- 55 Old Woods Dr. [HAR]
AN UPDATE ON THE LEAKY OIL WELL IN MISSOURI CITY All liquids that spewed from the oil well on McHard Rd. just west of the Fort Bend Tollway after its blow-out accident last Wednesday have been removed from the ground surrounding the facility, the Missouri City Office of Emergency Management now reports. But that’s just the wet stuff. Workers from Haz Mat Special Services have so far dug up 1,200 of an expected 5,200–7,200 yards of possibly contaminated dirt from the immediate vicinity, to be replaced with soil from somewhere else. What else can they do? “Crews have also sprayed the area to reduce the odor. Air monitoring is still on going. Crews are also trying to prep the area for the predicted rain fall the region may receive.” [Missouri City Emergency Preparedness; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Fort Bend County OEM
UN-RE-ZONING OF MISSOURI CITY TRACT PAVES WAY FOR SHIPMAN’S COVE MASTER PLANS The Missouri City council voted last week to approve a “planned development” zoning classification for a woody 95.3-acre tract at the edge of the Creekmont and Newpoint Estates subdivisions off Hwy. 6 at Watts Plantation Rd., which master plan planner Ashton Woods wants to turn into a 287-unit housing development called Shipman’s Cove. The January vote came after a determination by the city’s attorney that the failed September vote on the same issue had technically passed: Councilmembers now says that the vote to change the undeveloped land’s zoning classification (an act that would have required a 75 percent majority among the 7 council members, and fell 1 vote short of that hurdle) actually only counted as a vote to zone it for the first time — which only needs a simple majority for approval. Amelia Brust reports that neither the city council nor city attorney “explained what prompted the further review, nor did they identify the outside legal counsel hired by the city” that helped review the situation; Missouri City mayor Allen Owen also said at the time of the vote that multiple lawsuits looked to be in the works. [Community Impact] Image of planned site of Shipman’s Cove: Missouri City
UTAH’S MALAWI’S PIZZA TO PLANT FAKE TREE NEXT TO DOUBLE MATTRESS FIRM IN SIENNA PLANTATION Malawi’s Pizza (which currently has 3 locations sprinkled along a stretch of northern Utah between Salt Lake City and Provo) is planning the first of some 20 Houston-area locations, writes Katherine Feser. The fast-casual-with-fine-china chain’s main shtick, other than the life-size acacia tree model in each restaurant? The company says it donates nutritional supplements and allotments of grain to folks in Malawi in proportion to the number of pizzas sold each month. The first Houston spot is planned for 8731 Highway 6 Center (a new retail strip immediately west of the double Mattress Firm on Highway 6) in Missouri City. Another location may be on the way to Central Square in Midtown; the company says it hopes to open 4 Houston-area locations by the end of 2017, while also expanding to Dallas and Virginia. [Houston Chronicle] Rendering of Highway 6 Center: Hunington Properties
If you thought it was kinda adorable how those 2 same-owner mattress stores are snuggling up right next to each other at the corner of Westheimer and Montrose Blvd. in Montrose, you’re sure to be enthralled by the suburban version of the same like-kind pair-up down about Sienna Plantation, what with their separate, straight-laced façades and separate showrooms. Mattress Firm has been open for a couple years already at 8741 Hwy. 6 South in Missouri City; the same company’s slightly larger Mattress Pro just opened up next door at 8735 last month. Better yet, the buildings are for sale, together!
Maybe the looks of this spa are too brutal a reminder of how the season went down the toilet? Houston Texans middle linebacker Brian Cushing injured his knee in October and was forced to watch from the sidelines as his team bowed out to the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs. Now, his 7,007-sq.-ft. Missouri City home is for sale, starting at $1,299,900.
MITT ROMNEY’S MISSOURI CITY MORTGAGE Among those who answered the clarion call to invest in Houston-area real estate back in the early eighties, just a few years before its big crash: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Long before he earned billions at the helm of Bain Capital, Romney bought 5 rent-to-own houses in suburban areas of Houston — “without putting up any of his own money,” according to Mike McIntire’s report. Romney got stuck renting out the houses until the late 1990s, when he unloaded 4 of them, “mostly at a loss.” The tenants of the fifth house wanted to buy their 1,836-sq.-ft. 3-bedroom home (at 1350 Gentle Bend Dr. in Missouri City’s Hunters Glen neighborhood) but couldn’t qualify for a mortgage. So Romney became their bank. Tim and Betty Stamps have been making out $600 checks to Romney every month for 15 years. They refinanced the property with him this June. [NY Times]
MISSOURI CITY GROWS ITS OWN TRAIL MIX Missouri City forester Paul Wierzbicki tells reporter Cory Stottlemeyer that he expects the Jujubes, Mexican plums, Mexican persimmons, mulberries, pomegranates, figs, pears, and kumquats he began planting along the Oyster Creek Trail last fall to survive through the year. The 70 fruit- and nut-bearing trees now growing along half of the Missouri City section of the trail between Mosley Park and FM 3345 were selected for their tolerance to local conditions, including drought and Gulf Coast pests. Planted in 7 separate groves and interspersed with signage bearing descriptions and the corporate logos of sponsors, they constitute the region’s first-ever edible arbor trail. By next fall, Wierzbicki hopes to have the city’s entire portion of the trail lined with tree bounty trailgoers can reach out and eat. [Fort Bend Sun] Photo: Missouri City
The price Missouri City is paying to purchase the former Quail Valley Country Club from golf-course speculator Mark Voltmann’s Renaissance Golf Group was adjusted from $3.1 million up to $7.4 million last week — 2 years after the city acquired the 390-acre property by eminent domain, and one day before a dispute over the price was set to go to trial. Renaissance claimed the property was worth about $14 million, but at the time of the sale it was listed for $6.59 million by the appraisal district.
Renaissance’s plans to rezone a 17.5-acre portion of the site to allow for a development of 54 Ryland Homes homesites were rejected by the city’s planning and zoning commission in 2006.
STUCK IN THOSE NEIGHBORHOOD SAND TRAPS The Ohio investor who bought up 3 Houston community golf courses over the last decade, then sold the one in Quail Valley to Missouri City a couple of years ago, is running into a few obstacles in his attempts to sell the other 2 to developers: “The latest roadblock came with a jury verdict late last year that would prohibit the use of the land that once served as the Inwood Forest Country Club for any purpose other than a golf course. . . . The Harris County jury found that the Inwood Forest golf property contained an ‘implied reciprocal negative easement,’ [Inwood Forest homeowners association member Julie] Grothues said. In plain English, that means that an owner of the course is bound to keep it as a course even though the original deed has no such restrictive covenant. The lawyer for the homeowners association argued that the course was an essential component of the neighborhood, and that allowing it to be cut up for development would irrevocably change the character of the community and the value of the homes.” Is Mark Voltmann’s game going any better at the shuttered Clear Lake Golf Club? “The deed for the Clear Lake property contains a restriction preventing owners from using it for anything but a golf course or recreational facility until 2021. Voltmann has filed suit to try to bust the deed restrictions. In theory, success could translate into a big payday, as a portion of the property has good commercial potential. But the Inwood verdict is looming. If it stands up, homeowners could use the same argument to stymie him again.” [Houston Chronicle; listing]
AT HOME WITH THE WILDLIFE IN WATERBROOK WEST A relaxing, light-suburban lifestyle with plentiful opportunities for hunting and re-landscaping — who says you can’t have it all in Fort Bend County? “Within the past five [months], Missouri City began a program to attempt to decrease the number of hogs in the Waterbrook West community after hearing complaints from several residents. The city authorized two independent contractors to work in the area to trap in the neighborhood and the surrounding property, and other properties as access is granted. So far, 60 hogs have been caught and removed. Unfortunately, the animals breed so quickly those 60 will likely soon be replaced with 60 more. According to Michael Weiss, a State Game Warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division, the hogs have two or three litters per year, and the babies are ready to breed at around one year. . . . The animals are considered ‘exotic’ and not a native game animal in Texas, so they can be hunted year-round and there is no limit to the number hunters can kill. Weiss said the feral hogs are intelligent enough that once one or two are caught in a trap, others tend to leave that area. He also said that although the hogs are generally afraid of people, if cornered they can be aggressive – especially a cornered sow with her litter. When Weiss started his career 25 years ago, he said he only saw the problem in certain areas of the state. Now, he said, there isn’t a county in Texas that doesn’t have the wild pigs roaming around and creating a nuisance. ‘When people go and do landscaping, the hogs love to come tear it up and search for food,’ said Weiss. ‘I don’t know what the solution is. There’s not one, really.’” [Fort Bend Now]