10/14/13 12:00pm

THE HIGH-TECH BURGER JOINT IN THE WOODLANDS Wanting to try Fielding’s Wood Grill, now open in the strip center on Research Forest Dr. where Shenandoah meets The Woodlands, the Houston Press’s Molly Dunn discovers an amenity inside that could prove tricky for the finger-licking clientele: “There’s . . . an iPad bar . . . to surf the web, chat with friends or play some games. It’s as though they took a portion of the Apple Store and placed it smack dab in the middle of the restaurant.” [Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

06/24/13 4:30pm

A WOOD GRILL’S COOKING IN THE WOODLANDS This waiting-for-a-logo storefront on Research Forest Dr. just north of The Woodlands in Shenandoah will become the home of a new restaurant called Fielding’s Wood Grill, reports a reader. Both the Facebook page and website for Fielding’s are so far pretty skimpy on details, but they do indicate that the restaurant will be 1) selling food and beverages and 2) opening sometime this fall. And it’ll be doing so at the shopping center at 1699 Research Forest Dr., just west of I-45, between Six Pines Dr. and Grogan Mills Rd. [Swamplot inbox] Photo: Kerry Stessel

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