Conroe begins process of annexing part of The Woodlands

Nevermind Houston trying to annex The Woodlands, Conroe is already making moves in that direction:

City officials took preliminary steps Thursday to extend the city's boundaries into The Woodlands, despite outcries from several residents who oppose the idea.

The City Council adopted an ordinance to incorporate the Municipal Utility District No. 39 into its annexation plan, giving it a three-year window before it decides to annex the MUD's 858 acres.

The MUD is on the southern edge of the city limits and includes the Harper's Landing neighborhood and 25 businesses all a part of The Woodlands, an unincorporated master-planned community.

Mayor Tommy Metcalf said now is the right time to consider annexation because the MUD is experiencing strong economic growth.

Metcalf said that if the annexation occurs, the city would see a 16 percent increase in its $2 billion tax base and Harper's Landing residents would gain lower taxes and better services.

But many residents do not think annexation is in their best interest and do not want to be a part of Conroe.

Several residents who spoke at Thursday's council meeting said they're concerned about possible double taxation and the destruction of The Woodlands' sense of community.

They also said they were angry about how city officials handled the issue. Many residents, even those who serve on associations representing Harper's Landing, said city officials never told them of their plans.

''They told us they weren't interested in Harper's Landing, then all of a sudden it shows up as an agenda item," said Ted Stanley, a Harper's Landing resident and director of The Woodlands Association.

That's how local governments like to operate -- keep the public in the dark whenever possible.

If I were a Harper's Landing resident, I would be apoplectic. And The Woodlands Association director lives there! Other businesses in that area (if I have my geography right) include a Super Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Lowe's, Garden Ridge, and numerous smaller businesses. For all I know, the businesses may support the move, if it would lower their taxes. (Yeah, right. Everyone who believes that, raise your hand.)

But isn't that just like a city government: The Woodlands worked hard to build itself into a nice community, and now Conroe -- and potentially Houston down the road -- wants to come in and just take it!

Now that the Chronicle's archives are opened up, it's very easy to see how the city of Houston's promises to Kingwood have panned out. Kingwood residents have complained that Houston gets all the tax revenue benefits and does little in return, in contrast to what was promised.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 12/09/05 07:35 AM | Print |

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