Hitchcock city officials today will take up the next chapter in a divisive plan to turn FM 2004 into an industrial corridor when they consider a new request to rezone a section of land.

The request to rezone land along FM 2004 comes as the city faces declining sales tax revenues and officials tout the corridor as a solution to many of the city’s financial problems.

The city in 2015 received about $2.38 million in sales tax revenue from the state comptroller’s office, records show. That number declined to $1.53 million in 2016 and down to $1.19 million this year, records show. That was about a 50 percent decline in two years.

Precipitously declining sales tax revenues and damage from Hurricane Harvey, which badly flooded the city in late August, have led city officials to institute a hiring freeze and halt capital projects.

The plan to turn FM 2004 into an industrial corridor is not without opposition, however.

Many residents opposed to the development don’t believe their voices are being heard. Mayor Dorothy Childress has said that opponents of the plan have spent too much time on social media and reading “fake news.”

Tensions were evident during a public hearing in November about city plans to rezone three parcels along FM 2004 for industrial use as residents opposed a plan to turn the area into an industrial corridor to attract businesses.

Commissioners later approved all three of those zoning changes and officials said those won’t be the last.

Today’s agenda features a public hearing and an action item on a request by Joe Wilburn and Skipper Smith to rezone an area of FM 2004 east of Avenue C, records show.

The request for a zone change to general industrial is the first since commissioners acted on the earlier three in November, records show.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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(5) comments

PD Hyatt

Well it would seem as if the old Mayor that is now the new Mayor is just the same as the old Mayor from back in the early 80's....My way or the Highway!!!! When she talks about fake news, the problem would seem as if there isn't any news unless you are in the in crowd in town.... Where are they even planning to turn FM 2004 into a industrial area? The road does seem to have a few miles related to it. Are they talking about South of town?

PD Hyatt

Why doesn't the article tell us the reader where this area is? Not for sure if I have ever heard of Ave C. I still wonder how much of the tax money went away when Baywood went away.... Something tells me that there is where all of their money has gone. What is amazing is that they say that they don't know yet I bet that they do....

Carlos Ponce

Avenue C is off FM 2004 just beyond the Republic Helicopters before you get to FM 646 South. It is part of the old Alta Loma system of lettering streets but was strip annexed by Hitchcock. Hitchcock goes all the way to the Brazoria County Line.

Jim Forsythe

Paul, I think they are still talking about  "proposal to zone for industrial use a strip of land as much as a mile wide and extending six miles along FM 2004 from the old naval air station blimp base to the Brazoria County line."

Dorothy Childress

Sorry to contradict Mr. Hyatt but I am available and always encourage all citizen input, good, bad or ugly, in addition to dealing with multitudes of Mayoral duties daily! Misunderstandings and mis-information on social media and otherwise have run rampant regarding Hitchcock zoning process that will indeed move the city forward with badly needed economic and industrial projects throughout the city, not just FM2004. Unfortunately, people do not get involved in the widely advertised and transparent meetings going on prior to finalizing these zoning issues in question. Hitchcock zoning process is clear, concise, lengthy, and followed by all involved from start to finish. The zoning official meets with applicant, begins intense research and data preparation, mapping, verification of land parcels at CAD, newspaper ads, posting public notices including agendas, consults with legal and other support staff, all required by city ordinance before he presents findings for the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) consideration. The P&Z Board holds a Public Hearing where property owners are available to respond to inquiries of persons in attendance. Then the P&Z convenes to consider all elements of the zoning request including public comments heard. The P&Z forwards its recommendation to the City Commission for their final approval. A second Public Hearing is held on the matter, same process followed, after which the matter is on the regular City Commission meeting agenda for final consideration. All of this is transparent according to law and city ordinances, leaving no part of the process to question. Unfortunately, there are those who do not take advantage of this transparency and choose to object after the fact, all of which can do no more than impede progress being made in the best interest of the future of the City of Hitchcock. Thank you Mr. Hyatt and others for your comments. Mayor Dorothy Childress

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