortly thereafter, construction. The plat excludes approximately 9.5 acres from the original site along the eastern boundary of the project, likely due to conflict with the city’s Thoroughfare Plan that calls for the location of Kirby Drive to run through that portion. Watson has made several attempts to persuade council to rethink Kirby’s location, making the argument that it will be underutilized and superfluous as it runs essentially parallel to CR 48, which currently is undergoing construction that will result in a four-lane boulevard from Broadway on the north to SH 6 on the south, and actually terminates at CR 48 just north of SH 6. Original plans called for Kirby to run farther to the east as it comes out of the Pomona development and Watson favors that original path.

Watson describes the development as a “fairly high-end lake front community.” It is designed with natural waterfronts that will encourage neighbors to build bonds with each other and to interact and enjoy the lakes, trails, athletic facilities, and many neighborhood parks. The development is within easy walking distance to AISD schools: Don Jeter Elementary and Manvel Junior High School at Rodeo Palms. As previously described to council late last year, forty-four percent of the lots will offer premium lakefront views at over 10,000 square feet with sizes of 70 x 150. The balance of the off-water lots will be 60 x 110. Home sizes are expected between the low 2000 to high 3000 square foot range with prices projected at the low end of $275,000 to $300,000 and an expected average from $350,000 to $450,000. Gehan Homes and Chesmar Homes have been selected as the home builders for the project.

The primary entrance will be from CR 58 and the design calls for scenic views of lake and park areas as residents and guests come and go from the development. The lakes to be excavated for the project will differ than the customary water detention areas seen in most developments in that the edge of the waterline will front directly the back yard property lines of the lake lots. There are three lakes spanning 10 acres. Envisioned by the developer are boat docks and piers so that property owners can access their own water crafts and float around to visit friends and neighbors or the community amenities. The lakes will be stocked with edible fish, though there will be a catch and release program.

There are several parks planned throughout the development and a main Community Center will be available for public gatherings and a play area for kids and will include a small marina for visitors to launch and/or tie up their various water crafts. Also planned is an area designed more for middle school and high school aged children and adults. It will be set up with nearly one mile of trails with individual exercise stations, a regulation sand lot volley ball court, and a badminton/croquet court.

Smaller “pocket parks” will be spread around the development providing different themes. One will contain a regulation junior soccer field with bleachers. Others include a hummingbird theme, one appealing to various bird species, and a butterfly park will be located near the west entrance on CR 48, which is expected to be used for easy access to the nearby elementary and junior high schools. The planned parks do not meet the city’s current park ordinance, but as the preliminary plat for the project was approved previously under different rules the development plan enjoys grandfather status.

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