Conroe - Montgomery Edition - June 2022

CONROE MONTGOMERY EDITION

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 3  JUNE 17JULY 14, 2022

ONLINE AT

Revitalizing downtown

Heart of Conroe sees redevelopment eorts, inux of new businesses

BY MAEGAN KIRBY

The city of Conroe is progressing on downtown revitalization as city o- cials work on construction and beauti- cation projects and business owners open more restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues. In addition to projects such as side- walk rehabilitation and building facade upgrades, city ocials and business owners said both new and long-estab- lished businesses downtown are help- ing to make Conroe a destination for CONTINUED ON 34

New businesses and city investment are in the works for downtown revitalization in Conroe. (Maegan Kirby/Community Impact Newspaper)

2022 HEALTH CARE EDITION

Outgrowing health care providers The census reported population growth in Montgomery and Willis since 2015 while the number of health care and social service providers has grown at a slower rate. SOURCE: AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY 5YEAR ESTIMATESCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER *DATA INCLUDES ANNUAL COMMUNITY SURVEY 5YEAR ESTIMATES FROM THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU FOR ZIP CODES 77316, 77318 AND 77356.

Experts: Health care access not keeping pace with growing north Montgomery County development

MONTGOMERY, WILLIS COMBINED*

+26.5%

+17.5%

BY JISHNU NAIR

providers have lagged behind recent population growth, ocials said there is need for greater health care access in those communities. Shannan Reid, director of the CONTINUED ON 28

Thousands of future homes are being planned for the Montgomery and Willis areas, but with HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe being the nearest hospital and data showing health care

2015

2020

2015 2020

2022

HEALTH CARE EDITION

TxDOT proposes widening Hwy. 242 in Conroe

SPONSORED BY • Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital

• Lone Star College • St. Luke’s Health – The Woodlands Hospital • Watermere at Woodlands Lakes

IMPACTS

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CONROE, WE’RE GROWING FOR YOU

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center provides comprehensive and convenient care for your whole family. With our new $250 million, 8-story South Tower campus expansion, we’re taking care to a higher level. With our new ORs, new interventional labs and units for advanced care for heart, neuro, trauma and cancer patients, you can be sure to receive the specialized care you deserve, from the name you trust – Memorial Hermann.

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Advancing health. Personalizing care.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • JUNE 2022

If you know you’re at risk for heart disease, your heart’s in the right place at St. Luke’s Health – The Woodlands Hospital. From the most advanced cardiovascular risk assessment laboratory and diagnostic tools available to the leading-edge noninvasive CT coronary artery angiography—first performed in the state of Texas in October 2003—we want to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, not just settle for treating it once it happens. Our Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group physicians and specialty staff provide compassionate and comprehensive cardiovascular care, while using the latest technology to diagnose and treat heart disease. Expert cardiac care Your heart’s in the right place.

Learn more at stlukeshealth.org/locations/woodlands-north-houston-heart-center-woodlands .

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. Now in 2022, CI is still locally owned. We have expanded to include hundreds of employees, our own software platform and printing facility, and over 40 hyperlocal editions across three states with circulation to more than 2.8 million residential mailboxes.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS MONTH

FROM CHRISSY: Our annual Health Care Edition starts inside (see Page 18) this issue. As the community continues to grow, the need for increased local health care also rises. We dive into this in one of our front-page stories along with additional coverage on local health demographics, health care facilities and mental health. Chrissy Leggett, GENERAL MANAGER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROM ANNA: Multiple elected ocials were sworn into positions this month, including a new mayor in Montgomery, a new trustee in Montgomery ISD and council members in Conroe. Follow our continued city and school district coverage at communityimpact.com or subscribe to our email newsletter at communityimpact.com/newsletter. Anna Lotz, SENIOR EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

WHAT WE COVER

Sign up for our daily newsletter to receive the latest headlines direct to your inbox. communityimpact.com/ newsletter DAILY INBOX Visit our website for free access to the latest news, photos and infographics about your community and nearby cities. communityimpact.com LIVE UPDATES

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Chrissy Leggett SENIOR EDITOR Anna Lotz REPORTERS Maegan Kirby, Jishnu Nair SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Ellen Jackson ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Debbie Pfeer METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens COPY EDITOR Kasey Salisbury ART PRODUCTION MANAGER Ethan Pham CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PRESIDENT & GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES & MARKETING Tess Coverman CONTACT US 8400 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., Ste. 220, Houston, TX 77064 • 2814696181 PRESS RELEASES comnews@communityimpact.com ADVERTISING comads@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions

BUSINESS & DINING Local business development news that aects you

TRANSPORTATION & DEVELOPMENT Regular updates on area projects to keep you in the know

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • JUNE 2022

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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5 Apex Executive Suites held its grand opening ceremony May 18 in the Marcel Boulevard center in Conroe following an April 11 soft opening. The Katy-based business has oered commercial real estate spaces specializing in mixed-use and oce destinations for over 18 years. Spaces include private oces, common areas and virtual oce spaces with accom- panying plans. Apex’s Conroe location can be found at 1135 Grand Central Parkway, Ste. 250, Conroe. 936-539-4881. www.apexexecutivesuites.com 6 Clearwater Express Wash opened its Woodforest location at 768 Fish Creek Thoroughfare, Montgomery, on June 1, according to a representative of the business. The car wash chain is oer- ing its usual wash menu and unlimited express pass. 936-588-5780. www.clearwaterexpresswash.com 7 Owner Jacob Irving opened Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog food truck on June 11 at 404 Caroline St., Montgomery. The truck sells hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries and funnel cake with a variety of toppings. Irving is an incoming senior student in Montgomery ISD. 936-228-9984. www.poppopsdandydog.com 8 Greggo’s Pizza and Subs had its grand opening at 2466 FM 1488, Conroe, on June 1, according to owner Ryan d’Avignon. The restaurant features subs, pizzas, appetizers, salad and beer. 936-363-0036. www.greggospizza.com 9 Crushr is a mobile compaction truck company located at 407 Woodpecker Forest Lane, Conroe. Crushr exists to provide waste container owners fewer trips to landlls by crushing the contain- er elements. The business owner Jerry

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NOW OPEN 1 The Corndog Company had the grand opening for its food truck at 18571 Hwy. 105, Montgomery, on June 3, according to CEO Michael O’Neal. The truck features corn dogs and deep-fried desserts along with its cheese pop and cheese bomb. 936-247-3030. www.thecorndogco.com 2 Clean Juice Woodforest , a certi- ed organic juice bar, opened June 4

at 820 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 300, Montgomery. Owned by Latricia Blank, the juice bar oers juices, smoothies, wraps, salads, soups, sandwiches, acai bowls and toast as well as gluten-free options. 936-588-8182. www.cleanjuice.com/locations/woodforest 3 American State Bank opened at 1700 N. Loop 336 W., Conroe, on May 31, according to the business. The full-ser- vice bank will oer a variety of consumer and commercial products and services as

well as commercial lending. 936-494-4860. www.asbtx.com

4 Hanigan and Johnson Orthodontics was slated to open at 760 Fish Creek Thoroughfare, Ste. 1, Montgomery, on June 15, which was after press time June 14, according to Dr. James Hanigan. The orthodontist already has locations in Tomball and Magnolia and oers braces, Invisalign and TruDenta headache pain treatment. 936-534-9636. www.straighttooth.com

Nestled in Historic Montgomery, The Modern Skein is your one stop shop for hand crafted, luxury knitting and crochet supplies. Nestled in Historic Montgomery, The Modern Skein is your one stop shop for hand crafted, luxury knitting and crochet supplies. Visit us online or in-store Nestled in Historic Montgomery, The Modern Skein is your one stop shop for hand crafted, luxury knitting and crochet supplies. Nestled in Historic Montgomery, The Modern Skein is your one stop shop for hand crafted, luxury knitting and crochet supplies. Nestled in Historic Montgomery, The Modern Skein is your one stop shop for hand crafted, luxury knitting and crochet supplies. Nestled in Historic Montgomery, The Modern Skein is your one stop shop for hand crafted, luxury knitting and crochet supplies.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY MAEGAN KIRBY & PEYTON MACKENZIE

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Garages of Texas

Longview Greens Mini Golf

COURTESY GARAGES OF TEXASKATY

COURTESY LONGVIEW GREENS MINI GOLF

13 Jewels Teahouse is coming soon to Montgomery. The teahouse will open at 14351 Liberty St., Montgomery, at the end of summer. An assortment of teas, avored lemonades and coees will be available. The business will also serve up light breakfast items along with some pas- tries, soups and salads. 936-648-2501. Facebook: Jewels Teahouse 14 Garages of Texas is set to break ground in the Conroe area at the end of June. Located at 5428 FM 1488, Magnolia, the business will oer a secure location for those with luxury cars and gear. The spaces will be for purchase, not for rent, according to the company. 214-736-1706 www.garagesoftexas.com 15 ClearWater Express Wash Montgomery will open at 14700 Hwy. 105, Montgomery, in early 2023, according to the business. The car wash chain oers a wash menu and an unlimited express pass for customers. 936-588-5780. www.clearwaterexpresswash.com RELOCATIONS 16 Bubba’s Beds relocated from Tom- ball to Montgomery at 15917 Hwy. 105 W. on April 1. Bubba’s Beds is a family-owned and -operated business that oers mat- tresses, furniture, bedroom sets, pillows and more. 936-588-8178. www.facebook.com/bubbasbeds ANNIVERSARIES 17 Lone Star Family Health Care ’s Conroe location at 605 S. Conroe Medical Drive is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The federally qualied health

Malizia said the business opened June 10. 281-772-6969. www.dumpstercrushr.com 10 Lakeway EV Golf Carts is now open at 907 McCaleb Road, Montgomery, specializing in lithium-powered products, including golf carts and other electric vehicles. The store is open, but the grand opening will be in early July, according to owner Don McCain. 936-648-7840. www.lakewayev.com 11 Hunger Crush Cafe opened in early June at 15250 Hwy. 105 W., Ste. 160, Montgomery. The eatery oers breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner daily with a menu of American comfort food with a twist as well as wine and beer oerings, according to a June 9 news release. Owned by Mike and Mary Kelton, the cafe also oers outdoor seating and gives a portion of its sales from Hunger Boards—family-style meals—to the Mont- gomery County Food Bank. 936-224-7518. www.hungercrushcafe.com Generations Concierge opened in Montgomery on March 15, according to owner Sheri McBride. The business oers senior moving and service needs, in- cluding sorting and downsizing housing; coordinating care services; and daily or weekly check-ins. 936-446-6403. www.generationsconcierge.life COMING SOON 12 Shogun Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar will open at 15444 Hwy. 105, Montgomery, by mid-June, according to the business. Located beside Lake Con- roe, the chain will serve its hibachi-style

Sugar Sugar is a new candy store that opened June 10 in Woodforest.

COURTESY SUGAR SUGAR

FEATURED IMPACT NOW OPEN Sugar Sugar opened June 10 in the Woodforest community. Located at 810 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 150, Montgomery, Sugar Sugar is a candy store where customers can purchase an array of gummies, chocolate or nostalgic items. Trues, ice cream and old fashioned sodas are also for sale. 832-877-6881. www.sugarsugar.store center opened its doors in April 2002. Lone Star oers primary care services, including dental, women’s health and behavioral health services. As a federally qualied health center, it serves individ- uals on Medicare, Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program plans as well as those without insurance. 936-539-4004. www.lonestarfamilyhealth.org 18 Longview Greens Mini Golf celebrated its ve-year anniversary in Montgomery on May 5, according to the business. Located at 735 Clepper Drive, Montgomery, the mini-golf business fea- tures a Texas-themed course and oers shaved ice and soft serve ice cream from Jazzy’s Icy Treats. 936-242-0604. www.longviewgreens.com

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NEW OWNERSHIP 19 Andrea Canales became the new owner of Fleur at Woodforest as of May 1 at 820 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 200, Mont- gomery. Canales said the shop oers fresh owers from dierent countries, custom silk arrangements and in-home oral design. 936-235-2095. www.euratwoodforest.com CLOSINGS 20 The chicken wing shop Wings of Montgomery , previously known as Wings Over Montgomery, announced its closing in a May 25 Facebook post, calling it a “bittersweet” decision. Wings of Mont- gomery opened in 2020 at 14335 Liberty St., Montgomery.

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • JUNE 2022

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

June & July events

COMPILED BY MAEGAN KIRBY

08 THROUGH 10, 1417, 2224 SEE ‘GREASE’ THE MUSICAL The Crighton Theatre will have a production of “Grease.” 8 p.m. (July 8-9, 14-16, 22-23), 2 p.m. (July 10, 17, 23-24). $17-$26 (seats vary). 234 Main St., Conroe. 936-441-7469. www.crightontheatre.org 16 SHOP EARLY FOR THE HOLIDAYS Support small businesses and get holiday shopping done early at the Montgomery County Fall into the Holidays Shopping Extravaganza. Vendors will sell an array of items such as boutique clothing, home and holiday decor, handmade jewelry and gourmet food items. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free (teachers, military and rst responders with ID), $5 (admission). Lone Star Convention Center, 9055 Airport Road, Conroe. Facebook: Montgomery County Holiday Extravaganza 16 ATTEND A WATER PARTY Cool o with water slides, wading pools and toys at the city of Montgomery’s water party. Attendees are encouraged to bring sunscreen, towels, food and toys for the neighborhood-style event. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Montgomery Community Center, 14420 Liberty St., Montgomery. 936-597-6434. www.visitmontgomerytexas.com

friendly events, food trucks, vendors, inatables and live music to celebrate the Fourth of July. Attendees can also nd a spot on Heritage Place’s amphitheater for reworks beginning at 9:15 p.m. 4 p.m. (activities begin). Free (admission). Heritage Place, 500 Collins St., Conroe. 936-522-3500. www.visitconroe.com 02 ATTEND FREEDOM FEST Celebrate the Fourth of July in historic downtown Montgomery with a parade, kids zone and vendors. The parade is free to enter, and there will also be a junior creative arts show featuring baked goods, crafts, art and horticulture. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Free (admission). 14420 Liberty St., Montgomery. 936-597-5004. www.facebook.com/ The city of Conroe’s Flick-n-Float will allow attendees to watch “Finding Dory” while in the pool or relaxing on the side at the Oscar Johnson Jr. Community Center. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 7 p.m. (gates open), 8:15 p.m. (movie starts). Free (children age 2 and younger), $5 (admission). 100 Park Place, freedomfestmontgomery 08 WATCH A MOVIE IN THE WATER

JUNE 24

BE A PART OF A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD CONROE AQUATIC CENTER

The Conroe Aquatic Center and other water safety and training organizations will team up to break the world record for the largest swim lesson while helping build awareness around teaching children to swim and preventing drowning. The event is free, but attendees must register online. 10-10:30 a.m. Free. Conroe Aquatics Center, 1205 Candy Cane Lane, Conroe. 936-522-3930. www.cityofconroe.org

JUNE 24 WATCH A MOVIE IN THE PARK The city of Conroe will have a showing of “Sing 2” in the park at Heritage Place. Concessions will be available, and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. 8:15 p.m. Free (admission).

500 Metcalf St., Conroe. 936-522-3900. www.cityofconroe.org JULY 02 ATTEND STARS AND STRIPES FEST The city of Conroe’s inaugural Stars and Stripes Celebration will feature kid-

Conroe. 936-522-3930. www.cityofconroe.org

Find more or submit Conroe-Montgomery events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • JUNE 2022

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATION UPDATES Montgomery County to take over funding I-45 connector project

ONGOING PROJECT

TxDOT proposes Hwy. 242 widening

LAKE CONROE

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BY ANNA LOTZ

Proposed connector Existing connectors

BY JISHNU NAIR

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The Texas Department of Transportation is gathering input on a proposed project along Hwy. 242 between I-45 and FM 1488 in Conroe. The project proposes widening Hwy. 242 and reducing the existing vegetated median to a raised median. A meeting will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. June 23 at Suchma Elementary School, 10261 Harp- ers School Road, Conroe. Public comments must be received by July 11. A presentation will also be posted at www.txdot.gov on June 21.

Montgomery County will fund a connector between I-45 and Hwy. 242 instead of the Texas Department of Transportation, according to a May 18 update from the metropolitan plan- ning organization Houston-Galveston Area Council. The county’s director of emer- gency management, Jason Millsaps, confirmed to Community Impact Newspaper that the funding will come out of the budgets of Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley and Pre- cinct 4 Commissioner James Metts. Both Riley and Metts have previously worked on the project’s design and announced the project last spring. The new direct-connect flyover road is being designed to carry northbound travelers on I-45 onto eastbound Hwy. 242 with no traffic interruptions, as previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper .

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Hwy. 105 improvements The Texas Department of Transpor- tation is constructing raised medians and widening Hwy. 105 between FM 2854 and I-45 in the Montgomery and Conroe areas. The project also includes traffic signal modifications. As of a May 1 update—the latest avail- able update from TxDOT—the project was 18% complete. Contractor ISI is working on the project. Cost: $9.83 million Timeline: Oct. 4, 2021- third quarter 2023 Funding sources: state, federal

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The road will join existing flyovers connecting northbound I-45 to westbound Hwy. 242 and westbound Hwy. 242 to southbound I-45. Riley previously noted the new road will open as a nontolled road. The H-GAC has scheduled the proj- ect to receive $14.9 million in local funding from Montgomery County for fiscal year 2023. Ben Thompson contributed to this report.

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 31. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT COMNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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STARS Celebration

STRIPES Conroe’s

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • JUNE 2022

HIGHER EDUCATION Lone Star College System adds online campus, additional e-learning opportunities for fall 2022

LSC-ONLINE AT A GLANCE Lone Star College System’s eighth campus, LSC-Online, will be available in August. Online classes will also be available for out-of-district students.

40 staff members

BY ANDREW CHRISTMAN

Houston region. “I just think that COVID-[19] ... made more people interested in going online,” Fuller said. “There was a shift in student attitudes towards online learning.” Keshvala said target demograph- ics could include military personnel and eventual international options. LSC-Online will launch with what Keshvala said are the top transfer degrees, including Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Arts in teaching degrees. Keshvala said the degrees earned by LSC-Online students will be transferable across Texas. As of June, the cost of enrolling at LSC-Online will be the same as attending any LSCS campus. Infor- mation from LSCS states the cost of enrolling for 12 credit hours in the fall 2022 semester is around $1,080 for an in-district student.

coronavirus pandemic drove home the need for additional virtual learning options. “We know students that were taking online classes prepandemic and then all of a sudden were forced to take them [online],” Keshvala said. “We are really trying to cater to the demand that we are seeing.” The campus will launch with 40 full-time staff members from within the college system, she said. Keshvala said the purpose of offering an online campus is to increase enrollment with students who may want to focus on an online education, including out-of- district students. Matthew Fuller, director of the Center for Assessment, Research and Educational Safety with Sam Houston State University, said LSCS’ decision to launch the online campus matches a trend around the

Starting in August, the Lone Star College System will launch its eighth campus as a way for students to receive their degrees entirely online. The college may be able to eventually offer its online offerings to students across the country and internationally in the future, officials said. According to an April 11 news release from LSCS, the new campus was added in response to demand for virtual learning, and it has been in the works for nearly a decade. LSCS officials said in an email that developing the new campus has added around $2 million to the system’s general existing budget, and it also expands the scope of its e-learning offerings. Seelpa Keshvala, LSCS executive vice chancellor and LSC-Online CEO, said in a phone interview the

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT Conroe increases minimum lot size, protects smaller trees

Conroe City Council members changed lot size and vegetation ordinances in May as the city sees more residential development. APPROVED ORDINANCE CHANGES

SOURCE: CITY OF CONROE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

MINIMUM LOT SIZE

BY ANNA LOTZ

feet in 2018 because of the influx of apartments, and more affordable lots gave residents the opportunity to buy houses instead of apartments. Developers spoke during the public hearing May 26, stating they believe larger lot sizes will decrease the affordability of homes available. “When you start pushing out the common working

The ordinance determines the minimum allowable size of a subdivision lot.

Conroe City Council changed its lot size and vegetation ordinances at its May 26 meeting as city officials reassess development guidelines. Conroe City Council members voted 3-2 to increase the minimum lot size from 40-foot-wide lots to 50-foot-wide lots May 26, a decision

PREVIOUS ORDINANCE

CHANGE APPROVED MAY 26

that came just two weeks after council members voted against increasing the minimum lot

“YOU CAN’T HAVE A COMMUNITY WITHOUT DEVELOPMENT, BUT YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE A COMMUNITY

class—teachers, firefighters, the police, young military folks, they can’t go afford a $400,000 house. They’re stuck in an apartment,” said Bill Ellison, founder of affordable home

40-foot-wide lots required Minimum square feet: 4,400 0 10 ft. 20 ft. 30 ft. 40 ft.

0

10 ft.

20 ft.

30 ft.

40 ft. 50 ft.

50-foot-wide lots required Minimum square feet: 5,000

VEGETATION

size in a 2-3 vote during the May 12 meeting. Council members said they believe the pace of development needs to be slowed while city ordinances are reviewed. “This is temporary. I believe ... that we need to sit back, take a pause and try to develop the best ordinance that protects what we have here and what we’ve had here and also to grow responsibly,” Council Member Howard Wood said May 26, his first meeting in office. Council Members Curt Maddux and Todd Yancey cast the two opposing votes May 26 with Council Members Marsha Porter, Duke Coon and Wood voting for the lot size increase. On May 12, Maddux, Yancey and outgoing Council Member Raymond McDonald opposed the change. Mayor Jody Czajkoski and Coon said at a May 11 workshop that the lot size minimum was lowered to 40

The ordinance sets standards for the preservation of trees during development.

THAT HAS TREES.” DUKE COON, CONROE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER

DEC. 13, 2018, ORDINANCE

CHANGE APPROVED MAY 26 (reverts ordinance to language from before Dec. 13, 2018)

builder ASGi Homes developing Marie Village just outside the city, at the May 26 meeting. “If we don’t keep an affordable market with a smaller lot product, we’re going to push those folks out.” In an effort to preserve more trees as development picks up, City Coun- cil members also voted 3-2 on May 26 to restore its vegetation ordinance to that from before the city updated its ordinance Dec. 13, 2018. Maddux and Yancey voted against reverting the ordinance language. Community Impact Newspaper previously reported the 2018 ordi- nance increased the minimum size from 6 inches to 8 inches or greater in diameter for trees that are protected from being cut down. Therefore, reverting the ordinance to pre-2018

0 1"2"3"4"5"6" A tree measuring at least 6 inches wide is protected from being cut down.

0 1" 2"3"4"5" 6"7"8" A tree measuring at least 8 inches wide is protected from being cut down.

would protect trees at least 6 inches in diameter instead of 8 inches. Council members cautioned the move is temporary while a tree ordinance committee further refines a new ordinance. “I know everybody up here wants to preserve those trees and

understands there’s a balance. You can’t have a community without development, but you’ve got to have a community that has trees and a council that listens to those who elect us,” Coon said May 26. Maegan Kirby contributed to this report.

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • JUNE 2022

NEWS BRIEFS

State, county take steps after Uvalde shooting City Council denies pausing permits BY JISHNU NAIR & HANNAH NORTON

"I WAS SHOCKED WHEN I LEARNED THAT THERE’S A MORATORIUM PROPOSING TO BE PASSED THAT WILL BE PLACED ON NEW PERMITS."

for the formation of two special legislative committees to investigate school safety and mass violence. Locally, the Montgomery County Constable Precinct 4 oce began a program May 25 called Project SafeSchool to support school district police at Conroe ISD, New Caney ISD and Spendora ISD. Lt. James Slack of the Precinct 4 Constable’s Oce told Community Impact Newspaper in an email that deputies would be stationed in parking lots and car rider lanes and would be in contact with school front oce sta. “We will be working with the ISD police departments. If they’d like us to go further, making contact and saying ‘hello’ inside classrooms, we’d also be happy to do so,” Slack said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for a review of safety measures in Texas public schools in a letter June 1 to Kathy Martinez-Prather, director of the Texas School Safety Center, ask- ing that she ensure school districts meet over the summer to discuss safety measures and train sta. Before the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, the governor’s oce requires that all public school districts meet and address safety needs; train sta and substitute teachers on safety procedures; schedule schoolwide safety drills; and assess all building access proce- dures, such as single access points and locked classroom doors. All districts are required to com- plete these safety tasks by Sept. 1 and report their ndings by Sept. 9. The organization will then provide the governor and the Texas Legisla- ture with a statewide safety report by Oct. 1, according to the release. On June 1, Abbott also called

BY MAEGAN KIRBY

At a special City Council meeting May 31, Montgomery City Council voted against enacting a morato- rium on permits for food trucks as dened under Chapter 64 of the city’s code of ordinances. Jacob Irving, whose food truck Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog opened in June, said during the public com- ment portion of the meeting that the moratorium would have prevented him from opening even though he already paid the permit fee. “I was shocked when I learned that there’s a moratorium proposing to be passed that will be placed on new permits and that my own city would break down the spirit of a young entrepreneur; that the city elected ocials might appear to be anti-business and anti-youth,” Irving said at the meeting. Mayor Byron Sanford said a new ordinance in regard to food trucks is

JACOB IRVING, OWNER OF POP POP’S DANDY DOG FOOD TRUCK

necessary because the current one has been in eect since 1996; how- ever, Council Members T.J. Wilker- son and Casey Olson voted against the moratorium, stating Irving had met the permit qualications, and the two new council members— Olson and Cheryl Fox—are not yet versed on the ordinance. Council previously voted against changing its food truck ordinance Nov. 9, which would have required mobile food trucks to move every 48 hours and be within 300 feet of a restroom.

The Texas School Safety Center must provide Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas

Legislature with a statewide school safety report by OCTOBER 1.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Conroe and Montgomery ISDs

Montgomery ISD trustees approve purchase of buses, authorizes search for construction manager

BY ANNA LOTZ

said in the release. The release states the district authorized paying for the new buses from its general fund but plans to reimburse the general fund once bond funds have been secured. New buses and new facilities were included in Prop- osition A. Superintendent Heath Morrison said the new elementary school and high school expansion projects take priority to accommodate anticipated growth in the district. “In order to open Elementary School [No.] 7 and com- plete Phase 2 of Lake Creek in time for the 2024-25 school year, we need to begin the process of planning and design now,” Morrison said in the release. Propositions B and C included funds for athletics reno- vations and technology devices, respectively. According to the May 10 release, the district anticipates completing all the projects from the 2022 bond in four to five years.

MONTGOMERY ISD The Montgomery ISD board of trustees held a special meeting May 10 to get a jumpstart on projects included in the district’s $326.9 million bond package voters approved May 7, including approving the purchase of 15 new buses, according to a May 10 news release from the district. According to the release, trustees also authorized the district’s search for a construction manager to oversee con- struction of Elementary School No. 7 and Phase 2 of Lake Creek High School, which will be a 900-student expansion, according to previous reporting. “With a significant delay in school bus delivery due to supply chain challenges, we felt that it was important to place the order now in order to get these buses added to our fleet as soon as possible,” board President Matt Fuller

NEW TRUSTEE SWORN INTO MISD BOARD Nate Robb was sworn in as trustee to Position 7 during the board of trustees’ May 17 meeting. Robb will serve a three-year term, according to a release from the district. “I’m honored for the opportunity to serve our community as a school board member and be involved in the amazing work happening in Montgomery ISD,” Robb said in the release. “I cannot wait to get to work supporting our teachers and staff as they continue to provide an amazing education to our students.”

$43.49 MILLION for Elementary School No. 7 $27.88 MILLION for Lake Creek High School expansion SOURCE: MONTGOMERY ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

BEGINNING BOND PROJECTS Voters on May 7 approved three Montgomery ISD bond propositions totaling $326.9 million. Among other projects, the bond package includes:

$14.94 MILLION for new buses and facility improvements at both transportation centers

VIRTUAL CAMPUS OPENS IN CISD

Conroe ISD board of trustees Will meet at 6 p.m. June 21 and July 19 at 3205 W. Davis St., Conroe 936-709-7752 • www.conroeisd.net Montgomery ISD board of trustees Will meet at 6 p.m. June 21 and July 19 at 20774 Eva St., Montgomery 936-276-2000 • www.misd.org MEETINGS WE COVER Conroe ISD announced in a June 6 news release the opening of a virtual campus for district students grade five through eight in the 2022-23 academic year. The CISD Virtual School will be taught by full-time virtual teachers. Families with students wishing to attend can complete an application at https://virtual.conroeisd.net.

Bond possible within 18 months, CISD officials say

growth, said Chris McCord, assistant superintendent of operations at CISD. “Montgomery County is a great place to live, and areas within our district have been cited among the 10 fastest cities growing in the U.S.,” he said. This growth means that in addition to facilities planned through a 2019 bond referendum, another bond referendum could be required to meet future district needs, he said. McCord said a demographic study by Population and Survey Analysts is planned to begin this summer or early fall, after which the board could

decide to move forward with forming a bond committee. “A bond issue could potentially occur within the next 18 months if we were to move forward,” McCord said. “We would use a bond committee that includes community members, and they would analyze what facilities would be needed, where they would be located and what grades those would serve.” However, land availability is also an issue, he said. Obtaining parcels of land large enough for a school in the areas where they are needed is a challenge.

BY VANESSA HOLT

CONROE ISD Officials said a demo- graphics study set to begin this year will help determine whether a bond referendum is needed in the next 18 months for future districtwide facility needs. The county is experiencing rapid

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • JUNE 2022

CITY & COUNTY

News from Conroe, Montgomery & Montgomery County

County moves forward on fentanyl task force

City terminates city administrator’s contract

BY JISHNU NAIR

MONTGOMERY COUNTY Commissioners are putting together a task force to investigate fentanyl use in Montgomery County, especially among teen- age and young adult users, following discussion at a May 10 Commissioners Court session. Task force members would include Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, County Judge Mark Keough and Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker as well as representatives from the county sheriff’s office, constable precincts and the district attorney’s office. Part of the committee’s purpose will be putting forward money received from lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors that Montgomery County joined. According to Noack, the county is set to receive $3 million. County Attorney B.D. Griffin also said approximately $30 million will be available for Montgomery County to apply for. According to the National Center for Health Sta- tistics, the total reported drug overdoses in Texas increased 33% from 2020-21. “A third of our cases that have been drug related have fentanyl in their systems,” said Kathryn Pinneri, the county’s director of forensic services. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency describes fentanyl as a synthetic opioid 80-100 times stronger

RISING CONCERN Montgomery County commissioners are forming a task force to investigate fentanyl use in the county as drug-related deaths have risen in Texas. The Drug Enforcement Agency describes fentanyl as a synthetic opioid.

BY ANNA LOTZ

MONTGOMERY During a regular meeting May 24, Montgomery City Council voted 3-1 to terminate the contract with City Administrator Richard Tramm, effective May 24. Following a closed executive session, Coun- cil Member Casey Olson, who was sworn into Place 2 on May 24, made a motion to terminate the contract with Tramm for “no confidence.” Council Member T.J. Wilkerson cast the opposing vote. “I appreciate all that you’ve done. I don’t get the same feeling as my colleagues, as the people before me have got,” Wilkerson said of Tramm. Nici Browe, city secretary and director of administrative services, said in an email May 25 that the city had begun the process to work with a consultant agency to find a candidate through a nationwide search. According to the city’s website, Tramm had served as city administrator since June 2019. Council appointed Assistant City Administra- tor Dave McCorquodale interim city adminis- trator at a special May 31 meeting.

The total reported drug overdoses in Texas increased

Synthetic opioid overdose deaths nationwide rose

33% 55.6%

from 2020-21.

from 2020-21.

than morphine, initially designed to relieve pain in cancer patients. Potential solutions put forward included expand- ing access to naloxone, a narcotic that can reverse an overdose. Commissioners unanimously approved the formation of the task force. Noack’s Chief of Staff Evan Besong told Community Impact Newspaper there was no time frame on when the task force will move forward on any items. SOURCES: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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