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Proposed Ellington Bypass gets planning board’s support

November 20, 2018

With an eye on plans for a spaceport at Ellington Airport, Houston’s planning commission has unanimously recommended that a proposal to build a road in that area be included in the city’s transportation plan.

“Adding Ellington Bypass to the (Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan) would reserve right-of-way needed in preparation for the planned Houston Spaceport,” Sharon Moses-Burnside, transportation planning division manager with the city’s planning and development department, said at the Nov. 8 meeting in which the vote occurred.

The final step in the approval process is for City Council to vote on including the project in the plan, said Jordan McGinty , south sector manager with District E Councilman Dave Martin’s office. The proposal will be sent to council by Dec.1, but it’s not known when the amendment will appear on a council agenda.

The proposed road would improve access and mobility to the airport, according to a September statement from Martin’s office. The Houston Spaceport is a long-awaited infrastructure addition to Ellington that would allow space launches from the site.

Martin has said that Ellington Bypass, which would extend from Texas 3 to Interstate 45, would improve access to the future spaceport and thwart potential development of a facility for oil storage tanks.

Bob Mitchell, president of Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, previously said that he learned in mid-summer that Magellan Midstream Partners, a company that transports, stores and distributes petroleum products. had purchased pipeline easements in the area.

Tom Byer, a spokesman for Magellan, said in a written statement the company is considering various potential sites in the Houston area for crude oil storage including at its terminal facility in east Houston, but added that, “We are not considering a site near Ellington Air Field at this time.”

But Mitchell, whose group is a membership-funded organization that promotes industry development in the area, said the company may be reacting to opposition from BAHEP and Martin’s office.

Mitchell and Martin say that inclusion of the proposed Ellington Road in the city’s thoroughfare plan could prevent development where the road is built.

Martin hosted an informational open house on the proposed amendment to include Ellington Road in the city’s transportation plan in Oct. 16 at Space Center Houston.

Ellington Airport, located within 15 minutes of downtown Houston, is a joint-use facility handling both general aviation operations and flights involving the United States military, the Department of Homeland Security and NASA, reads the airport’s website.

The city’s thoroughfare plan identifies right-of-way needs and proposes roadway alignments within the city limits of Houston and its extraterritorial jurisdiction by listening to developers and neighborhoods about issues like congestion, mobility and future development plans, according to the city’s website.

The planning department can be contacted at mobility.planning@houstontx.gov .

jaimy.jones@chron.com

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