Differing views cast on development plans
There are two primary schools of thought emerging among Jersey Village's residents and elected officials about whether or not the city should spend taxpayer dollars on infrastructure that could provide the base for a multi-faceted planned development area along the future Jones Road extension corridor south of U.S. 290.
The city is studying a Jersey Village Transit-Oriented Development" proposal, which could carry an estimated $40 million price tag and would take several years to carry out.
One side argues the city should first focus on fixing streets and drainage systems, developing recreation areas and boosting existing commercial areas in the city limits on the north side of U.S. 290. They say development south of U.S. 290 should be funded mainly by the private sector.
The other side says the city should continue studying the transit-oriented development idea, and carefully consider funding part of infrastructure costs while pursuing partnerships with private developers and other governmental agencies that could benefit from the upscale development.
Jersey Village City Council recently voted 4-1 to move forward with the third and final phase of the Jersey Village Transit-Oriented Development" study, which is being carried out by Kimley-Horn and Associates. The Council mirrored that vote when authorizing funds for the $166,650 needed to complete the third phase.
Councilman Mark Maloy, who cast the sole vote against both agenda items, said many residents had come to him voicing concerns about the effect the project could have on the city's tax rate and base.
Unless there is significant private and outside investment, I don't see it as a beneficial project for Jersey Village citizens," he said.
Jersey Village resident Jim Pulliam said the city needs a master plan that covers the entire city, not just the area along the Jones Road extension on the south side of U.S. 290.
He voiced support for funding infrastructure repair projects, park and trail improvements, and economic development on the north side of U.S. 290 before focusing on the south side.
All of these items cost money and our tax dollars are in limited supply," Pulliam said. Money should not be diverted from projects on the north side of U.S. 290."
Positive, prudent steps'
Councilman Curtis Haverty said the estimated $30 million to $40 million of investment the city might participate in could result in $300 million in development and could reap large rewards for the city's future property and sales tax bases.
The crux of issue is that we have $30 million in tax base (south of U.S. 290) without plans to increase that, or $300 million we could have with this development," Haverty said. I think Jersey Village is thinking forward and taking positive, prudent steps."
Councilman Rod Erskine said moving forward with the third phase was important so the city and its residents could have solid information about what the cost would be to taxpayers and what other outside avenues, such as a management district, exist for funding the project.
Third phase of study
Joe Willhite, a project manager with Kimley-Horn, said that will be a focus in the third phase of the study.
He said the project team would develop a financial framework, zoning and regulatory recommendations; and would hold additional meetings with stakeholders in the area, including the Union Pacific Railroad, and commercial and residential property owners, to determine potential cost-sharing opportunities.
That phase should be completed in February 2011.
About the plan
The conceptual transit-oriented development plan includes a proposed commuter rail station at Jones Road/U.S. 290; about 1 million square feet of commercial and office space; a proposed 18-acre area for higher-density office space along the U.S. 290 border; mixed-use three-to-five-story buildings (commercial on lower floors and office/residential on upper floors) in the area's core," which is a 23-acre area between the future Jones Road extension and Wright Road; a gradual decrease in building height in the 57-acre area outside of the core; primarily residential development brownstones, condominiums, and townhomes in the combined 81-acre neighborhood transition" and neighborhood" sections; about 38 acres devoted to parks and open space; and a 4.35-acre public area that could one day house a Jersey Village City Hall.
Jones Road extension
The city is set to launch construction on the new four-lane Jones Road extension that will serve as a development artery in the proposed TOD area.
That leg of Jones Road will run from U.S. 290 south over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, across a 50-acre tract, to a point on FM 529 midway between Wright Road and Charles Road.
The project groundbreaking ceremony is set for Friday, July 30 at 9 a.m. on the lot next to 11502 Charles Road.
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