Bellaire - Meyerland - West University | August 2023


News from Bellaire, Harris County & West University Place

Harris County Commissioners Court will meet for its regular meeting at 10 a.m. Aug. 8 at 1001 Preston St., Ste. 934, Houston. Meetings are livestreamed at Bellaire City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at 7008 S. Rice Ave., Bellaire. West University Place City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at 3800 University Blvd., West University Place. Houston City Council will meet for public comment at 2 p.m. Aug. 8 and regular business at 9 a.m. Aug. 9 at City Hall, 901 Bagby St., Houston. MEETINGS WE COVER HIGHLIGHTS BELLAIRE The future of Bellaire’s downtown commercial corridor won’t include a Methodist Hospital oce building and three other retail buildings, at least in the immediate future, after the Bellaire City Council voted unanimously to postpone making a decision on the developer’s application July 18. However, council members left open the possibility of revisiting the proposal in the future.

Bellaire ocials approve new o-site dog pound facility

County considering aordable housing tax exemption policy HARRIS COUNTY A policy that will consider property tax exemptions for aordable housing owners is moving forward after a unanimous Commis- sioners Court vote July 18. BY MELISSA ENAJE $20,000/year $35,000/year $50,000/year $75,000/year HOUSING COST BURDEN A countywide housing needs assessment and 10-year strategy in October 2021 found nearly 500,000 families are paying more than they can aord for their homes.

West U’s Wier Park could get up to $1M in upgrades in new plan


per year. • The existing facility on Edith Street will be used as a temporary hold and transfer center to reunite lost dogs in Bellaire with their owners. The cost: The total cost for the two-facility proposal is estimated between $130,000-$150,000, accord- ing to agenda documents. Costs for the West Bellfort location will cover landscaping, remote-enabled mon- itoring of the site and installing an Americans with Disabilities Act-com- pliant ramp. The existing facility on Edith Street will undergo repairs not to exceed $50,000, including fan installation and sunshades. What they’re saying: Atthe July meeting, Bellaire Chief of Police Onesimo Lopez Jr. said his depart- ment seeks to handle animal care in a humane way, including both the needs of the animals, and the safety and welfare of the community.

BELLAIRE The city’s existing open- air dog pound site will be repaired and joined by a new o-site facility after Bellaire City Council approved plans at a July 10 meeting. What’s happening: After nearly two years of discussion, council voted in favor of a hybrid dog pound system that will encompass both the existing 4300 Edith St. location and a new facility at 2328 W. Bellfort Ave., in an industrial area within Houston city limits. • The new modular building and its associated improvements, valued up to $200,000, will be donated by the Rubenstein Foundation, according to agenda documents. The West Bellfort location will be the primary dog pound, where Bel- laire animal control will operate. • Texas Pipe and Supply Company owns the land where the new facility will be housed and oered to lease the site to Bellaire for $1


Annual household earnings Families paying more than they can aord

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE Wier Park could gain an estimated 6,500 square feet of usable space that could include upgrades such as extending the park’s articial turf, and adding more seating and open green space. West University Place City Council voted unanimously July 10 to accept the park’s concept design presented by the city’s parks and recreation board. The main items under consider- ation for upgrades include removing the parking area on Nottingham Street to increase open green space, adding accessible pathways and repainting the play structures in the kid play areas, among other items. Mayor Pro Tem John Montgomery said the majority of funding will come from individual donations.

The design for Bellaire’s main dog pound includes eight kennels. RENDERING COURTESY CITY OF BELLAIRE

Why it matters: An existing Texas tax code already provides exemptions to certain organizations that meet low-income housing requirements, but each local governing jurisdiction has to approve the tax exemption and specify the allowed threshold amount, said Mary Lawler, the CEO of Avenue, a Houston-based nonprot aordable housing builder. “We are struggling right now with rising costs for our apartments and our ability to keep our rents aordable to working families and seniors who are really in need,” she said. How we got here: In April, commis- sioners directed several county depart- ments to establish a policy related to the approval of tax exemptions for

• 128,767 renters • 46,849 owners

• 124,019 renters • 44,083 owners

• 58,109 renters • 35,582 owners

• 27,751 renters • 34,462 owners

Dog pound 1

Occupations • Fast-food and counter workers • Home health and personal care aides

• Retail

• Truck drivers • Administrative assistants • Bookkeepers

• Elementary school teachers • Skilled trade workers


• Cashiers • Customer service • Waiters • Medical assistants






Dog pound 2

certain low-income housing projects. Ocials presented a preliminary policy to commissioners in July, and the nalized exemption policy is projected for completion by the end of August.

What else: Thepolicy could make it more nancially feasible for organi- zations to build aordable housing. A 2021 study found nearly 500,000 households in the county are paying more for housing than they can aord.




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