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woody_hawkeye

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Posts posted by woody_hawkeye

  1. The response below is an attempt to bring another discussion into this thread and let the other post live its own life. :rolleyes:

    Pineda and I were discussing the growth of the Klein area and plans for the Grand Parkway. His statement is quoted below to get this into step.

    Woody-

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say with this part. The Klein area already has good access to 249 & 2920. I really don't believe that the ~$200 million Segment F-2 is not being built to help out anyone in the Klein area.

    If you do find out where the funding is coming from for Segment F-2, please post that information here. Thanks! :)

    I was referring to segment F-2 specifically. I seem to be jumping the gun here. I did not realize the segment was not yet funded. I thought it was part of the legislative funding for highways in the last session. I was remembering something else I suppose. Anyway, I travel down Boudreaux every day and have to disagree with you about easy access from Kuykendahl if that is what you meant. A 7 minute drive to 249 from Kuykendahl will be much appreciated when/if it becomes available. I know there is resistence by some local people to building this parkway. That happens in every proposal like this, but am sure there are some legitimate gripes out there. I hope the right alternative gets selected that accomodates the most stakeholders. In the end, the primary stakeholders are the regional commuters. I feel for landowners in such situations but it has to happen.

    -----------------

    Hmmm, I cannot access the PDF file above anymore. It had a very recent date, so I thought I had found something new. Premature release of information? ... dunno... lost it.

  2. Woody-

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say with this part. The Klein area already has good access to 249 & 2920. I really don't believe that the ~$200 million Segment F-2 is not being built to help out anyone in the Klein area.

    If you do find out where the funding is coming from for Segment F-2, please post that information here. Thanks! :)

    I posted a response in the regional transportation thread so that we can get back on topic. Sorry folks.

  3. We probably should have a general mobility post for this, but this post is the most recent one serving this topic, so I will use it. I found this article interesting describing the need for a more regional mobility projects by the year 2035. I describes an interesting vision by the Houston-Galveston Council Transportation Department. With an additional 3 million people expected to live in our area by 2035, our transportation system requires considerable expansion. "The 2035 RTP began in 2005 with a public outreach effort, called Envision Houston Region (EHR), a broad based public outreach initiative involving hundreds of residents, elected officials developers and others who participated in a series of visioning workshops." This will be an interesting subject for this group to discuss.

    PDF File

  4. What "new freeway system" is this?

    The Grand parkway. I call it a freeway just because some day it will certainly be one. I do not know what the exact plans are yet, yet the route has been defined now and last I checked, work begins next year in our area. I do not think any additional change in plans will be coming for our area. I will post some new info on the regional transportation post to not get off subject here. The Klein area will have good access to 249 which as you know will be an excellent artery to Tomball (it is a bit congested now) and to the Northwest Houston area. The Grand Parkway would be useful to have today!

  5. On considering places to live in the area, one might take a look at buying a home in the Klein Oak High School feeder school system area, part of the Klein school district. The area is booming, has good access to the new freeway system to be completed by 2015, the school systems are good there, the people are generally terrific there, and I can cite more reasons to live there. It is in Harris County so the tax structure is different. There are a wide variety of homes in the area and related costs, from the $100's to the millions. The residents in that area is a mixture of country people living there for decades and new famlies moving into the new neighborhoods. Some of the subdivisions are wooded and others are bare. The area still has a number of horse farms and ranch estates.

  6. Of course everyone knows the outcome of the election, but what has occurred afterward may not be so apparent. The landslide outcome came about as expected. Residents are happy to get on with their lives. Many residents have been watching as now-named "The Woodlands Township" otherwise known as "The Township" and previously known as TCID takes action. The community takes on the almost handshake agreement between the three associations and the Town Center Improvement District over the next few weeks to make the agreement an executable legal document between the associations and The Township. In the meantime, actions to merge the economic development zones into one economic development zone have commenced, and the additional 1% sales tax process for the entire Woodlands area has been started. There is brisk activity on aligning political alliances, with several residents preparing to announce their candidacy. We are on track and expect to grow up over the next few years. This is sort of a larvae stage in our government creation.

    Chronicle article documenting the first meeting of The Township board.

  7. the question about flooding & sewer or septic was about shenandoah. i'm sure they have a sewer system but i'm not sure about flooding on the streets that back up to a large drainage ditch.

    I guess it was the color. I just missed that line. Thanks.

    Native - it is true that the number of calls is higher. Here is what I see for crimes:

    WZ2 is higher in 911 calls. (probably some crimes in these)

    WZ1 is higher in car thefts. (criminal offense for sure)

    WZ1 is considerably higher in information calls (no crime is usually involved).

    There are more suspicious person calls in WZ1 (no crime - another information type call)

    WZ4 had more suicide calls (barely)

    WZ5 beat everyone out on suspicious vehicles (another information call)

    WZ1 called the police on other matters a lot more. No idea what was involved, each is usually unique. There may have been some crimes, maybe not, maybe mixed.

    WZ3 beat out the others on felony arrests (a crime)

    WZ3 much higher in traffic citations (I call this a crime also). I do not believe the red light cameras have anything to do with this.

    WZ2 beat out the others on traffic warnings. New stickers?

    Minors in possession - tie between WZ1 and WZ2. From what I have seen, they are not patrolling WZ3 for this because I see it in several public places in WZ3. Maybe it has to do with information calls. I have never called in about what I have seen.

    WZ4 has it for juvenile arrests.

    Basically, the number of calls is meaningless in determining who has the highest crime rate. If I was going on stolen cars, I would certainly say that in August WZ1 has a higher crime rate, but I do not want to make one offense worse than another. From what I see and have heard from the sheriff deputies that I have talked to, the villages are not very different from each other. Looking at the calls is a trap for reaching conclusions, because false alarms among other meaningless "crime" issues are there also.

    We challenged the deputies to come up with a more meaningful comparision among villages. At any rate, I would not tell anyone we have a high crime rate, because we simply do not. Many people I know are quite relaxed about crime although we all come together occassionally to remind ourselves to stay vigilant. Some neighborhoods seem to be more vigilant than others and thereby make more calls. Ask youself about each line item, what it actually means and you get a different perspective and different answers from those collecting those statistics. I have been dealing with this for two years now and feel like I understand these numbers much more than I did two years ago, thanks to the explanations obtained from the sheriff deputies.

    Hopefully, we will get more insight into the new report we expect to get this month.

  8. I didn't say we had a high crime rate! I said: "Grogan's Mill is closer to the freeway and with that, you're going to have a higher crime rate." I'm assuming that you've got the report that I posted a link to and if you read it, you'll see that there is a lot more than the 2 crimes that you're talking about. Crime happens here in The Woodlands! It happens in the villages, it happens in the neighborhoods. And the crime rate increases the closer you get to a freeway - I thought it was just common sense, but the numbers support it. Read the link.

    I read the information. I read it constntly. There are other sources as well for that info. I could see no evidence that Grogans Mill has a higher crime rate. In fact, looking at several months, the higher rates were traded with the other villages. I did not say that there were only two crimes. I was simply pointing out the severity and number of the crimes is relatively low.

    3) Flooding and/or other drainage issues? Is there city sewer or septic?

    dunno

    There are very few flooding issues. We survived the tropical storm that flooded Houston so bad a few years ago without any significant issues of our own and it rained a LOT here! There is one section in Grogans Mill that had an issue last year. I do not lknow if it has been fixed or not. We have retention ponds and major drainage arteries. The pond where I live is one of those and it delays a lot of water from running down the exit creek in major rains.

    We have sewer systems, not septic systems. Our water systems and sewer systems are excellent. We drink well water. The water comes from two deep producing zones. There is a shallow zone that produces water but it is used only for utility water here in The Woodlands.

  9. Then I have to ask, What *have* you been monitoring?

    The Woodlands Crime Data Reports

    Native, we receive a report each month. In Houston the numbers I recall are much higher. I do not consider this a high crime area. In August we had one robbery report from a business. I know in Market Street we had a couple in November. In Houston, I was counting the rapes and the shootings on a quarterly basis. We mapped them. If you look at the numbers, the village with the most instances varies from month to month.

    On education, I have observed that the principal, vice-principals and the PTO among other things make a school unique. Of course the teachers impact the ediucation our children get and they impact the quality of their education. CISD is certainly not a bad system. Each child has a huge potential in this system, and the family has an impact on the quality of their education. As far as tests go, there needs to be a standard. Personally, I do not know if the TAKS test is good or bad. I do know however that we must have a standard to measure by. Waiting for the SAT to come along is not a good idea. In this day and age, we still see the same SAT differentials. Some kids are better apt to make it than others. Then at 20 or 21, some come into bloom and are ready and capable where they were not in their earlier years. That is an unfortunate fact of life related to motivation and connecting the wires in the head.

  10. The 242 route can be plugged up when the high school traffic is at its peak. I find the trffic pretty bad getting onto I45 at that time and at 8AM with the rush to Montgomery College. My bet is that you want to leave much earler, so the traffic should not be very bad then."Grogan's Mill is closer to the freeway and with that, you're going to have a higher crime rate. Depending on which neighborhood, but in general, yes... I'd let my kids play out in the neighborhood."In monitoring crime in the area I have never seen anything that suggests this to be true. Wer do not have a high crime rate period and as far as Grogans Mill goes, it is as contorted as any village and difficult to find your way around there. Ther has been a higher interest in Grogans Mill in recent days as the traffic has grown tremendously on the main arteries like The Woodlands Parkway, causing significant issues at peak commute times.

  11. I don't know whether to laugh or cry about the ignorance displayed by some posters on this subject. I bet they haven't ever spoken to a Mexican, wealthy or otherwise.

    I lived in The Woodlands from 2004 until five months ago (have since moved back to Germany), and let me tell you, without the Mexicans I played soccer with (they included millionaires as well as janitors), I would have hated my time there.

    It's really sad to see how at least the fly-over part of the US has become ever more know-nothing since 9/11 especially.

    In actuality, only some are Mexicans. Many are from other countries in South America. I know one Venezuelan who is now off to a university on a soccer scholarship. Tremendous talent!

  12. Fortunately, we have an 88% vote of confidence that we will not see the government of The Woodlands go amuck and spend all of our hard earned dollars foolishly with incorrect numbers and assumptions. There is a lot of history to this. Some savings opportunities have not even been discussed yet.

    It is definately a good thing, and we will save money. The fear of taxation is always in the spotlight, but there was a great deal of care put into the analysis of where the money will come from and where it will go. We cannot live by fear alone. We have to trust and involve ourselves as well. Now we go forward to make sure we get sales taxes in place quickly so that we can start using the money next year.

    The Woodlands is a great place to be right now.

    The other propositions sponsored by our state senator also passed.

  13. At the end of the day on Tuesday, I expect to see a new era in governments and impact on the relationships of suburbia to big cities in Texas. There is at least one other local area considering the approach taken by The Woodlands. Master planned and combinations of master planned communities in regions outside of big cities could be thinking about pulling their resources together to accomplish similar feats. The key is having a plan for sales taxes and a vision of being a good regional partner to the big city. Cooperative regional planning and development will accelerate with such practices. Who else might be getting interested in this approach in the Houston area? I wonder how much attention in national news this will get? The outcome should be a huge landslide for the propositions. What other regional effects could we see besides the obvious?

  14. The darker ones are more related to Native Americans, whereas the whiter one are related to descendants from Spain.

    Someone may have already commented on this, but I thought I would help clarify it anyway. Many people in the USA would be very surprised to meet a blue eyed light colored Italian from the mountains of Venezuela. They might also be amazed to see a Chinese person speaking Spanish. The latin culture is as diversified as ours, with accents, with second languages and with color. I know a green eyed light brown latina who has outstanding features that I just could not believe when I first met her. To this day, her eyes intrigue me. The whitest people seem to be from Italy but I know there are many very light Spanish folks also.

  15. I will try to make some sense from all of this from a normal residents point of view.

    Taxes: Annexation by Houston will bring sales taxes and ad-valorem taxes controlled by the city of Houston. The residents want to be able to define their own services and service levels and also be able to use their own money to fund those services. To do so politically requires us to be good regional partners with our neighbors. Since George Mitchell's vision was for Houston to be the primary stakeholder in these projects, it only made sense to make Houston the project manager for the regional projects. The Woodlands would be a benefactor of these projects as well as other communities to the north of Houston. Therefore a small portion of the tax structure is put into an escrow for these projects. The Township would have the standard 2% sales tax throughout The Woodlands, no different than Houston. The majority of the taxes collected would be utilized to fund local projects and operational costs. As a Township, all the sales taxes could be used for operations unlike a municipality, where one percent must be used for capital projects.

    Should proposition 1,2,3, pass: 5 or 6 new board members would be elected in May, 2008, of the 11 member board. The other 5 would stay until 2010 when the board would drop to 7 members. The reason for this is that the incumbents must be allowed to remain by state law. There would no longer be representation by local communities. All 11 board members would be residents and all would have been elected to positions by residents before they were appointed to the board. Some were elected in the Town Center and represent residents now. There is a divided opinion on this matter and it gets a little complicated. You will see an argument that one board member was appointed by WCA and appointed to the TCID. However that resident was elected to the association for another job and is a prominent contributor to the welfare of The Woodlands. The opponents to the propositions claim foul and that there is "taxation without representation" where in reality, there will be a majority of elected candidates on the board after the May election. The bottom line is that the people on this board are quite capable of governing the villages, as well as facilitate the town center improvement district during the necessary transition period to 2010. Proposition 3 will be dollar for dollar offset against the very high association dues here. Residents will be able to deduct the ad-valorem on their IRS returns whereas as we all know, association dues are not deductible by law.

    Township - we would have sales and use taxes to pay Houston and Conroe. With the excess we pay for part of the association dues, we would reduce our dues by as much as 31%. We gain freedom from the ETJ of Houston and Conroe. We gain the right to establish our own government, whether it is a township or a full fledged municipality in the future. We would not have ordinance capability at first, but may gain that right through later legislation. We would not be able to have our own police force, but would continue to use contracted police (i.e., Sheriff or Constable). We would not have zoning. We would continue to use the master plan for the final build-out of undeveloped properties and land use constraints on each tract as filed for the master plan.

    Should proposition 1,2 pass but proposition 3 fail: the residents simply lose their ability to legally deduct the association dues. From this we would assume no one would oppose it. Hang with me for a minute and I will give insight into why some people do oppose it.

    Proposition 1 and 2 must pass together or everything is off. I personally would like to get the 58% savings off of my annual association fee (that includes the additional cost of sales taxes), so I am supporting proposition 3. Although this sounds like an absolutely no brainer proposition, there are some people who do not trust anyone and run a campaign against new taxes period, when they will actually save money, mostly because they cannot understand the opportunity or they do not trust the TCID.

    Should proposition 1 and 2 fail: The agreement with Houston is forfeited unless The Woodlands can come up with the payments within one year. The laws enabling the TCID to expand would expire immediately. There would be no enabling legislation possible until the next session in 2009. Therefore, Conroe would have to annex mud #39 because they would not want their ETJ to expire. They have already started their annexation plans and time would run out before the next session. Houston would start thinking about annexation because they can initiate their planning in 2011 for a 2014 annexation. To do this, they would need to build a fire station close by, probably during the planning stages. Legislation in 1999 was passed to make it more difficult for big cities to annex surrounding areas but not impossible.

    Now to the political side of the equation. There are a few who have developed a disdain and distrust of the developer over the years. It all began when George Mitchell sold his assets in order to remain financially solvent. The buyer was not trusted from the beginning. Residents felt they had been sold out. That sentiment has spilled over to the modern day fight against the proposals. Any association with the builder is reason to distrust a member of the TCID board or for any elected office. Although I was here through the change of developers, I cannot support such a negative and persistent whining about the developer. Certainly some trees were felled that should not have been. Certainly there is disagreement whether a multistory complex should be built in a certain location. Certainly there has been contention on other projects, such as a gasoline station in a location very visible to several residential homes. None of the developer-related issues should be part of the decision for or against self governance, yet it is. This all boils down to trust. Opponents do not trust individuals or organizations with current or past ties to the developer in a master planned community that the developer has and continues to build. Proponents see the opportunity and know that they must act now. They are led into action by those who cringed at what happened to our neighbor to the east and have been working since 1999 to obtain self governance, following a logical process to achieve that goal.

    That said, many residents are excited about all of this and feel they are part of a new era where they have a true say on empowering themselves with a local government. Each voter can influence the outcome. The Woodlands has made history before, and we hope it will do it again with a yes vote for the propositions. We hope to be the first community under the ETJ of a city in Texas to avoid being annexed. A light turnout at the polls is probable. Usually only those residents planning to stay or have stayed here for 5 or more years will be interested in determining the future of the community. We have a number of residents who cannot even vote in this election due to their citizenship status, but we also have many people here on relatively short job assignments.

    I am sure some of this will not make any sense to outsiders, but I gave it a shot anyway. You can look into whatever you wish on my blog as well. Each member of the TCID board except for one has a bio there with some personal comments.

    The Woodlands Commentary

  16. We feel like we're getting a better quality of life out here. We're very happy with our school and everything else The Woodlands has to offer. My husband is the one that has to make the 1-hr drive - I've left the decision to commute 100% up to him - he doesn't want to go back. We've been out here for 5 years now and have loved every minute of it.

    One person I know gave it up here and moved to Katy. She is very happy with that decision. The association fees are 1/3 of what she paid here, commute is easy and fast to the Galleria via the toll road, and her children go to top nationally rated schools. Each home has the same association fee regardless of its value.

    I am almost perfectly located - approximate 10-year-old subdivision, within walking distance of a number commercial entities (including doctors' offices, a bike ride from Town Center and the lake, quick access to a coupld of ponds, walking distance to a recreation playground, and easy access to many hike and bike trails. And that just begins the reasons I relocated here. I did not like the commute to downtown Houston but could live with it as long as I used a shared van, the most economical and efficient way to commute to downtown and other distant work areas.

    Red, just for the records, "intra" signifies within and "inter" signifies between. We may not be a city yet, but we like to think of ourselves as one, especially when we travel intercity to Houston. :)

  17. Key mobility projects and issues:

    1. Hardy Toll road expansion. I am not sure where this will go. I assume it will no longer terminate at I45 couth of The Woodlands. It is a few years out but on the agreement with Houston.

    2. Grand Parkway - corridor to I59, 249, 290, I10 and other high volume roads from The Woodlands. I think this will be a tollway but have not heard that directly yet. Just assuming since all major roads are heading to tollways as a funding mechanism.

    3. Will we see intra city buses in The Woodlands? I do not think so. They are noisy. Trolleys? Perhaps. There is an gap with lower cost housing and availability of public transportation in the area.

    4. No mention of Gosling. Kuykendahl and 2978 appear to the focus for north/south corridor projects. Creekside Village Park has two through roads now to link Kuykendahl and Gosling. The new one is under construction. Looks to me that the traffic burden of new homeowners there will be placed on Kuykendahl south of the bridge. Many of the homes will be close to Gosling which is already burdened by construction vehicles. There is probably a series of studies and meetings in the Creekside project that will affect this plan very shortly. 2978 is exploding, so it is of high concern for all of The Woodlands and neighboring developments.

  18. The CGI homes completely confused me. There should be some way to keep such simliar names from being used. It took a little while to logically separate the two. I went into Wilde Creek two days ago to observe their progress. Yesterday, I saw a new road bulldozed to Kuykendahl from the east. Looks like another neighborhood about to begin, or perhaps an access road into the same neighborhood. If they have a road all the way to Eilde Creek, the development of the lake and infrastructure of the neighborhood can move faster. Just a guess on the purpose of this new road.

    Here are the current areas of development from Woodlands Development Inventory

    Carlton Woods Creekside **

    Location: South of Spring Creek in Harris County

    Description: 138 homesites have sold, and new homebuilding activity is underway in the new private, gated community of Carlton Woods Creekside, bordering the Fazio Championship golf course. The clubhouse is in design and should open in the fall of 2007 coinciding with a Showcase of Homes.

    The Village of Creekside Park

    Location: South of Spring Creek in Harris County

    Description: Development work and homebuilding are well underway in the newest village planned to include 7,100 residences in a wide variety of styles and price ranges along with many parks and greenspaces, including the 1,700-acre George Mitchell Nature Preserve and 20-acre Fleming Park. Grand Opening is planned for October of 2007.

    The Village of Creekside Park

  19. It is time to start up a new thread on this subject. I will go take some photos to post if there is any interest.

    Creekside Village builders are out in force advertising and selling properties. I received a low end advertisement in the mail today at my workplace. The homes appear to be quite small. There are gobs of trucks on Kuykendahl, The Woodlands Parkway and Gosling hauling dirt, concrete and supplies. There are many trucks pulling dirt out of the western part of Creekside where the lake is being created and moving that dirt to the residential areas under development on the southeastern side of the village. I observed quite a few streets under construction and a surpriising installation of three phase power lines along the primary entrance road to the new housing section. Why they did not bury the lines is beyond me. Perhaps there is no one to complain about it yet. There are very few inhabitants if any, at this time. Some houses are ready to inhabit based on the flyer I received from the builder. There is a lot of open space back in the area of development. That may be due to pastures, but it may also be the result of bulldozers. I did not go close enough to see. I have been told that the open spaces existed earlier, based on aerial photographs available via Google or some other public domain. I could not see much of the new lake. It was not a safe place to drive so I did not go out there. I will do so if I go on a photograph mission.

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