11/09/18 9:45am

THE WOODLANDS CAVALRY UNITS ORDERED TO RETREAT FROM WALMART, COSTCO PARKING LOTS Effective January 1, mounted patrols will no longer be present at the 2 stores opposite each other on Hwy. 242 at I-45 — reports The Villager’s Marialuisa Rincon — although they’ll remain at Town Center and Hughes Landing. The Woodlands’ contract with the company that provides the equestrian detail, Alpha & Omega Services, previously made up 13 percent of the township’s $14 million law enforcement budget, reports Rincon. But unlike police officers, the riders “don’t carry guns and are prohibited from intervening if a crime is in progress — instead, they’re required to contact law enforcement if an incident merits police attention.” The cuts will save the town $470,000 a year until the contract goes up for renewal in 2020. They’ll also require Alpha & Omega to eliminate positions from its force for the first time since arriving 23 years ago in The Woodlands — which has become “our crown jewel,” said the company’s president, adding: “Every operation we have in the country, we bring our troopers here to train.” [The Woodlands Villager] Photo: Alpha & Omega Services

12/05/17 11:30am

H-E-B is making a bright red appearance in a leasing brochure for The Market at Harper’s Preserve, a proposed shopping center that would go up along the entrance to the mostly-residential Harper’s Preserve development off Highway 242, 2 miles east of I-45. The site plan at top shows the supermarket anchoring a 28-acre retail area that would occupy the northeast corner of the partly-built, 800-acre community. Also included in the image: 2 buildings marked as banks, 2 as fast food, a gym, gas station, and 5 other structures.

A spokesperson for H-E-B said, “At this time it is premature for H-E-B to comment on specific plans for this parcel of land. However, we can share that we are excited about the prospect of building a new store to serve the growing Conroe community.” The site plan below shows one neighborhood of Harper’s Preserve called East Village, as well as the location of the shopping center, labeled “Mixed Use” at the top right corner:


East of The Woodlands
09/30/14 2:45pm


A seaside escape in Oak Ridge North? Despite its landlocked lot in Montgomery County, a sandy-colored 1968 property of brick and bric-a-brac has been beaching it, starting with the palm trees at curbside. For the shells and such, skip the trip to the coast and head inside . . .


Seashore Envy
12/11/07 10:15am

Collage of Diagrams from fig. Medical Body Shaping Website Showing How Advanced LipoDissolve Is Supposed To Work

Swamplot’s many readers eager to return to Houston-area Fig. Medical Body Shaping clinics for continuing fat-reducing injections will be saddened to learn that the national chain has abruptly shut down and discontinued all operations. A note on the fig.com website indicates the company will likely be seeking bankruptcy protection.

There are three local Fig. clinics: in Sugar Land at 59 and Highway 6, next to Panera Bread; next to Jamba Juice at the Summit Plaza by Lakewood Church; and at the Portofino Shopping Center across I-45 from the Woodlands. (Yes, that’s the same Portofino Shopping Center that was home to the statue-genitalia controversy a few years back — which was ultimately solved with . . . a fig leaf.) All three Houston-area Fig. locations had been open only since April.

Okay, whose inside joke was it to locate all three fat-reduction clinics in shopping centers on feeder roads?

What happened to Fig. that would cause it to shut down so suddenly? (Reader caution: suggestive uh . . . medical detail below.)


05/17/07 10:19am

Home in Oak Ridge North

Since February, about half the residents of Oak Ridge North, a small city just across I-45 from the Woodlands, have been getting their electricity from chicken fat. The nation’s first entirely biodiesel-generated electrical plant, run by Biofuels Power Corp., supplies power to the community. The fuel comes from a sister company, Safe Renewables, which runs a plant two miles away that can create biodiesel from vegetable oils too. But chicken fat is apparently plentiful around here, so Oak Ridge north gets powered by schmaltz.

The power facility has the capacity to produce approximately 5 MW of electricity using three used diesel Caterpillar generators that act as a single source of power. At full load, they use 72 gallons of biodiesel per MW hour. An interesting feature is that waste heat from the generators is used to keep the fuel tank warm and prevent . . . the biodiesel from gelling. The company is experimenting with various additives to decrease emissions and increase efficiency. “We hope to get down to 60 gallons per megawatt hour,” Crimmins says.

When’s poultry power coming to the rest of Houston? Well, there’s that pesky nitrogen-oxide-that-becomes-ozone emissions problem. We hope they’ll be able to keep that French fry smell out of the AC, too.

Photo: xgray‘s childhood home in Oak Ridge North

04/24/07 10:56am

Portofino Shopping Center in ShenandoahLast year’s agreement between Mayor White and State Senator Tommy Williams was meant to save The Woodlands from the evil menace of annexation by Houston. Here’s how: Houston would allow The Woodlands to escape from its extraterritorial jurisdiction if The Woodlands would start using its taxes to pay for regional projects.

But did the agreement say anything about The Woodlands annexing its neighbors? While Williams has been shepherding bills through the legislature to finalize the agreement, he’s also sponsoring legislation that would allow the Town Center Improvement District, a special tax district meant to support the Woodlands Town Center, to expand so that it covers almost all of the Woodlands. And then there’s that special feature of improvement districts:

Unlike a city, which has limits put on its annexation capabilities, the existing TCID law allows the district to overlay other city boundaries or extraterritorial jurisdictions, which are designated areas for future growth. In addition, while cities may only annex contiguous property, TCID is permitted to annex property that is not located next to its boundaries.

These issues became a major concern for surrounding cities as legislation was introduced that would allow Town Center to expand to provide municipal service to The Woodlands. [emphasis added]

Brilliant! All those regional projects Houston is demanding could be paid for by other folks! Except that neighboring Shenandoah, home to the Venice-In-A-Parking-Lot Portofino Shopping Center (above), would have none of it. Shenandoah has worked out an agreement that would prevent Town Center from annexing any part of it—including any expanded boundaries or nearby planned developments.

In addition to the city limits, which includes 126 homes in the Grogan’s Forest neighborhood of The Woodlands and areas of extraterritorial jurisdiction, TCID could not annex new developments that are partially located within Shenandoah’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. These include Northline Oaks, Tamina, Lakeland and a new development on Forest Park Drive. This means those areas also could not become part of any future city of The Woodlands, VanSteenberg said.

See? Once The Woodlands decides to set up its own government, it might come up with a new set of boundaries. And who knows where they’ll be?

Next in line for a land grab: Conroe. And then, why not . . . Huntsville?

The TCID Executive Committee approved $10,000 for a study by Sarmistha Majundar of Sam Houston State University’s Political Science Department to survey students, faculty and residents in the Huntsville area about the need for public transportation to The Woodlands Town Center.

Photo: Hermes Architects