01/30/17 1:45pm

Map of TCEQ Shadow Creek Ranch study area

The city of Pearland’s Odor Task Force is hosting a meeting on February 8th to give some updates on the saga of the Shadow Creek Ranch stench, the Chronicle‘s Margaret Kadifa reports. The map above shows industrial sites noted by the TCEQ in the vicinity of the master-planned community during the environmental agency’s long-running search for the source of the odor. Early last summer the come-and-go smell was finally officially linked to emissions from the slowly rising Blue Ridge Landfill, which sits across FM 521 from the subdivision, just outside the Pearland border in Fresno, TX. The agency says that 81 investigations had been launched in response to more than 1,900 complaints from the neighborhood, as of January 1st; TCEQ started sending enforcement letters to the landfill in October, and a class action lawsuit on behalf of area residents was filed in November.

Map of industrial sites and air sampling locations around Shadow Creek Ranch: TCEQ

Blue Ridge Mountains
06/30/16 1:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FIBERGLASS PEAR TRAIL JUST FOLLOWING IN PEARLAND’S HISTORIC FRUIT FAKEOUT FOOTSTEPS Pearland Commute“The only relationship that pears have to Pearland is that the early developers were trying to entice people to move to the area by claiming that there were pear orchards. (But there is a Figland St. in Pearland.)” [marmer, commenting on Re-Pearing the Pearland BrandIllustration: Lulu

06/28/16 3:30pm

RE-PEARING THE PEARLAND BRAND Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail, Pearland, TX 77584The Pearland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is now selling sponsorships for the 4-ft.-tall decorated fiberglass pears it plans to place around the city to generate enthusiasm from tourists and boost the organization’s branding efforts. Executive director Kim Sinistore tells Amy Bishop that the group “would like to bring pears back to Pearland in the landscaping.” The Pearland city government’s account of the area’s history, however, largely glosses over the importance of pears, instead playing up the historic importance of figs to the region (particularly after the settlement’s  near-destruction by the 1900 Galveston hurricane, and second near-destruction by the storm of 1915). A donation of $4000 gets your name and logo onto a plaque by the themed pear of your choice (on a first-come-first-serve basis), along with other perks; sponsors can also go in on a pear with a friend and split the price. [Houston Public Media, City of Pearland] Photo of Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail, one of 5 planned pear deployment zones: City of Pearland

05/04/16 10:30am

Plan for Ivy District, Pearland, TX, 77583

Ralph Bivins tells Swamplot that lots of dirt is being shoved around on the foreclosed former site of the WaterLights District project, west of 288 and just south of the Beltway where all those heads of former heads of state used to hang out. Pearland’s Ivy District is now being planted on the site instead: plans for the $300-million development include a multifamily complex, condos, a senior living community, townhomes, office buildings, and room for retail.

Part of the project’s funding will come from the EB-5 visa program, which allows wealthy foreigners and their immediate families to immigrate to the US in exchange for a necessary investment expected to create at least 10 jobs. Sueba USA and Beijing-owned American Modern Green are developing the site; American Modern’s parent company Modern Land of China has worked on projects in China (including Steve Holl’s twisty Linked Hybrid in Beijing) and Vancouver, but the Ivy District is its first US venture.

American Modern Green bought the land straddling the Harris-Brazoria county line back in late 2012 following the 2010 foreclosure. Here’s the breakdown of what will go where, per the current plans on the Ivy District’s website:

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Planting in Pearland
03/23/16 1:45pm

Shadow Creek Ranch aerial photo, Pearland, TX, 77584

What could be causing the mysterious unpleasant odor Pearland residents have been reporting through TCEQ complaint channels since August of last year — primarily from the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision (shown above) between 288 and FM 521 south of Clear Creek? TCEQ’s Andrew Keese spoke with the Houston Chronicle recently about the 26 previous and ongoing investigations, which are triggered whenever a finger is pointed at a new possible emitter of the smell. So far, Keese says, no odors have been officially detected that qualify as a ‘nuisance condition’, but he encourages residents to use the TCEQ’s odor log form to help the search effort by describing “the precise character of the odor, [relevant] weather conditions, and times” when the smell is noted.

Before you ask, yes: TCEQ knows about the 60-ft tall mounds of garbage right across FM 521 from the subdivision, at Republic Waste Service’s Blue Ridge Landfill (visible in the bottom left corner of the above photo as a pinkish blob).  Pearland residents previously sought to keep the landfill from more than doubling in acreage and nearly tripling in height (and blocking the operation of several Doppler Radar stations in the process). The landfill (which started accepting garbage several years before Shadow Creek Ranch’s developers broke ground nearby) will eventually get to pile as high as the 170 ft. allowed by its expanded TCEQ permit — but per a 2009 settlement agreement with the city of Pearland it will have to wait until 2021 before rising to only 130 ft., and wait another 8 years after that to reach for its full vertical potential.

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Sniffing Out the Culprits in Pearland
02/17/16 10:45am

2354 County Rd. 59 , Manvel, TX 77578

If you missed out last time around, the 2-story, ambiguous-dozens-bedroom building at 2354 County Rd. 59 is back on the market as of this weekend after spending the winter in hibernation under contract. The property, tucked just 1 mile west of 288 at the edge of Pearland, made the rounds late last April for its current asking price of $3.5 million before an October relisting and a quick switchover to the “sale pending” category.

The newest listing calls the house 46-bedroom, but also holds the buyer responsible for counting. Mona Miller of RE/MAX told the Chronicle back in May that the structure has “probably more like 70″ bedrooms — because interior construction is incomplete, it’s hard to tell. The unfinished structure started going up in the early 2000’s, possibly intended for use as a medical rehab institution by its doctor owner, who instead built a slightly-smaller similarly-styled facility on the lot next door in 2003 (on the right, in the aerial photo below)
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Make It Your Own
11/24/14 3:46pm

killens-burgers-loopnet

Exxon marks the spot for Ronnie Killen’s latest foray into the Pearland meat market: A burger joint, going in a derelict Exxon station at the corner of S. Main St. and Broadway St. and sharing a busy intersection with Whataburger and folksy Pearland institution the Busy Bee Cafe.

Killen had teased readers of his social media sites earlier this month with snapshots of the gas station, but on Friday, he at last confirmed it as the future home of Killen’s Burger on the Killen’s Barbecue Facebook page:

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11/10/14 5:15pm

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How’d all this open land find itself around this deep-on-the-lot bungalow-like listing? This 2008 property is far from the higher density cottage communities in Houston Heights and its hinterlands. Rather, it’s in Pearland’s Colonial Estates, a neighborhood located west of Cabot Cove Lake and south of Magnolia St. The big-roofed home and just-plain-big garage (above) share an acre and a half fronting a straight-shot country road. Views from the front porch go deep, wide, and high (top). The recent listing asks $348,000.

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Watching From Afar
08/26/14 5:15pm

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Even before hitting the courtyard pool, an Asian-inspired home in Pearland’s Green Tee Terrace golf community takes a dip with its pagoda-style roof — and hand-dipped gold leaf panels on the living room ceiling (top). Could the distinctive 1982 property be too distinctive for the area? In a series of successive listings, its price has kept dropping. Last week, the stately home popped back up on the market again, this time seeking $699,000. In its initial listing back in 2011, the asking price started at $1.2 million and was whittled back to $895,000 over a 2-year period. A 6-month interim listing in September 2013 found no takers at $800,000 or at the $750,000 reduction in December. Back in 2005, it sold at $614,000, down from a 1999 sale for $649,000.

Attention to detail is one of the property’s hallmarks; so are shoji screens in many of the rooms . . .

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Serving Tee
07/08/13 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ENJOYING THE FRUITS OF COMMUTING “I spend a lot of time and money commuting from Pearland. I have done so since 1990, so I’ve seen the average time double since I moved out there. It could be true that over 30 years or so I’ll spend as much or more money on gasoline and travel costs as I would have spent on a closer-in place. But you know what? I got a screaming deal on a house I really like. My house payments are way lower than in-town rent and I would never be able to qualify for an in-town mortgage. I have a car I love and I’m a maintenance freak who does a lot of my own mechanical work myself. I haven’t had a car payment in nine years. Anse’s 45 minutes each way? That’s me. That’s an hour and a half of very rewarding music listening, podcasts, audiobooks, you name it, enforced each day. And all that cultural stuff that is ‘easier’ close in? You know, restaurants, bars, movies, plays, concerts, festivals, etc.? It’s all doubled or more than doubled in price since the ’90s. In the very, very long term, like a normal lifespan, it might be cheaper to live closer. But on a day-to-day basis, for a lot of us, it’s simply not affordable, and if it were borderline affordable, it wouldn’t be worth it.” [marmer, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Lies Houston Drivers Tell Themselves] Illustration: Lulu

03/05/13 3:30pm

Note: A TxDOT spokesperson has confirmed that the total cost of the project is $1.3 billion. Story updated below.

This map shows where commuters would get in and out of the toll lanes that TxDOT says it will build in the grassy median of Texas 288 — part of a project it’s proposing to help deal with Med Center congestion and development southwest of town by widening 26 miles of the highway between U.S. 59 and County Road 60. Several new overpasses at intersections and upgraded connections to the Loop and Beltway 8 are also included in the project, which TxDOT says will cost about $1.38 million $1.3 billion. The full extent of the project will be rolled out tonight at a public hearing in Houston and again on Thursday in Pearland.

Map: TxDOT