Woodlands Township: News & Notes - Sept. 28 - Oct. 7

October 4, 2018

Bike advocates speak up

In anticipation of an agenda item at the Thursday, Sept. 27, meeting of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors, several area bicycling advocates and officials spoke during the public period of the meeting, expressing the need for safe bike trails.

David Ward, from the Bike The Woodlands Coalition, said he and other biking enthusiasts believe the trees and curves on curren bike and walking paths in the township limit sight lines and create dangerous situations. Ward called on the township board to do more to fund better bicycling paths.

Another member of the coalition, Fernanda Suarez, also spoke, telling the board that the paths throughout the township are potentially dangerous for bicyclists as well as joggers, runners and walking pedestrians. Suarez also cited some of the fatalities in recent years involving bicyclists.

“It is kind of dangerous, there are a lot of blind spots,” Suarez said.

Another speaker asked for the shoulder area of Lake Woodlands Drive to be made into a dedicated bicycling lane, also known as an “on-road” bike path.

DSC Chairman gives updates

Walter Lisiewski, chairman of the township’s Development Standards Committee, also appeared during the Sept. 27 board meeting, providing an update on various issues and topics that the seven-member committee has been dealing with recently.

Lisiewski told the board members that an agreement between the DSC and the local church St. Anthony of Padua Catholic church had been followed by church officials and that more planting is scheduled to be done soon to lessen light and noise from the church that had irritated residents of the nearby Laurelhurst neighborhood.

“(The church) Completed the first part (of the agreement). They planted 21 wax myrtles, and they planted additional trees,” he said. “They are scheduled to plant 26 (additional) loblolly pines.”

In order to ensure the trees and shrubs are planted properly and according to an arborist’s plans, Lisiewski said DSC staff has inspected the plantings and verified the foliage was being placed in the correct spots. Some work on the planting has been delayed slightly, he said, due to a request from officials at the Woodlands Joint Powers Agency who were concerned about wet weather.

On the topic of the “monster house,” located at 47 N. Longspur Drive, Lisiewski said all the inspections have been completed and the owners of the massive home have agreed to not use a lighted fountain that had caused neighbors to see flashes of light at night. The home owners will only run the lighted fountain during the Christmas holiday season, he added.

In other DSC business, Lisiewski reported that more than 600 covenant violations had been sent to area residents in the past three months with 20 of them proceeding to legal action in Montgomery County civil court; complaints about a noisy generator at the John Cooper School were resolved with the school agreeing to run the generator during certain times to lessen the impact on neighbors.

Lisiewski also explained to the board that a business called Dogtopia had been rejected in the Village of Alden Bridge because the proposed storefront was not zoned for dog-related businesses. The owner of the franchise had said he was not proceeding with the business because he felt disrespected by the DSC. Lisiewski strongly denied the allegation, and said the real reason the business did not come to fruition was because it simply was not allowed at the proposed location.

On the technology front, Lisiewski asked the board if it was possible to include the township covenants in the popular 311 informational app called the “My Woodlands App.” Many residents do not know about the covenants and Lisiewski said adding them to the app would allow users to search for topics when considering reporting violations.

Cultural arts district on hold

Nick Wolda, the president of Visit The Woodlands — also known as The Convention and Visitors Bureau — and township Board Member Bruce Rieser updated the board on the possibility of having a cultural arts district in The Woodlands.

“The arts are very big, very culturally diverse,” Wolda said, citing numerous art installations around the township such as the art bench project and the Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival.

The Woodlands had considered implementing an official state-recognized district around the waterway area, but due to strict regulations regarding affordable housing and studio space for artists, the township has decided on an informal local declaration of a “culture district.”

Township Board Chairman Gordy Bunch drew several laughs from the board and audience when he noted that the waterway areas was not financially conducive to “starving artists.”

The issue will be reverted back to the township’s Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee for further fine-tuning.

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