Conroe - Montgomery Edition | April 2021

CONROE MONTGOMERY EDITION

VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1  APRIL 16MAY 13, 2021

ONLINE AT

Private property rights at heart of county’s groundwater dispute

BY EVA VIGH

Recent regulatory decisions in Montgomery County have highlighted dierences in opinion on how groundwater should be managed. Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District is prioritizing property rights. Meanwhile, some residents worry excessive pumping can lead to subsidence, or sinking of the earth. “YOU’RE REALLYALWAYS TALKING ABOUT PROPERTYRIGHTS VERSUS PROPERTYRIGHTS. YOUHAVE THE PROPERTYRIGHTS OF THE PERSON WHOHAS THEWELL… AND YOUHAVE THE PROPERTYRIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE WHOWANT TOKEEP THEIR LANDABOVE SEA LEVEL.” GREGORY ELLIS, ATTORNEY A BALANCING ACT

Editor’s note: This is part two of a series examining groundwater regulation in Montgomery County. Private property rights are at the cen- ter of a debate waging over groundwater regulations in Montgomery County, and recent regulatory decisions have high- lighted dierences in opinion on how groundwater should be managed. On April 9, Groundwater Manage- ment Area 14—which includes the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation Dis- trict, the entity that regulates Mont- gomery County’s groundwater, and four other districts—voted on its pro- posed long-term goal for the Gulf Coast Aquifer System. The goal, known as a desired future condition, or DFC, estab- lishes how much groundwater districts within GMA 14 can pump. The proposed DFC includes a sub- sidence factor, meaning districts must restrict their pumpage to allow for less than 1 foot of additional subsidence, or sinking of the earth, between 2009 and 2080. LSGCD was the sole entity opposed to this metric requirement, advocating instead for the DFC to con- sider metrics applicable to each dis- trict based on best available science. “The district is advocating for DFC statements that accurately represent CONTINUED ON 20

Groundwater conservation districts like the LSGCD must nd a balance between

Highest level of practical groundwater use

Conserving and protecting groundwater

THE RIGHT TO PUMP

SUBSIDENCE AND PROPERTY DAMAGE

“PRIVATEPROPERTYRIGHTSMEANSA REGULATORYSTRUCTURETHATPROVIDES EACHOWNEROFGROUNDWATERTHE RIGHTTOACCESS THEIRFAIRSHARE.”

“PROPERTYRIGHTS TOMEMEANS THE RIGHT TOHAVEMY PROPERTYKEPT SOUND ANDNOT HAVEMY FOUNDATION CRACKOR MYHOUSE SUBJECTED TO FLOODING.”

WEBB MELDER, FORMER CONROE MAYOR AND FORMER LSGCD PRESIDENT

CAROLYN NEWMAN, THE WOODLANDS RESIDENT

Groundwater is cheaper than surface water. San Jacinto River Authority water rates per 1,000 gallons:

Some areas of The Woodlands have recorded a subsidence rate of just over 1 CENTIMETER PER YEAR.

Groundwater: Surface water: $2.73 $3.15

The Woodlands Township Chair Gordy Bunch claimed subsidence and fault line activity cost him

$1 MILLION IN DAMAGES.

SOURCES: HARRISGALVESTON SUBSIDENCE DISTRICT, CITY OF CONROE, SAN JACINTO RIVER AUTHORITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

LOCAL VOTER GUIDE 2021

Montgomery eyes historical markers

VOTER GUIDE

14

IMPACTS

6 GOVERNMENT

VERNELE’S

13

19

and trust use.

Everyone deserves nonpartisan information they can

COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON Contribute to CI Patron today!

Scan the QR code to watch our video about the Patron program.

HER HIGH-RISK PREGNANCY IS OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY

GET PERSONALIZED CARE FROM MATERNALFETAL MEDICINE TEAMS

Memorial Hermann provides comprehensive care for mothers and their babies. Our affiliated maternal-fetal medicine specialists utilize advanced technology and therapies along with innovations in diagnostic testing to provide genetic counseling and specialized fetal care for women with high-risk pregnancies. While every mother’s needs are different, our goal to make each pregnancy the best possible experience stays the same. And with enhanced safety measures at all of our facilities, you can get the care you need with peace of mind.

Advancing health. Personalizing care.

memorialhermann.org/womens

2

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

3

CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

New Homes from the $220s to $700s MODEL HOMES OPEN DAILY Chesmar Homes, Drees Custom Homes, D.R. Horton, Empire Homes, Historymaker Homes, M/I Homes, Perry Homes, Shea Homes Ready - Set - NEW! Now is the time to Go to Harper’s Preserve and see all that is NEW and ready for you! - Highly-acclaimed Conroe ISD Schools - On-site elementary school - Easy and quick access to I-45, the Grand Parkway and the Hardy Toll Road - New South Village Amenity Center Now Complete

PERRY HOMES MODEL NOW OPEN

TO VISIT: From downtown Houston, take I-45 North. Exit Highway 242 and turn right. Turn right on Harper’s Trace.

HarpersPreserve.com

M/I HOMES MODEL NOW OPEN

4

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

FROMCHRISSY: In February, we covered part one of our series on groundwater concerns and subsidence, which is the gradual sinking of land due to excessive groundwater usage. In this issue, part two examines the private property debate over groundwater pumping, current Texas laws, regulations and property rights. We would love to hear from you regarding your groundwater concerns. Email us at comfeedback@communityimpact.com. Chrissy Leggett, 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.

FROMANNA: Our communities are rich with history. As a way to better highlight that history, Montgomery city ocials are considering the launch of a grant program to help fund historical markers. Read more about the potential grant program and one home currently up for historical marker consideration on Page 13.

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

WHATWE COVER

Anna Lotz, EDITOR

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 cleggett@communityimpact.com EDITOR Anna Lotz SENIOR REPORTER Eva Vigh GRAPHIC DESIGNER Ethan Pham ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Debbie Pfeer METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens

BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

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

CITY & COUNTY GOVERNMENT We attend area meetings to keep you informed

ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Aubrey Galloway CORPORATE LEADERSHIP GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES &MARKETING DIRECTOR Tess Coverman CONTACT US 8400 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. W, Ste. 220 Houston, TX 77064 • 2814696181 PRESS RELEASES comnews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2021 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

HOWWE’RE FUNDED

Please join your friends and neighbors in support of Community Impact Newspaper ’s legacy of PATRON PROGRAM

ADVERTISING

Our local teams customize advertising

campaigns for all business sizes and industries wanting to reach their customer base and accomplish their goals. A third-party Readex survey proved 78% of paper recipients read three of the last four editions, and from what they read, 83% “took action” of some kind. Thank you to the advertisers in this edition who support our work. We would love for our readers to thank them as well.

local, reliable reporting. Become a CI Patron today with a contribution of any amount. Together, we can continue to ensure citizens stay informed and keep businesses thriving.

communityimpact.com

facebook.com/impactnewscom

35%

of Patrons opt for recurring monthly contributions

@impactnews_com

$10 is the average minimum

Patrons have chosen to give

Proudly printed by

COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM ADVERTISING

COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM CIPATRON

WE’VE TEAMEDUP TOBRING YOUMORE OF THE STORIES YOU CARE ABOUT

Immediate Availability

www.WoodhavenVillage.com ID# 106820 MOVE IN NOW (936) 703-5333

*Based on recommendations for prioritization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccination is not guaranteed and is dependent upon distribution. Residents and associates of senior living will have first priority for the COVID-19 vaccine!* It’s not like home. It is home. TM

CALL FOR SPECIALS!

5

CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

IMPACTS

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

2

149

75

1097

LEWIS CREEK RESERVOIR

1097

WILLIS

MONTGOMERY

7

LAKE CONROE

LONE STAR PKWY.

830

45

3

6

Frankenboltzzzz Brewing Co.

1484

105

COURTESY FRANKENBOLTZZZZ BREWING CO.

2854

4 Pet Bar , a locally owned, self-service dog wash and grooming boutique, is tar- geting a late May or early June opening at 449 S. Loop 336 W., Conroe, owner Richard Ames said. 832-443-0816. www.petbarinc.com 5 Covenant Chiropractic Clinic has leased a space at 11133 I-45 N. in Conroe, according to a news release from Cypress- brook Co., which represented the clinic. Details of the lease and company were not included in the news release, and Cypress- brook Co. did not immediately respond to requests for more information. 6 AutoZone will open in Montgom- ery in late June or early July, said David McKinney, vice president of government and community relations, in an email. The store, to be located at 20311 Hwy. 105, Montgomery, is under construction. AutoZone offers automotive replacement parts, accessories and tools, according to 7 HCA Houston Healthcare’s Ambu- latory Surgery Division broke ground April 6 for the Willis Surgery Center , a multispecialty outpatient care center to be located at 9863 FM 1097 W., Willis. The center, affiliated with HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe, will feature four operating rooms, two procedure rooms and a private registration area. It is slated to open in spring 2022. The center will offer orthopedic, spine, foot and ankle, hand, gynecologic, urologic, gastroenter- ological and general surgery procedures, according to an April 9 release. www.hcahoustonhealthcare.com/conroe the company website. www.autozone.com

149

3083

75

8

336

KEENAN CUT OFF RD.

CONROE

SGT. ED HOLCOMB BLVD

336

2

9

11

1486

105

4

10

1314

5

149

WEST FORK SAN JACINTO RIVER

1488

1488

45

1

242

MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

2978

NOWOPEN 1 James Avery Artisan Jewelry opened April 7 at 33020 FM 2978, Ste. 531, Magnolia, in Westwood Village. The Texas-based, family-owned retailer offers finely crafted jewelry designs for men and women in sterling silver, 14K and 18K gold, bronze and gemstones. The Magnolia location offers curbside pickup, options to buy online and pick up in store, and in-store shopping. 800-283-1770. www.jamesavery.com 2 Frankenboltzzzz Brewing Co. held a grand opening March 27 at 173 N. FM

1486, Montgomery. The pub wants to be known as a “welcoming, family-oriented, pet-friendly pub that serves outstanding craft beer,” according to Monique Craw- ford, one of the owners. Owner Chuck Coleman’s lifelong dream has been to own a brewpub, and he has been brewing for over 20 years, she said. The focus of this brew pub is not only to serve their own brews, but to also bring attention to Texas local breweries, wineries and meaderies. Beers on tap include Bolthead Double Brown, latte porter, stout and India pale ales. 936-242-4208. www.facebook.com/frankenboltzzzz

COMING SOON 2 Panda Express , a fast-casual Chinese restaurant chain, has submitted plans for a location next to the new Star- bucks in Montgomery, according to city documents. The Starbucks is located at 20219 Eva St. City Administrator Richard Tramm confirmed Panda Express had submitted the plans, which are being reviewed, but he did not have a timeline on when plans may move forward. Panda Express media relations did not respond with details. www.pandaexpress.com

2

NOWWITH TWO LOCATIONS!

400 Bryant Road Conroe, TX 77303 281.967.9799 Open Hours Wed, Thur & Sun Noon-6pm Fri & Sat Noon-8pm

336 N. Main Street Ste. 103 Conroe, TX 77301 936.263.2524 Open Hours

Mon-Thur Noon-8pm Fri & Sat Noon - 9pm

WWW.BLUE-EPIPHANY.COM

6

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ & EVA VIGH

NAME CHANGES 10 Partners in Primary Care , a senior-focused primary care provider that has a location in Conroe, changed its name April 5 to CenterWell Senior Primary Care. This is the only change the company will be making. The Conroe location is at 381 S. Loop 336 W. 832-330-4702. www.partnersinprimarycare.com IN THE NEWS 11 Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare , which provides services to people with mental illnesses and intellectual/devel- opmental disabilities in Montgomery, Walker and Liberty counties, was certified as a certified community behavioral health clinic by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, according to a March 10 news release. CCBHCs are designed to provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services and are eligible to receive an enhanced reimbursement rate. This will be backed by federal funding once the reimbursement mechanism is fully developed in Texas, according to the release. The Conroe Service Center is located at 233 Sgt. Ed Holcomb Blvd. South, and the Psychiatric Emergency Treatment Center is located at 706 FM 2854, Conroe. 800-550-8408. www.tcbhc.org

7

Willis Surgery Center

A new senior living community is slated to open in November on 26 acres in Conroe.

COURTESY HCA HOUSTON HEALTHCARE

COURTESY WORTHINGTON MANOR AT THE LAKES OF WEDGEWOOD

RELOCATIONS 8 Alpine Yoga will relocate from Dallas Street to 2064 N. FM 3083, W. Ste. A, Conroe, on May 1. In addition to relocat- ing, the studio will expand its services to offer aerial yoga and hot yoga in addition to its current offerings, which include var- ious yoga classes, meditation, massage therapy, and life and nutrition coaching. 936-978-0711. www.alpineyogalec.com 9 Back Pain and Joint Center of Texa s relocated from 3401 W. Davis St. in Conroe to a new office at 2510 S. Loop 336, Ste. 245, in March. The center offers services such as regenerative medicine, spinal decompression therapy, chiroprac- tic care and hip pain treatment, according to its website. 936-215-6918. https://backpaincenteroftexas.com

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON Worthington Manor at the Lakes of Wedgewood , a senior living community, is set to open in November at 1999 Lakes of Wedgewood Drive, Conroe, an address still being nalized with the postal service, according to a news release from Insight Senior Living, the company managing the project. The community sits on 26 acres and will include 72 assisted-living apartments and 46 memory care units. Each unit is nished with upscale details, including granite countertops, custom cabinetry, 9-foot ceilings and stainless steel appliances. The property includes its

own private lakes. Outdoor amenities include a patio with a replace, an enclosed pet park, raised ower and herb beds, gazebos, walkways and benches. Inside amenities include an exercise facility, an art studio, a beauty salon, a theater, a game room and a bar. www.sp-prop.com

HIGHLAND HOLLOW DR.

3083

N

SATURDAY MAY15 Th

7

CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

Inspired by the traditional beach bars of the Atlantic Coast, LandShark Bar & Grill offers an intoxicating mix of fintastic food, signature drinks & laid-back fun. Plus, enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday evening! RECEIVE A FREE DESSERT with the purchase of an entrée

At Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston 600 Margaritaville Parkway Montgomery, TX 77356

New award-winning master planned community, just 13 miles north of The Woodlands with new homes available from the $240s BUYANEWHOME

AND RECEIVE UP TO $ 10,000 * toward closing costs, design upgrades or off the price of the home now through April 30.

*This offer is available only to buyers signing a new home sales contract with one of The Woodlands Hills ® approved builders fromMarch 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021. The offer provides a $10,000 incentive on new homes on 65-75-foot homesites, a $7,500 incentive on new homes on 50-55-foot homesites and a $5,000 incentive on new homes on 40-45-foot homesites toward the price of the home, design center upgrades or closing costs on eligible new homes purchased in The Woodlands Hills. Some restrictions may apply. No substitutions will be permitted. A registration formmust be obtained from the builder’s sales office prior to signing the new home contract. Sales contracts not written between 3/1/21 and 4/30/21 will not qualify. Homes must close on or before 4/30/22. The incentive will be awarded to the buyer at the time of closing. Homes within The Woodlands Hills are constructed and sold by builders not affiliated with The Howard Hughes Corporation ® (“HHC”) or any of its affiliated companies or partnerships. Neither HHC nor any of its affiliated companies or partnerships guarantees or warrants the obligations of, or construction by, such builders. Prices and specifications subject to change.

8

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Eastboundflyover forHwy. 242enters preconstructionphase Preconstruction of a third flyover

COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ, BEN THOMPSON & ADRIANA REZAL

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF APRIL 8. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT COMNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. The city of Conroe and Texas Depart- ment of Transportation are proposing to widen Sgt. Ed Holcombe Boulevard between Loop 336 and the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and Old Con- roe Road between the West Fork and FM 1488 as well as constructing a new bridge over the West Fork to connect the two roadways. A prerecorded pre- sentation will be posted on the city’s website at 5:30 p.m. April 20 and can be accessed by searching “Old Conroe Road.” www.cityofconroe.org study, which began in September. The study will recommend short-, medium- and long-range transporta- tion projects for Precinct 2. Register online. https://engage.h-gac.com/ montgomery-county-precinct-2- mobility-study Old Conroe Road MEETINGS SCHEDULED Precinct 2 mobility study A virtual public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 22 for Montgomery County Precinct 2 residents to provide input on transportation concerns as part of Precinct 2 and the Hous- ton-Galveston Area Council’s mobility

will join existing flyovers from northbound I-45 to westbound Hwy. 242 and westbound Hwy. 242 to southbound I-45. “Overall, with the development of the [Hwy.] 242 eastbound direct connect, and the current west direct connect, both of which are non-tolled passages, the expectation is that this will bring relief to the traffic snarls that occur in this area and allow for all vehicles that need quicker access to reach the area hospitals a better chance at saving time to save lives as

well as other emergencies,” Riley said in a statement. The project, estimated to take two years, will be funded in conjunction with the Houston-Galveston Area Council with a total expected cost of $30 million, according to the release.

road connecting I-45 North and Hwy. 242 has begun, Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley’s office announced April 6. The nontolled flyover will carry northbound travelers on I-45 directly onto eastbound Hwy. 242. The road

45

242

HARPER'S WAY

N

Hwy. 249 segment from FM 1488 to FM 1774 in ToddMission now open Segment 1B of the Hwy. 249 exten-

“It’s going to have a significant eco- nomic impact on Montgomery County, and certainly Blue Jack will be a bene- ficiary of that,” said Brett Schoenfield, president and general manager of Blue Jack National, a private golf club and community located on FM 1486. The final segment, a two-lane, nontolled highway to Hwy. 105 in Navasota, is scheduled to finish in late 2023.

sion project opened to the public March 26, allowing tollway access from FM 1488 in Magnolia to FM 1774 north of Todd Mission, according to the TX SH 249 project team. The opening marks the comple- tion of the extension project’s first section. Segment 1A, extending from FM 1774 in Pinehurst to FM 1488, opened Aug. 8.

1486

249

1744

1488

N

PK—12 th Grade A Certified Accredited University-Model School ©

Information Meeting June 14th, 2021 9:30 AM

Partnering with parents to inspire and prepare college-worthy character witnesses for Christ.

www.legacypca.org • Facebook.com/legacypca

9768 Research Forest • The Woodlands, TX • 936.337.2000

With over 30 years of investment in The Woodlands community,BretStrongandhisteamofexperiencedattorneys at The Strong Firm, P.C. serve as your general corporate counsel for your business. Staying on top of the legal issues facing businesses to help you innovate and refine your business to better adapt to the ever-changing commercial environment.

USPowerPros.com | sales@uspowerpros.com

DON’T DELAY - ORDER NOW FOR 2021 HURRICANE SEASON ORDER EARLY - MANUFACTURERS ARE BEHIND ON PRODUCTION GET ON THE LIST TODAY!

       

       

Reviewing of Contracts Drafting of Contracts Employment Agreements Non-compete Agreements Franchise Agreements Indemnity Agreements Waivers and Releases Independent Contractor Agreements

Service Agreements Lease Agreements Sales Agreements

   

Licensing Agreements Settlement Agreements Confidentiality Agreements Non-Disclosure Agreements All Transactional Documents

10 YEAR WARRANTY INCLUDED!

$8900 INSTALLED +TAX INCLUDES THE BEST 10 YEAR WARRANTY PLUS WHOLE HOME SURGE PROTECTOR 22KW Generac Generator with transfer switch

DON’T OVER PAY CALL THE PROS TODAY! 281-789-4192 ALL YOUR ELECTRICAL AND GENERATOR NEEDS SERVING THE GREATER HOUSTON AREA

SCAN HERE TO CONNECT LIKE, SUBSCRIBE & FOLLOW US!

NOW HIRING

TECL # 34228 TMEL # 216486

9

CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

ONLINE CLASSES ONSITE SUPPORT · Internet access · Smart monitors with Zoom connections · Student laptops · In the heart of downtown Conroe

U S T MA X C e n t e r 3 3 6 N . M a i n S t r e e t C o n r o e , T X 7 7 3 0 1

USTMAX.com

NEW HOMES from the mid $200s

DIRECTIONS: Take I-45 North, exit FM 105 and turn left. Take 105 to FM 2854 and turn left. Fairwater will be on the left. fairwatercommunity.com

Ideally situated in the Conroe/Montgomery area, this neighborhood offers an outstanding location zoned to Montgomery ISD schools, including the new Lake Creek High School. There is also an exciting planned amenity package to include a splash pad and playground. Stop by and see: it’s easy to picture Fairwater as your new home.

10

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

WATER SJRAunder sunset review, sued by association over lake lowering

UNDER REVIEW The San Jacinto River Authority is undergoing a performance evaluation. It is also being sued by the Lake Conroe Association over its lake lowering program.

BY EVA VIGH

to the commission’s website. Since its creation, the committee has abolished 92 agencies, and has 131 agencies scheduled for review in the next 12 years. The sunset advisory sta report for the SJRA found the agency “executes its core water supply operations well but needs to improve key support functions.” Some of the areas the report highlighted as needing improvement include communica- tion and engagement with the public as well as its contracting and procure- ment methods. Several individuals provided input, some of which fell outside the sunset review’s scope, according to the commission. Ronald McEachern, a resident of the city of Montgomery, called for an end to the seasonal low- ering, independent studies to assess the causes of ooding and to switch the SJRA board from an appointed to an elected board. “There is little transparency and no fairness for the Lake Conroe area,” he said. However, the sunset commission did not factor this input into its report. Instead, the report focused only on certain aspects of SJRA’s operation and did not review broader water policy issues or topics under litigation. The report concludes the recommendations should not have a signicant impact on the SJRA. Regarding the recommendation for the SJRA to improve its public communication, Lacey said public meetings for the lake lowering could have been more productive if there had been smaller workshops so individuals could have presented technical studies. Rather, the meetings were often contentious and passionate, he said. “They decided to just use the town hall process, which had limited ability to put deep technical reports or studies in front of the board,” he said. As for the lawsuit led by the LCA, a date for a hearing has not been set as of press time, Lacey said. Legal, legislative eorts Local elected ocials are also looking into the SJRA. State Rep. Will Metcalf, RConroe, has led a bill that would replace the board with an

The San Jacinto River Authority, the entity that provides surface water to certain users in Montgomery County, is undergoing sunset review, a performance evaluation by a state commission that may require the SJRA to make certain improvements. But local entities said the initial report fell short of examining their priority concerns regarding the SJRA. Sunset reviews are conducted by the Texas Sunset Advisory Com- mission, which may recommend improvements to state agencies or recommend abolishing them alto- gether, although river authorities are not subject to abolishment. The SJRA’s review is in the third stage, in which the committee has written an initial report and plans to le a bill in the Texas Legislature consisting of its recommendations. According to state Sen. Brandon Creighton, RConroe, the sunset review has been extended to the next legislative session to pro- vide the legislature and public more time to make recommendations. Kevin Lacey, the president of the Lake Conroe Association, an entity that advocates for homeowners on the lake, said he was disappointed the report did not discuss the seasonal Lake Conroe lowering, a controversial ood mitigation strategy that is largely supported by residents in areas downstream such as Kingwood but opposed by home- owners on the lake. The LCA led a lawsuit against the SJRA and the city of Houston on March 31, seeking an end to the lowering, which began April 1 this year per request by the city of Houston. “Not once in their sunset report … did they even mention this hugely contentious program,” Lacey said. “We were scratching our heads.” Meanwhile, SJRA General Man- ager Jace Houston said that sunset reviews are similar to a management and eciency audit and are not designed to examine policy issues. Sunset ndings The sunset advisory commission was established in 1977, when scan- dals at the federal and state levels had diminished public condence in government institutions, according

SUNSET STAGES

There are three stages to a sunset review.

Evaluation: The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission performs research and analysis to evaluate the need for agency’s improvements.

Deliberation: The commission conducts a public hearing and then votes on which changes to recommend to the Texas Legislature.

Action: The Texas Legislature considers the sunset commission’s recommendations and makes nal decisions.

The SJRA’s sunset review process is at this stage, although a bill has not yet been led.

LAKE LOWERING CONTROVERSY The San Jacinto River Authority is being sued by the Lake Conroe Association over its seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe. The strategy is intended to mitigate ooding downstream but has drawn criticism from residents upstream.

Normal Lake Conroe level

April-May lake level

Aug.-Sept. lake level

199 FT. 2 ft. lower

201 FT. Above mean sea level

200 FT. 1 ft. lower

EXTRA CAPACITY 18,944 acre-feet

EXTRA CAPACITY 37,287 acre-feet

EXTRA CAPACITY NONE

SOURCES: SAN JACINTO RIVER AUTHORITY, SUNSET ADVISORY COMMISSIONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

elected board; similar bills have been led in the past that did not pass. Metcalf said in an email he was disappointed with what he called “lack of community involvement opportu- nities” to make substantial, legislative changes to the way SJRA operates. “I was extremely discouraged that the sunset commission’s report did not address any legislative reforms related to the seasonal lake lowering program,” he said. “I am hopeful that through the continued pressure of our citizens on the SJRA board, as well as through the [Texas Com- mission on Environmental Quality] and other legal avenues, we will be successful in ending this harmful program once and for all.” Sen. Dawn Buckingham, vice chair of the sunset commission, did not provide comment before press. SJRA submitted a 5-page response to the recommendations, which outlined the steps the agency will take or has taken, such as hiring a new

procurement manager. Meanwhile, Houston said he felt the review was extensive and thorough; the recommendations were “very good;” and policy issues fall outside the sunset’s scope. He also said there were various opportunities for the public to be involved during the process. SJRA’s website provides informa- tion about the sunset review, includ- ing where to provide comments and suggestions, although this deadline has since expired. A link is also avail- able to sign up for email alerts on the sunset sta report and the sunset commission’s public meetings. As for the lake lowering meetings, Houston said the townhall meetings were necessary to let the public weigh in, and there have been vari- ous opportunities to voice concern. “You have to give the general pub- lic a time and a place ... to make their voice heard,” he said. “We did what we felt was the right thing to do.”

11

CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

WOODFOREST 936.272.0790 750 FISH CREEK THOROUGHFARE STE. 100 MONTGOMERY, TX 77316

THE WOODLANDS 281.364.1122 6767 LAKE WOODLANDS DR. STE. FF THE WOODLANDS, TX 77382

SPRING 832.698.0111 20639 KUYKENDAHL RD. STE 200 SPRING, TX 77379

Say “ Yellow ” TO NEW SECTIONS

IN ARTAVIA ® !

Look for the YELLOW signs in the neighborhood!

BRIGHT SAVINGS and NEW HOMESITES: From our lakeside Amenity Center with the Palate Café and FitCenter, to our Splash Pad, beautiful parks, and extensive trail system, life is different here and everything has been thought- fully designed to help you get the most out of it. There’s never been a better time to buy – visit today and say “YELLOW” to our new sections and one-of-a-kind savings!

Live Colorfully

NEW HOMES FROM THE $300s - $600s \ 10 MODEL HOMES COVENTRY HOMES • DAVID WEEKLEY HOMES • HIGHLAND HOMES • LENNAR J . PATRICK HOMES • PERRY HOMES • RAVENNA HOMES • WESTIN HOMES

242

59

ARTAVIATX.COM

45

1314

Realtors Welcome. No representations or warranties of intended use, design or proposed improvements are made herein. Maps not to scale. Prices, specifications, and details concerning homes are established by the builders who are not affiliated with ARTAVIA Development Company and are subject to change without notice. Go to ARTAVIATX.com for terms and conditions.

8

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT

See how much you could save with your local GEICO agent. Stop in or call today!

AHISTORIC HOUSE The Chilton-Dean House was built in the early 1850s and owned by Rev. Thomas Chilton, who founded the rst Baptist church in Montgomery.

EUGENIA RD.

N

The Chilton-Dean House, located in Montgomery, is in the process of receiving a historical marker. The house was built in the early 1850s. (Photos courtesy Ryan Londeen)

SOURCE: MONTGOMERY ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

City of Montgomery to consider grant program for more historical markers

REVISITING THE PAST The city of Montgomery is home to several historical structures. Historical markers are educational in nature, and most topics marked must date back at least 50 years. 21 Existing historical markers in the city 28 Other structures with historical signicance

BY EVA VIGH

was one of the rst state banks in Texas, and the present building was nished in 1908, according to the Texas Historical Commission. The safe was once stolen, and the vault still has scratches from a robbery. There are at least 28 other structures with historic signi- cance throughout the city that are unmarked, according to follow-up information provided by Londeen. Some of these include Fernland Historical Park on Clepper Drive, which is the site of several restored historic cabins and homes, and The Olde Schoolhouse in downtown. “Most people don’t know about or don’t recognize [them] because they don’t have markers,” he said. Grant program Huss suggested March 15 that the board could establish a grant program for historical markers to encourage people to go through the process, which can be tedious. “If we could have a trail of his- torical markers in the city, I think it could really be benecial,” she said. “I’m 100% [for] the EDC paying for every Texas historical marker that we can get in the city because I think it’s money that will come back to us in visitors, and ... it’s content for bro- chures; it’s content for social media; it’s content for things to do.”

An item on the Montgomery Economic Development Corp.’s March 15 agenda regarding a historic house prompted discussion from board members on how the city can incentivize historical markers to encourage tourism and enhance public knowledge. The agenda item, presented by MEDC Secretary Ryan Londeen, was to consider a grant application to the Texas Historical Commission for a historical marker for the Chilton-Dean House, located at 709 College St., Montgomery. The historic house was built in the early 1850s and owned by Rev. Thomas Chilton, who founded the rst Baptist church in Montgomery, according to information from Montgomery ISD. Board members approved the application and discussed launching a grant program for more historical markers. “People are wild for Montgomery history,” Council Member and MEDC President Rebecca Huss said. A rich history There are 21 historical markers in the city, according to information provided by Londeen. One of these is the First State Bank of Montgomery, located on Liberty Street. The bank

Historical markers can range from $1,175-$1,875.

SOURCES: CITY OF MONTGOMERY, MONTGOMERY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP. COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Jerry Coker 713-224-3426 geico.com/ spring-coker 1403 Spring Cypress Road Spring ¡Hablamos Español!

Londeen said in a follow-up email that markers can range from $1,175- $1,875 depending on size. MEDC members agreed such markers are important to attract tourism and promote the history of Montgomery. City Administrator and MEDC Administrator Richard Tramm said he can begin to allocate funds for this potential grant program for the remainder of this year’s budget or for next year. Board members estimated they may need to budget for about three or four markers in a year, although there may initially be more once the program launches. “[We should] draw people in to look for markers,” Londeen said. “Montgomery is kind of undertold as far as the history that’s here.”

Limitations apply. See geico.com for more details. GEICO & affiliates. Washington, DC 20076 © 2021 GEICO

13

CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

WHAT DO HIPS, KNEES, AND ELBOWS HAVE TO DO WITH GOING ONE-ON-ONE? EVERYTHING.

If a bone, joint, or muscle condition is keeping you on the sidelines, St. Luke's Health can help get you back in the game of life. There’s nothing like a game of one-on-one…if your joints feel up to it. Remember, orthopedic pain doesn’t get better by waiting. It’s all about doing something now. And we can. Our specialists can address any bone or joint issue, from your neck to your toes. And it’s all done by treating you the way you want to be treated, one-on-one. Now’s the time to break free, be brave.

StLukesHealth.org/Ortho

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

NEWS BRIEFS Board names Conroe ISDvirtual academy principal

PRICE CHANGE The admission price to Lake Conroe Park increased April 1.

BY BEN THOMPSON

We feel condent that the state is going to give us that option.” As a rst step in the new academy’s development, trustees unanimously approved William Kelly, Caney Creek High School’s

With planning underway for the 2021-22 school year, Conroe ISD ocials are preparing for the future extension of the district’s optional virtual instruction oerings, which were rst imple- mented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the majority of the district’s approxi- mately 65,000 students have returned to in-person classes this year, Superintendent Curtis Null said during the CISD board of trustees’ March 23 regular meeting that sta members are now working to design a new virtual academy for students and families who have expressed a preference for continued remote learning into the future. Virtual learning had not typically been oered in Texas before the pandemic, but Null said action in this year’s state legislative session could clear the way for such programming going forward. “We have many students, about 11,000 students this year, that are learning remotely. And for many of those families, it’s a system that is working well for them; it is something that they would like us to continue into the future, if possible,” Null said. “We have spoken to all of our state representatives and our state senator and expressed how strongly we feel about our ability to continue with virtual learning into the future.

105

LAKE MEADOWS DR.

old price

new price

$2

$5

N

Lake Conroe Park sees rst admission price increase

William Kelly

associate principal for curriculum, as the virtual school’s rst principal March 23. Null said Kelly was chosen in part due to his past experience with districtwide academic coordination across multiple grade levels. “By creating this online campus, I think CISD is showing the state and other districts the importance of changing what we do, not just in the classroom, but as a district because we really believe we have to meet the needs of all of our students,” Kelly said following his appointment. “Oering this online opportunity really is changing what we do as a school district based on what the kids need from us.” Null said additional details on the academy’s curriculum as well as branding, such as an ocial name, mascot and colors, will be nalized before the next school year.

BY ANDREW CHRISTMAN

The Montgomery County commissioners agreed to increase the price of admission to Lake Conroe Park beginning April 1. During a March 30 meeting, Precinct 1 Commis- sioner Robert Walker said increasing the price from $2 to $5 is meant to help cover maintenance costs for the park. “We are just trying to increase our cash value coming in,” Walker said. Walker added the park has had a $2 admission since its inception and anticipated around 3,000 people at the park for the Easter holiday. The commissioners approved the price change 4-0 with Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack abstaining from the vote.

Your Luxury Yarn Shop

®

208 McCown Street, Suite 100-110 Montgomery, TX 77356 themodernskein.com | 936-436-3615

The Clock Shop Quality Repair, Sales & Service Antiques & Gifts L������ S������� �� N�������� H������ • O��� ��� C����� �� D������ Use this ad for your next purchase or any repairs on any clock. 15% Off EXP . 5/31/21 6315 FM 1488 •The Woodlands, TX • 281-259-8338 www.theclockshoponline.com ���� ���� N OVER 40 YEARS EXPERIENCE I� H��� R����� S������ �� A�� G���������� C�����

15

CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

CANDIDATE Q&A

Get to know the candidates running in the local election

Incumbent

April 19 First day of early voting April 20 Last day to apply for ballot by mail (received, not postmarked) April 27 Last day of early voting D A T E S T O K N O W

Montgomery City Council, Place 1

May 1 Election day May 1 Last day to receive ballot by mail (unless late-arriving deadline applies)

Occupation: part-time clerk at Jim’s Hardware CAROL LANGLEY

JENNY STEWART

Occupation: horse breeder

Experience: retired from city after 24 years; Montgomery Economic Development Corp. member carol.langley@ci.montgomery.tx.us

Experience: former school teacher, three past terms on city council www.facebook.com/ MontgomeryTXLeadership

S A M P L E B A L L O T

*Incumbent

Place 5 Tom Cronin* Byron Sanford WILLIS CITY COUNCIL Position 3 Thomas Belinoski* Tamara Young-Hector Position 5

MONTGOMERY ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES

What are the greatest challenges facing the city of Montgomery, and how do you plan to address them?

Position 4 Trey Kirby* Christina Sato Jay Grimes

We have several challenges, and the No. 1 is water and sewer infrastructure. Our residents and businesses need upgrades to the lines that are existing and for the new growth. ... The trac is another one that the city is working on. ... The city does have a thorough- fare plan and should be updated as needed. I will work with the experienced sta and understand the grants and other avenues to better serve the community.

Reckless spending, infrastructure needs and keeping the small-town atmosphere or feel of this town. I fear we’re losing the soul of the city.

MONTGOMERY CITY COUNCIL Place 1 Carol Langley* Jenny Stewart Place 3 T.J. Wilkerson* John Champagne, Jr.

William Brown* Juan C. Cristales

Answers may have been edited for length. Read full Q&A’s at communityimpact.com .

Jimmy Thompson State Farm Insurance Companies

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Our serene spa escape invites you to break away from daily stress and relax with restoring wellness experiences, therapeutic massages, and rejuvenating body treatments. Kick back, close your eyes, and set sail for nirvana.

Surprisingly great Home & Auto rates Combine & Save

CALL THE SPA TO SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT: 936.448.3100

At Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston 600 Margaritaville Parkway Montgomery, TX 77356 S T. S OMEWHERE S PA Margaritaville Lake Resort

Scan to save

Willis Agency - 936-228-2991 10652 FM 1097 RD W, Willis, TX 77318 Conroe Agency - 936-228-2980 6511 HWY 105W, Conroe, TX 77304

16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

2 0 2 1 L O C A L V O T E R G U I D E

COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ & EVA VIGH

Montgomery City Council, Place 3

Montgomery City Council, Place 5

TOM CRONIN

BYRON SANFORD Occupation: pastor of Dacus Baptist Church Experience: 33 years in public education as teacher, coach, administrator; 15 years as minister bcsanford@gmail.com

Occupation: senior plant operator Experience: 44 years in oil and gas industry, mayor pro-tem twilkerson@ci.mont- gomery.tx.us T.J. WILKERSON

Occupation: managing partner for Toro Tubulars Experience: 10 years on City Council, ve years on MEDC, president of an HOA www.facebook.com/ MontgomeryTXLeadership JOHN CHAMPAGNE, JR.

Occupation: small-busi- ness owner Experience: business owner, senior man- agement experience, construction experience www.cozygrape.com

What are the greatest challenges facing the city of Montgomery, and how do you plan to address them?

What are the greatest challenges facing the city of Montgomery, and how do you plan to address them?

Aordable housing is a great concern because the beginning of being independent and self- sucient are two of the pillars ... in achieving the American dream. I will [pursue] home grants or community improvement grants to build or refurbish existing homes. The wid- ening of roads, ... continuous improvements of city’s infrastructure, and working with other entities to recruit new businesses ... will continue to propel the city forward.

Maintaining and improving roads and walk- ways by increasing the budget amount and making it a priority [such as] accessing historic downtown with sidewalks from each direction of the city ..., improving the eciencies of our utilities [by] incorporating the 12-inch water- line according to plan ... [and] the continuing challenge of balancing the growth of the city while maintaining the historic small-town character.

Planning for growth, including infrastructure, streets, sidewalks, water and sewer, and reliable electric service. We are elected to provide basic services such as the above, but our revenues are being spent on items that don’t have the priority that basic services do.

Water and sewer provisions for our fast-grow- ing community—I hope to encourage a short-, middle- and long-term approach to scal and technical ways to meet these ever-increasing demands. Secondly, we need to recruit devel- opers willing to bring more aordable housing by negotiating some incentives for builders to build on smaller lots. Thirdly, we need to improve our marketing for the downtown growth and attention to the Historic District.

Montgomery ISD board of trustees, Position 4

Occupation: regional sales manager at M&I Electric Relevant experience: parent of two MISD students www.facebook.com/grimesmisd JAY GRIMES

TREY KIRBY

CHRISTINA SATO

Occupation: Investor Relevant experience: parent of three MISD students, former intern for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, performer at the Crigh-

Occupation: commercial real estate adviser Relevant experience: two terms as MISD trustee; wife and mother are both long- time educators www.reelecttreykirby4.com

ton Theatre and Owen Theatre www.facebook.com/sato4misd

What are the top three biggest issues facing MISD? How do you intend to solve them?

Budget, salaries and growth. I cannot solve them, but as a team we can. With directives and goals set by the board and the help of our new superintendent, Heath Morrison, and [Chief Financial Ocer] Kris Lynn, we have been able to balance the budget. This has given us the ability to work on salaries for our exemplary sta as well as other programs. Our growth plan will be determined by the analysis of our new demographic study.

We’ve lost great educators to neighboring districts over pay, which is unacceptable. We must provide competitive pay by evaluating all current district expenditures and eliminating waste, such as third-party contracts. We must seriously consider student and teacher mental well-being in a post-pandemic society. We need to equip our district to manage this crisis that has strained all aspects of our life. Also, we must provide well for the [approximately] 40%of non-college-bound graduates.

One, 40% of MISD graduates do not attend university. We must educate our students on other career opportunities and begin planning for trade school options. ... Two, teacher salaries are the lowest among the eight surrounding districts. I will advocate to ensure ... teachers and sta are heard, appreciated and receive a competitive salary. Three, drug and alcohol abuse, cyberbullying and eects of the pandemic. ... I want to promote mental health awareness for our teachers and students.

Answers may have been edited for length. Read full Q&A’s at communityimpact.com .

CLEAR CHOICE ACUPUNCTURE & WELLNESS Services Offered: Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Nutrition, Acupressure, Cupping, & Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture 213 NThompson St, Conroe, TX 77301 (936) 703-5040 MENTION THIS AD FOR 15% OFF A SINGLE SERVICE! C L E A R C H O I C E A C U P U N C T U R E . C O M

NEW PATIENT SPECIAL! FREE Sonicare Electronic Toothbrush with the PURCHASE of New Patient Exam, X-rays & Cleaning.

Mariana N. Coconu, D.D.S. 936-588-8811 16019 Hwy 105 W Montgomery, TX 77356 LakesideDentalPracticeTX.com

Limit 1 per family. No cash offer. Cannot be combined with other offers

15% OFF A SINGLE SERVICE

17

CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • APRIL 2021

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28

communityimpact.com

Powered by