City leaders examine future

In News by Reporter News

Reinvestment in neighborhoods and annexation planning are now priorities in Pearland’s latest updated planning document.

One stated goal is “getting the highest return for investment on vacant land,” particularly since vacant land is in far less supply since the city adopted its first plan in 1968. It has since been updated about every 10 years, with recent updates more frequent because of the city’s fast growth. The guide is used when city leaders make decisions on development.

“Ten years back, we had over 40 percent of our land vacant,” Pearland Director of Community Development Lata Krishnarao said during an Aug. 17 public hearing on the plan. “Right now, based on the numbers in the comprehensive plan, it’s around 15 percent.”

Neighborhoods are established now, she said, and many are getting older.

“For us to be a competitive community in this region, reinvestment in our neighborhoods is important also,” she said.

There also is more focus on tourism, a broad category that includes parks and falls under quality of life issues.

A section not before added in the comprehensive plan is annexation planning.

“As we grow, how much more do we need to annex? Is it worth annexing and what are the benefits?” Krishnarao said.

The highest return on vacant land also is important.

Gary Mitchell, vice president of the city’s consulting firm on the plan, Kendig Keast Collaborative Inc., offered some insight to the council Aug. 18.

“Do a cost of growth study,” he said regarding the developable land left to the city. “You need the real numbers. You need to look at the areas that are away from the tollway and 288 and be realistic about market potential as you get far away from the high traffic areas.”

Several residents appeared before the council to state objection to annexation.

Speaking during the August public hearing was Diane Leaverton, a resident Buckholt Street southeast of the city and set to be annexed in the plan.

“It seems to me like the Comprehensive Plan is being used more like an agenda as opposed to just a guideline,” she said. “I don’t see enough value in our being annexed for the taxes we are going to be paying.”

“I feel like the county does a good job for us,” she added. “Our street just got paved. They mow our drainage ditches on a regular basis and it’s kept neat and tidy. I always see constables driving by.”

“I feel like were are going to pay far more taxes than we are going to get services if you annex us,” she said.

The Comprehensive Plan has been discussed and amended based on both City Council, Planning and Zoning Commissioners and citizen input in recent months.

“It’s a well developed plan,” Mayor Tom Reid said, “and I like what I see in it.”

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