Katy Edition | May 2022

KATY EDITION

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 9  MAY 18JUNE 21, 2022

ONLINE AT

Parks plan aims to connect community

The city of Katy is dedicating resources to a more robust parks program due to funding from the 2021 parks bond and the parks, trails and recreation master plan in an eort to improve residents’ quality of life. PARKS AND RECREATION FOCUSED $4M of the parks bond is dedicated to hike and bike trails. 3-5 MILES of trails will be built from First Street to Leyendecker Landing. $200K of bond funding will go toward a new parks administration facility. 4 large parks projects are ongoing throughout the city.

BY ASIA ARMOUR

The city of Katy is in the midst of a collaborative eort to construct its parks, trails and recreation master plan. The plan will build on several ongoing parks projects that aim to connect the community and improve the quality of Katy’s parks system, city ocials said. Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Browne, who took on the role in July 2021, said the parks mas- ter plan is the second-highest priority for Katy City Council this year, second to the comprehensive plan that will construct a plan for city’s next two decades. “Trac is not going to get any better,” Browne

SOURCE: CITY OF KATYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

KatyaMorzhueva, the owner of Cool Cat Cycles, rides along aWillowFork Drainage District trail. With Katy’s parks, trails and recreationmaster plan, there could be an opportunity for collaboration to connect the new trails system to others in the area.

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OVERDOSES Opioid The number of reported opioid overdose calls the Katy Fire Department responds to has risen since 2017, as has the percentage of those calls that resulted in an emergency room visit.

Opioid overdose deaths have risen in Texas since the pandemic began in 2020, but ocials with Fort Bend and Harris counties said initiatives have been implemented during the pandemic to help prevent a dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an opioid is dened as a class of drugs that includes heroin; synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl; and prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, BY ALLY BOLENDER, JISHNU NAIR & SIERRA ROZEN Local agencies respond to rising opioid overdoses

hydrocodone, codeine and morphine. Information from the Texas attorney general’s oce indicates drug overdose deaths increased by around 32% in 2020 from the previous year, driven primarily by opioids. Additionally, provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics showed opioid overdose deaths nearly doubled in Texas from Janu- ary 2019 to January 2021, and there was a 30% increase in deaths from November 2020 to November 2021, the most recent data available. “These are diseases of despair that we’re dealing with,” said Tyler Varisco, a health services researcher with the University of Houston. “When people are eco- nomically challenged or psychologically challenged CONTINUED ON 28

Overdose calls to service

Taken to ER

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*AS OF APRIL 30 SOURCE: KATY FIRE DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

GrandParkway projects to ease congestion

IMPACTS

TODO LIST

TRANSPORTATION

PATIO GUIDE

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2022

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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. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: For our May issue, we included some coverage that highlights nature, outdoor recreation and enjoying fresh air. In our front-page story, we dove into the details regarding some upcoming changes to local parks in Katy. We also included an al fresco dining guide with a collection of the best patio restaurants in town (see Page 21). Amy Martinez, GENERALMANAGER

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.

FROMLAURA: This month, you may notice a slight change in my byline. In April, I made the switch from Laura Aebi to Laura Robb after marrying my partner of nine years, Hunter Robb. Both the wedding and honeymoon were wonderful—but I am thrilled to be back to work, and I’m ready to bring you the best hyperlocal news from throughout the Katy area. Laura Robb, EDITOR

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

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BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

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

SCHOOL, CITY & COUNTY We attend area meetings to keep you informed

GRAPHIC DESIGNER La’Toya Smith ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Tracy Drewa METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Kelly Schaer ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Kaitlin Schmidt CORPORATE LEADERSHIP GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES &MARKETING DIRECTOR Tess Coverman CONTACT US

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2022

IMPACTS

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

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4 JLB Eatery , the restaurant previ- ously known as Joy Love Burger, opened April 14 at 5815 Franz Road, Ste. A, Katy. JLB Eatery has another Katy-ar- ea location at Cross Creek Ranch. The restaurant serves American cuisine, such as Angus burgers, Cajun wings, fish and chips, pork chops, sandwiches, french fries and onion rings. 832-617-4433. www.facebook.com/jlbeateryfulshear 5 Kilwins , a locally-owned and -oper- ated dessert shop, opened a store April 4 inside Katy Mills mall at 5000 Katy Mills Circle, Ste. 670, Katy. The business serves chocolates, fudge, ice cream and other sweet treats. Freshly made confections, such as caramel apples, caramel corn and brittle, and waffle cones are also avail- able. 346-306-0196. www.kilwins.com/ stores/kilwins-katy-mills 6 Tarator Mediterranean Grill opened in March at 450 Mason Road, Katy. The restaurant’s menu includes a variety of Mediterranean dishes, such as hummus, kabis, tabbouleh, falafel bites, beef kebabs, chicken shawarma, lamb lollipops and baklava. It also offers catering ser- vices. 281-396-4731. www.tarator.us COMING SOON 7 Brett’s BBQ Shop has pushed back its opening date after originally saying it would open in early 2022. The second location is set to open in June at 25220 Kingsland Blvd., Katy, in the Boardwalk Crossing shopping center, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Brett’s also has a location at 606 S. Mason Road, Katy, which will transition into a new concept incorporating Brett’s BBQ fare. The bar-

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NOWOPEN 1 The Katy Police Department opened a new substation April 23 inside Katy Mills mall at 5000 Katy Mills Circle, Ste. 659, Katy. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was coupled with the annual Katy-Area Safety Fest. 281-391-4848. www.cityofkaty.com/ government/city-departments/police- department 2 A psychological clinic that also provides treatment for sleep disorders

opened at 24044 Cinco Village Center Blvd., Ste. 100, Katy. The Thomas Speer, Ph.D. practice opened April 1. Patients can schedule 25-, 45- or 60-minute solo sessions or 90-minute group sessions for services centered around sleep and adjustment disorders, anxiety, depres- sion, medical-professional stress and daytime sleepiness. 281-815-0538. www.tkspeer.clientsecure.me 3 Houston-founded Tex-Mex restaurant Fajita Pete’s opened another Katy-area

location in the Seven Lakes neighborhood April 18 at 9615 Spring Green Blvd., Ste. 300, Katy. The newest franchise provides catering services to parties up to 100 people and offers free delivery to homes and offices. Fajita Pete’s serves chicken, beef, veggie, carnitas and shrimp fajita plates. The restaurant offers family pack- ages, margaritas and desserts. Customers can also order other Tex-Mex dishes for takeout or delivery. 281-665-8415. www.fajitapetes.com

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COMPILED BY ASIA ARMOUR, SIERRA ROZEN & CYNTHIA ZELAYA

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Kilwins

The Local Table

COURTESY KILWINS

COURTESY THE LOCAL TABLE

becue shop sells items such as sausage, ribs and mac and cheese. 281-392-7666. https://brettsbbqshop.square.site 8 Flavors on Fire , a business that hosts individualized cooking classes, parties, kids cooking camps and private events, is moving from a backyard setting to a studio this June. The studio, located at 1806 Ave. D, Ste. 102, Katy, will offer hands-on cook- ing classes where participants will prep, cook and enjoy a variety of boldly flavored foods prepared over an open fire, chef and owner Tim van Ee said. The Flavors on Fire studio will also provide a chef’s table dining experience that can be booked in groups or as a date night. 844-366-3473. www.flavorsonfirehouston.com 9 Family-owned Tex Mex restaurant Los Perez is coming to Katy this summer. The newest location at 3211 W. Grand Parkway, Ste. 100, Katy will serve all the classics, such as burritos, quesadillas, taco plates, carne asada, camarones diablo and fajitas. The restaurant’s other location at 9439 Hwy. 6 S., Houston, will remain open. www.losperezmexicanrestaurant.com RELOCATIONS 10 The Local Table at Villagio Town Center, 22756 Westheimer Parkway, Ste. 100, Katy, will relocate to a larger space in mid-July. The new space at 24033 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy, will house the same staff but cater to a larger crowd. Local Table uses fresh, locally sourced produce to create its fare, which includes burgers, gyros, pasta and more. 832-913-6150. www.eatatlocaltable.com 11 InStyle Fashion Resale closed its store at 14130 Westheimer Road, Hous-

ton, on Feb. 11 and relocated to a new shop at 354 S. Mason, Katy, on March 12. The boutique sells gently-used clothing for women and men from brands like Bebe, Zara, Levi, Coach, Steve Madden, Prada and Chanel at reduced prices. 281-741-9225. www.facebook.com/ instylefashionresale ErmaRose Winery will relocate after the winery closed its 3130 Katy Hockley Cutoff Road, Katy, location April 10. ErmaRose wines can still be purchased online and in select stores, and the busi- ness will also offer private and virtual tastings. ErmaRose Winery specializes in a variety of fruit wines. According to the winery’s Facebook page, it does not have a set date for the new location open- ing and cannot reveal the new address until it acquires permits. 832-269-4332. 12 KD Music & Arts will celebrate 30 years of business in Katy this June. KD’s offers in-person and virtual small-group music classes and intensive private music lessons for children, teens, adults and seniors. The business, located at 20225 Katy Freeway, also rents, sells and re- pairs instruments and provides band and orchestra accessories. It also provides piano-tuning services. 281-828-1500. www.kdmusicandarts.com NAME CHANGES 13 The Katy Prairie Conservancy changed its name to the Coastal Prairie Conservancy on May 5. The change signi- fies the broader reach of the organization, www.ermarosewinery.com ANNIVERSARIES

The restaurant serves burritos, salads, bowls and fish tacos.

COURTESY CABO BOB'S

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON Cabo Bob’s , an Austin-based burrito restaurant with a seafood twist, is expanding its presence in Houston with three new eateries, including one in Katy. The Katy location will open this summer at 740 Mason Road, Katy. The theme of each restaurant is based on dierent surng hot spots, and the food reects the taste of Cabo Pulmo, Cabo Bob’s owner Don Brinkman said. “You have a lot of surfers here [in Houston], and they get it; they get the sh tacos,” Brinkman said. Inspired by the food of coastal California and the surfer mentality, Brinkman opened the original Cabo Bob’s in Austin with his wife, Terri Brinkman, in 2008. When he moved forward with the Houston expansion, Brinkman licensed to local franchisee Bob Hauser to choose the best location which aims to conserve Texas prairies and wetlands. President and CEO Mary Anne Piacentini said while the Katy Prairie is still a focus for the organization, it plans to continue that expansion to the Gulf Coast. The organization has an office at 31975 Hebert Road, Waller. 713-523-6135. www.coastalprairieconservancy.org

and run the new establishment. The rst Houston location at 1810 Fountain View Drive, which opened in late 2019, is already popular with the locals, Brinkman said. Two other locations will also open this summer at 7103 Cutten Road, Houston, in the Willowbrook Mall and in Meadows Place at 11940 Southwest Freeway. 281-396-4087. www.cabobobs.com

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CLOSINGS 14 The Original Marini’s Empanada House closed at 3522 S. Mason Road, Ste. 100, Katy, on April 16 to find a new location in the city, according to its web- site. No timeline has been identified for reopening. www.theoriginalmarinis.com

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2022

TODO LIST

May & June events

COMPILED BY CYNTHIA ZELAYA

independence from France with traditional food, music and family-friendly activities. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Park, 4025 Eldridge Parkway, Houston. 832-945-1448. www.houstonhaitiansunited.org 22 FISHWITH FRIENDS Vamos A Pescar is joining forces with Fishing’s Future and Texas Parks and Wildlife to host a free shing event at Mary Jo Peckham Park. For those who enjoy shing or are beginners, the combination of online and in-person classes will teach shing, safety, cleaning and cooking. 4-6 p.m. Free. Mary Jo Peckham Park, 5597 Gardenia Lane, Katy. 832-202-5221. www.shingsfuture.com 22 CREATE ART FROM CRUSHED GLASS Primary Paint Party will host a crushed- glass art class at Prime Art Gallery. The class will guide participants in making a piece using crushed glass and resin. Materials are included in the class fee. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $55. Prime Art Gallery, 11002 Westheimer Road, Houston. 281-974-1533. www.primarypaintparty.com 27 LINE DANCE TO FITNESS Norma Perez of Swaybody and Fitness will host a line dance and cardio class at Cane Island Community Center’s

yoga studio. The class will teach line dancers the “Footloose” line dance, “Copperhead Road” line dance and a bonus surprise at the end. Spaces are limited. 5:30-7 p.m. $15. Cane Island Community Center’s yoga studio, 2100 Cane Island Parkway, Katy. 832-267-8944. www.eventbrite.com JUNE 04 LEARN EMBROIDERY McDougal Sewing Center will host a class on basic embroidery using a sewing machine. These classes are open to beginners and intermediate students. Students are encouraged to bring their own sewing machine in addition to other supplies. 1-3 p.m. $75. McDougal Main Store, 20141 Park Row, Katy. 281-347-0453. www.mcdougalsewing.com 10 TWIRL LIKE STEVIE Nightbird, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, will perform at Central Green Park. The band performs songs from Fleetwood Mac’s discography and Stevie Nicks’ solo career in full costume and character. 7:30- 9:30 p.m. Free. Central Green Park, 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy. 713-332-0161. www.nightbirdocial.com

The event encourages guests to bring their own Bible.

JUNE 18

RUN FOR BEER NO LABEL BREWING CO.

FEATURED EVENT MAY02 BEERANDBIBLE STUDY The Bibles & Beer study, led by Johnathan Stone, meets twice a month on Monday nights at The Local Bar to study the Bible and enjoy beer. Bibles & Beer is a mixed-gender event, and attendees are welcome to bring their own Bible. Additionally, newcomers get a free rst round of beer, and appetizers are free. The Local Bar 22756 Westheimer Parkway, Ste. 190, Katy. 7-8:30 p.m. Free. 281-659-6579. www.biblesandbeer.com

MAY 21 CELEBRATE HAITI The annual Haiti Flag Day picnic hosted by Houston Haitians United will be held at Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Park. The event will celebrate the adoption of the Haitian ag and its This 5K Beer Run will be walker and stroller friendly. Registered runners will receive a T-shirt, a pint glass and a beer ight. Event proceeds benet the Rotaract Club of West Katy. 8 a.m. $45-$65. No Label Brewing Co., 5351 First St., Katy. 713-332-0161. www.runintexas.com/beerrun

Find more or submit Katy-area 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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Compass i s a l icensed real estate broker. Al l material i s intended for informational purposes only and i s compi led from sources deemed rel iable but i s subject to errors, omi ssions, changes in price, condi tion, sale, or wi thdrawal wi thout notice. No statement i s made as to the accuracy of any description or measurements (including square footage). Thi s i s not intended to sol ici t property al ready l i sted. No financial or legal advice provided. Equal Housing Opportuni ty.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Agencieswork to alleviateGrandParkway trac

COMPILED BY ASIA ARMOUR & MIKAH BOYD

ONGOING PROJECTS

PRAIRIE PKWY.

Congestion has been building along the Grand Parkway between FM 1093/ Westpark Tollway and the Katy Free- way for some time, Fort Bend County ocials said. Fort Bend County, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority are coordinating on three projects to alleviate the congestion. Fort Bend County Engineer Ike Akinwande said the area is a focal point for Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales, who is pushing for accelerating the design and the con- struction of projects that will extend Grand Parkway’s main lanes and add frontage roads. Meanwhile, the FBCTRA is the managing agency behind creating two connectors going east and westbound fromWestpark Tollway to Grand Parkway northbound, FBCTRA Chief Operating Ocer Mike Stone said. “The most signicant impact of [this] project will be the reduction of turning movement in the intersection, particularly the left-hand turns from eastbound to northbound,” Stone said. Collaborativeeort The roughly $48 millionWestpark Tollway to Grand Parkway connector project aims to provide drivers easier and faster access to the parkway, FBC- TRA ProgramManager Phillip Smith said in an email. The project is funded by toll road revenue bonds and from partnering special districts, he said. Though construction was initially expected to begin by mid-2020, progress was halted, and construction instead began in January and will end in summer 2024, Smith said. Meanwhile, TxDOT is designing

PARKWAY PROJECTS

County and state entities are collaborating on several projects happening around the Grand Parkway and Westpark Tollway intersection.

LAKEVIEW WAY

Grand Parkway widening The TxDOT project will add a third lane to the existing northbound and southbound lanes between FM 1093 and Kingsland Boulevard. Cost: $99.5 million Timeline: November-TBD Grand Parkway frontage roads Seven projects will extend Grand Parkway’s frontage roads northbound from Fry Road to Highland Knolls Drive and southbound from Highland Knolls to FM 1093. Cost: $90.45 million Timeline: winter 2022-TBD Westpark Tollway, Grand Parkway connector It will create two connector roads going east and westbound from Westpark Tollway to Grand Parkway northbound. Cost: $48 million Timeline: January-summer 2024

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Prairie Parkway extension The Katy Development Authority is extending the four-lane Prairie Parkway from Boardwalk Drive to Kingsland Boulevard and adding pull- in parking to create mobility within the Katy Boardwalk District. Timeline: May-August Cost: $1.86 million Funding source: KDA cash funds

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Hwy. 6 resurfacing Texas Department of Transportation ocials will spearhead a resurfacing project along an 8.5-mile portion of Hwy. 6 north of the Katy area. The project will involve the resurfacing of roadways to eliminate cracks and potholes. The rst section of work will extend from Hwy. 290 to Aspenglenn Drive, and the second will stretch from Aspenglenn Drive to Park Row. Timeline: May-second quarter 2023 Cost: $8.98 million Funding source: TxDOT 2ND SECTION

SOURCES: FORT BEND COUNTY, FORT BEND COUNTY TOLL ROAD AUTHORITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

another Grand Parkway project that will add a third lane to the existing northbound and southbound main lanes betweenWestpark Tollway and Kingsland Boulevard, TxDOT Public Information Ocer Deidrea George said. The roughly $99.5 million project will be sent to bid in August with construction set to start in November. Fort Bend County is also construct- ing two-lane frontage roads alongside Grand Parkway. Seven projects totaling $90.45 million will extend the northbound frontage road from Fry

Road up to Highland Knolls Drive, and the southbound frontage roads will run fromHighland Knolls to FM 1093. Work on the rst two segments will begin this winter: southbound front- age roads fromWestheimer Parkway to Cinco Ranch Boulevard and Fry Road to FM 1093, Akinwande said. Other segments will begin between winter 2023 and early 2025. Fort Bend County’s 2020 mobility bond will fund much of the projects’ design, but con- struction funding for some segments is still being determined, he said.

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 12. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT KTYNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2022

Contact me for all your Real Estate needs! LINDA LEIBY 281-610-8644 23922 Cinco Village Center Blvd #123 Katy, TX 77494

Linda.Leiby@garygreene.com www.LindaLeiby.com

©2016 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Better Homes and Gardens ® is a registered trademark of Meredith Corporation licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Franchise is Independently Owned and Operated. If your property is currently listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

REAL ESTATE Counties see appraisal increases BY ASIA ARMOUR & SHAWN ARRAJJ

Both counties saw appraisal values

climb significantly in 2021. APPRAISAL FIGURES

significantly. “Value increases this year have been unprecedented,” Altinger said in a statement. “In my almost 40 years in the real estate business, I have never, ever seen such large increases in market values.” In 2021, residential properties in Harris County rose by around 9%, according to the HCAD. The median sales price of single-family homes in the county was $300,000 in 2021, a 15.4% increase over 2020, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. As market values continue to increase, Weiss said, so will the tax burden on homeowners—who on average will see those values go up 28% in Fort Bend County. Data collected by the FBCAD showed in 2021, Fort Bend County had a $76.5 billion market value in residen- tial properties. That has increased by 31%—or about $25 billion—in 2022. Weiss called the market value increase from 2021-22 “irrational” compared to previous years.

Market trends show the appraised value of residential properties in Fort Bend County increasing rapidly with record lows in property inventory and interest rates, according to Jordan Weiss, chief appraiser for the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District. Similarly, residential property values in Harris County are expected to rise by 15%-30% this spring, according to the Harris County Appraisal District. For more than 95% of residential properties, the increase will be higher than 20%, Harris County Chief Appraiser Roland Altinger said. Harris County homes in all price ranges saw value increases of 21% this year. Weiss pointed out the price of starter homes has also increased significantly. “The idea of the $150,000 or $175,000 starter home continues to evaporate,” he said. “A starter home is now $250,000, if you’re lucky, but in many cases it’s closer to $300,000.” Similarly, Altinger also said the Harris County market has evolved

Fort Bend County

Harris County

rise in cost among residential properties in Harris County in 2021 8%-10% of residential properties will see an average increase of more than 20% 95% was the median sales price of single-family homes in Harris County in 2021, a 15.4% increase from 2020 $300K

of all property value across the county is in residential properties 76% exemption applications filed in the first quarter of 2022, which is about what they receive in an average year 9,000

$76.5 billion residential property market value in 2021 increased to $100.5 billion in 2022

31%

SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY APPRAISAL DISTRICT, FORT BEND CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICT, HOUSTON ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

“Historically, the data ... regarding homesteads is that in any given year, about 23,000-25,000 homes end up hitting their homestead cap, meaning their market value has increased by more than $10,000,” he said. “County- wide, that data this year is 169,000 [homes], meaning that the market has gone, quite frankly, irrational.” Weiss identified several factors

that are driving the high values: low interest rates that are now increas- ing, inflated construction costs, economic stimulus from the federal government, continued demand for better work-from-home amenities, historically low supplies, out-of-area relocations, and corporate buying. Property owners in both counties had until May 16 to protest the appraisal.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATION TxDOT declares 2021 second-deadliest year for Texas roadways; trac deaths up 15%over 2020

BY MIKAH BOYD

decisions made by people that could have potentially saved 2,741 lives.” Art Markman, a psychology professor at The University of Texas, informed TxDOT leaders and trans- portation stakeholders at the annual Texas Transportation Forum in February about coronavirus-related pressures that have had a negative impact on Texas roadways. “We have to start considering everyone as part of our community,” Markman said. “If we don’t do that, there are going to be all sorts of nega- tive consequences, and those are going to include negative consequences on the road.” The release provided information on initiatives TxDOT is researching to aid in roadway safety. Initiatives include trac safety campaigns and law enforcement funding grants as well as proven life-saving roadway designs. TxDOT is also reviewing crash data to identify areas where drivers are more likely to crash and will use its ndings to focus initiatives on those areas.

TRAFFIC TRAGEDIES While most trac crashes did not result in injuries, thousands of Texans died

Roadways are becoming increas- ingly deadly, according to a news release from the Texas Department of Transportation that detailed ndings that are part of a larger issue nation- wide. TxDOT reported more than 4,480 deaths on Texas roads in 2021, only a little behind 1981, the deadliest year to date with over 4,701 deaths. Roadway deaths are rising nation- wide. Ocials reported an estimated 20,160 people died from vehicular crashes in the rst half of 2021, 18.4% higher than in 2020. Texas saw an increase of almost 15% from 2020-21. “Driver behavior is one of the causes but also one of the most important solutions,” Transportation Commis- sioner Laura Ryan said in a release. “We all have a role. TxDOT can do more, and we accept that responsibil- ity. The driving public can do more. ... In 2021, a total of 1,522 people were killed because of speed, and a total of 1,219 were killed because they were not wearing a seat belt. These were

or faced serious injuries on the roads in 2021. Reported vehicle crashes in Texas in 2021

Noninjuries

1.07M

137.4K Possible injuries 100.4K Unknown injuries

“WEMUST DOBETTERFOR OURSELVES, OUR LOVED ONES ANDOUR LARGER COMMUNITYOF TEXANS.” LAURA RYAN, TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER

82.5K Suspected minor injuries 19.4K Suspected serious injuries

4.5K Fatalities

SOURCE: TEXAS PEACE OFFICER’S CRASH REPORTSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Ocials within the agency believe the implementation of the above initiatives and focusing on engineering and enforcement will greatly reduce the number of deaths on Texas roads. “This is an urgent call to action for

all of us behind the wheel,” Ryan said. “We can do better. We should do bet- ter. We must do better—for ourselves, our loved ones and our larger commu- nity of Texans. Not a single death on our roadways is acceptable.”

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Katy ISD & Lamar CISD

COMPILED BY ASIA ARMOUR & LAURA ROBB

QUOTEOFNOTE

District approves addition to Schmalz Elementary

“OURGOAL IS TOMINIMIZE PORTABLES. I CAN’T PROMISE THATWE’LL GET RIDOF EVERYONE, BUT OURGOAL ... IS TOGET THE KIDDOS INSIDE.” TED VIERLING, KATY ISD’S CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER NUMBER TOKNOW Katy ISD’s May 7 election. 5.04% of area voters participated in

KATY ISD The board of trustees at Katy ISD voted to approve the design for renovations to Schmalz Elementary School, which is located at 18605 Green LandWay, Houston, at the April 26 board meeting. The renovations will include the addition of six prekin- dergarten classrooms, six specialty classrooms, one support sta suite and the revamp of the existing school interior. Existing portables will be removed from the campus and replaced by additional green space and the new addition, which will house the new classrooms. “As we’ve looked at adding an addition, we’re looking at adding on to the southwest of the building,” said Lisa Kassman, executive director of facilities, planning and construction. “This allows us to add additional classrooms of six kindergarten and six pre-K classrooms. It also allows us to reorganize the existing spaces into the groupings of classrooms that we can group by grade. ... This also will free up for outdoor space and allow that playground space that Principal [Charlotte] Gilder has been looking for.” According to the presentation, project goals include minimizing portables on campus, bringing students into the existing building, building the new addition to provide a safe

Elementary updates The renovations include the addition of six prekindergarten classrooms, six academic specialty classrooms and one support sta suite as well as the revamp of the existing school interior.

BARKERS RUN

GREEN LAND WAY

BARKERS FOREST LN.

PINEY FOREST DR.

N

SOURCE: KATY ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

route to the playground from the cafeteria, increasing the amount of outdoor play space and more. “Our goal is to minimize portables,” KISD Chief Operations Ocer Ted Vierling said. “I can’t promise that we’ll get rid of every one, but our goal ... is to get the kiddos inside.” According to the meeting, the next step will be the presen- tation of the bid to the board July 25. The renovations, which cost $7.13 million, should be completed by August 2023.

Courtesy Lamar CISD

DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS LAMAR CISD The district broke ground on Bernard Clifton Terrell Jr. Elementary School in Candela, a master-planned community in Richmond, in April, according to a Lamar CISD release from Candela representatives. Bernard Clifton Terrell Jr. Elementary School, located at 26229 Fulshear Gaston Road, was funded by a voter- approved 2017 bond. It will be the district’s 30th school and is slated to open in 2023. According to the release, LCISD is Texas’ fth fastest- growing school district. The district estimates enrollment will go up by 67% by the 2030-31 school year. The Katy ISD board of trustees typically meets once per month on Mondays. The board will meet next at 5 p.m. June 27 at 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Katy. 281-396-6000. www.katyisd.org MEETINGSWE COVER

Katy ISDelection names two trustees KATY ISD Unocial May 7 election results show Victor Perez won the race for Katy ISD trustee Position 1 with 51.3% of the votes. He beat incumbent Donald Keller, who followed with 24.2%. Eliz Markowitz had 18.5%; Cicely Taylor had 4.5%; and Saki Krishnamurthy had 1.5%. Incumbent Lance Redmon won his re-election bid for Position 2 with 41.11% of the vote. Bonnie Anderson secured 37.7%, while Patricia Haggard took 21.19%. All votes are unocial until canvassed.

Katy ISDboard of trustees approves Sanée Bell as a newassistant superintendent

KATY ISD Sanée Bell was selected to be the new assistant superin- tendent for teaching and learning March 28. Her prior role was executive director for secondary teaching and learning. Bell brings 22 years of experience to the role. According to a KISD news release, she held the role of assistant principal at West Memorial Junior High and WoodCreek Junior High before becoming principal of Cimarron Elementary School. In 2016, she became the principal

of Morton Ranch Junior High until accepting the position of executive director

of secondary teaching and learning in 2021. “The teaching and learning Sanée Bell division will focus on ensuring that the more than 90,000 students we support are engaging in learning experiences that prepare them for their future,” Bell said in the release.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Katy, Harris County & Fort Bend County

NUMBER TOKNOW awarded by Fort Bend County Commissioners Court to seven local nonprots $404,578 LOCAL HIGHLIGHTS HARRIS COUNTY Three Harris County senior employees are facing indictments for the felony charges of misuse of ocial information and tampering with records as of April 11, according to Harris County district clerk online records. The indictments come one month after search warrants were rst executed in connection with a controversial county contract. Aaron Dunn, Wallis Nader and Alex Triantaphyllis are each facing warrants for their arrests for the criminal charges, according to the district clerk’s records. HARRIS COUNTY Commissioners in Harris County approved the allocation of federal pandemic relief money to fund prosecutor positions at the district attorney’s oce at their April 5 meeting after hearing an update on the county’s criminal court case backlog—which consists of 24,000 misdemeanor cases more than six months old and 18,000 felony cases more than a year old, ocials said. Katy City Council meets the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is May 23 at 910 Ave. C, Katy. 281-391-4800. www.cityoaty.com Harris County Commissioners Court usually meets Tuesday mornings twice a month. The next meeting is May 24 at 1001 Preston Ave., Ste. 934, Houston. 713-755-5000. www.harriscountytx.gov Fort Bend County Commissioners Court meets at 1 p.m. the rst, second and fourth Tuesdays each month. The next meeting is May 24 at 401 Jackson St., Richmond. 281-342-3411. www.fortbendcountytx.gov MEETINGSWE COVER

City denies rezoning request

Katy City Council moves forwardwith redistrictedmap

BY ASIA ARMOUR

top of that.” Pertile also said the City Council could vote to make zoning adjust- ments. Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris motioned to start the process of rezoning the north side of Franz Road from commercial to residential space as soon as possible in an eort to have both sides of the road zoned the same way. Harris’ motion passed, starting the process of getting the rezoning item before City Council on May 23.

KATY On April 11, Katy City Council denied a request to rezone 17 acres of residential land as commercial use near the Pine Meadows neigh- borhood. This came after city sta recommended the denial and 14 residents spoke up in opposition at the April 11 hearing. The area, designated as residential single-family land, is located at the southwest intersection of Franz Court and Avenue D. Ocials at a Feb. 8 Katy Planning and Zoning Commission meeting rec- ommended the denial based on the request’s timing, citing commercial land uses are slated to be updated in May and a future land use plan is being developed as part of Katy’s new comprehensive plan. That plan will be nalized in spring 2023. City ocials described Franz Road as a high-interest area based on the public hearing. According to City Attorney Arthur Pertile III, city ocials must base zoning maps and ordinances on the comprehensive plan. “That is why you do your com- prehensive plan rst,” Pertile said. “Then you overlay your zoning on

BY ASIA ARMOUR

KATY Ocials in Katy are deter- mining new boundaries for Ward A and Ward B, per an April 11 meet- ing. Gunnar Seaquist from the legal team of Bickersta Heath Delgado Acosta LLP presented a potential remapping at the meeting. The redistricting will redraw boundaries for electoral districts, per the Texas comptroller’s website. Katy’s population, according to data from the 2020 census, is 21,949 people. To comply with requirements, that population must be equally distributed in each district. Thus the ideal size of each ward is roughly 10,975 people, Seaquist said . There are 10,139 people residing in Ward A, Seaquist said, with 11,810 in Ward B. City Council will present the map at a May 23 public hearing.

REQUEST DENIED

A request made by residents in the southwest corner of Franz Road and Avenue D to change the area from residential single-family zoning to commercial property zoning was denied by Katy City Council on April 11.

FRANZ RD.

DATE TO KNOW A public hearing at 6:30 p.m. will collect resident input on the map. MAY 23

PINE MEADOWDR.

N

SOURCE: CITY OF KATY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CountyocialsawardCDBGfunding BY ASIA ARMOUR FORT BEND COUNTY Seven nonprot organizations in Fort Bend County were awarded $404,578 from Commu- nity Development Block Grant funds by commissioners on April 12 as part of the scal year 2021-22 Consolidated Annual Action Plan approved in September. The CDBG Entitlement Program is administered by

the Fort Bend County Community Development Depart- ment, which develops programs and funding priorities, according to county documents. The program aims to develop viable urban communities to benet low- and moderate-income residents. Fort Bend County ocials are still in the process of developing its 2021 action plan for the com- munity development department, according to Fort Bend County’s website.

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2022

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