League City leaders are right to be actively planning how they wish to see the community grow in the coming years. Not doing so would risk not only the quality of life for the more than 100,000 current residents, but the future of the city and surrounding communities in Galveston County.
League City is the fastest growing city in the state with a population of more than 102,000 residents. Projections point to 143,000 by 2027. All of this equates to both opportunity and risk.
The city of Houston many times served as an example of what an environment absent of strategic planning and zoning can result in — rogue pockmarks of investment and development creating challenges for the surrounding areas. And doing so makes a city’s planning for infrastructure difficult, bordering on impossible.
Want to see an example? Simply hop off the interstate while passing through the city of Houston and see what unbridled development can result in over a longer period of time.
League City and Galveston County deserve better.
A large part of the southwestern part of the city is undeveloped and is the most likely place to put new residential neighborhoods with grocery stores and gas stations. Residents will need roads for all those new houses and stores. And they will need water and sewer lines as well.
Although many city officials thought that residential and commercial development on the undeveloped west side of the city would wait until the Texas Department of Transportation built the Grand Parkway, that no longer seems to be true.
“In the past year, we’ve had a lot of discussions with developers who are starting to take steps to develop that area without the Grand Parkway,” League City planning manager Kris Carpenter said.
Having a strategic land use plan in place allows for residents to come together, discuss and determine what they wish to see in the future. Land use, while not a sexy subject, is a critical and often difficult discussion. The balance of property owners’ rights weighed against those of the community as a whole can become sticky.
The politics of land use are never easy — particularly in Texas with a historic tradition of private party ownership rights. But if governmental funding or quality private investments are to come to a community, a solid and agreed upon land use plan must be in place. One thing for sure is good investments rarely end up where the playing field is unknown or uncertain.
League City, in the midst of a period of transformative population growth, is right to be asking and determining the landscape for the next decade or more.
To ignore this basic discussion and process would be dangerous for both League City and Galveston County.
• Leonard Woolsey