December 2014

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Ivy recognized as Therapist of the Year

AISD proposes attendance boundaries

Manvel resident Buddy Williams passes

Manvel company expanding

MEDC requests sales tax modification

Council tables pipeline plan

Residential development planned for city's ETJ

Council delays Comprehensive Plan revisions

City poised for significant growth; 2014 lays foundation

 

 

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Ivy recognized as Therapist of the Year

December 3, 2014

 

Manvel resident and former city council member Mack Ivy was honored as the "Occupational Therapist of the Year for 2014" by his peers at the Texas Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA) annual conference in November. Ivy considered it a huge honor as he was selected from 8,400 Occupational Therapists registered in Texas. He considered the award ceremony even more of an honor because his family was able to attend; it was located close in Sugarland so his mother was able to travel and attend in a wheelchair.

Ivy is a senior occupational therapist (OT) at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has been an OT for 21 years and specializes in treating patients in the Palliative Care Unit and Protective Environment areas. Palliative care is defined as any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure.

Occupational therapists provide customized treatment to improve patients' ability to stay occupied both physically and mentally during the performance of daily activities including self-care, participation with social interactions and engaging in the activities that are most meaningful to each person so that they may live life to its fullest. Occupational therapists help a patient resume cherished roles, routines and activities so that they may feel like themselves again.

Occupational therapists provide adaptations and equipment in order to help a person stay occupied performing the activities that they want to pursue which empowers them with control, independence, comfort, safety and dignity on how each day is spent regardless of how old a person is or how long they have to live. Patients can chose activities such as learning how to feed themselves, transfer out of bed to a bedside commode, resume working on a laptop, dancing, attending or wedding or creating a work of art.

Ivy served 13 years on the board of directors of the Texas Occupational Therapy Association eventually serving as vice president and then president for 2 terms. As president, he negotiated an agreement with the American O.T. Association (AOTA) after Texas had been the lone hold-out from joining. He also worked to reform alliances among other therapy groups and promoted efforts for the groups to begin working together toward legislative and other issues. He has created stroke programs, hand therapy clinics, and developed pediatric sensory integration programs prior to developing occupational therapy interventions with palliative care patients. While developing the OT intervention with palliative care patients at MD Anderson, he was a co-author of a statement addressing OT and End of Life Care and recently submitted the end of life statement for the World Federation of occupational therapists. He has been invited to speak internationally and has sponsored presentations locally with palliative professionals from around the world.

Ivy holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy and is working to complete a dissertation research project in order to earn a Ph.D. from Texas Women’s University.

 

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AISD proposes attendance boundaries

December 3, 2014

 

In preparation for the opening of the new Manvel Junior High School for the next school year, and the new Shadow Creek High School in 2016, a School Boundary Advisory Committee proposed new attendance boundaries for the west side of the district. The committee just completed a review and feedback period and will make its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 9.

In an effort to ensure fairness and balance, the committee had a goal of having at least 5 individuals represent every campus that would be impacted. Decisions for secondary campus attendance boundaries must be made much earlier than those of an elementary campus as significant amounts of planning is required due to the number of programs involved, such as academic course offerings, University Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions, band, and athletics. The district must plan well in advance in preparation to support the numerous programs, and submit official attendance numbers to the UIL. Decisions for secondary campuses. District administrators are currently in the process of determining what grade levels Shadow Creek High School will open with. Enrollment numbers will be a large factor when deciding whether the campus will open with grades levels 9 and 10, like Manvel High School, or with more.

AISD builds high school campuses to accommodate a permanent building capacity of 2,500 students, and junior high campuses are built to accommodate 1,000 students; while elementary campuses are built to meet the needs of 800 students. The district has plans to open two new elementary schools in 2016 and will appoint another committee focused on elementary zoning in 2015, in preparation for the new campuses.

Additional information and detailed maps showing the proposed boundaries can be viewed on the AISD website at www.alvinisd.net.

 

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Manvel resident Buddy Williams passes

December 3, 2014

 

Long-time Manvel resident John “Buddy” Williams passed away last week at the age of 81. Williams was active in city government having served on city council two different times, first from 1992-1994 and then from 2005-2011. Most recently he was involved in the committee charged with revising the city’s comprehensive plan.

Williams was plain-spoken and enjoyed widely held respect from those who knew him and worked with him. He was a humble man not desirous of individual attention; he routinely refused requests for personal interviews for a story in this paper. He offered a sly humor and frequently would add brevity to an occasion with a well-timed remark. Before leaving office in May 2011, Williams entertained council with his direct manner when he chastised then police Chief Ralph Garcia for not taking more seriously the concern regarding the groups of bicyclists and joggers that were descending on the city’s rural roads on weekend mornings. He quipped that the riders and joggers “think we are doing our roads for them.” He had grown tired of citizens continually calling him because the police failed to produce an effective response.

Williams was a founding member of the Manvel Lion’s Club in 1987. He established the construction company Precision and Grading and served as President of the Houston Contractors Association in 1976. He was a Life Member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo as well as the Brazos County Rodeo. He served in the Coast Guard and was active with the Shriners.

Williams leaves behind a wife of 43 years, a daughter, two grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. He also leaves behind many friends who will miss his candor, generosity and worthy manner.

 

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Manvel company expanding

December 10, 2014

 

The Alvin-Manvel Chamber of Commerce sponsored an industry tour last week of the E-Z Line Pipe Support Company, located at 21340 Hwy 6 in Manvel. The company expects to begin construction on a fourth warehouse/manufacturing building in the coming months with an expected completion in late 2015.

In 2012 E-Z Line added a third structure adjacent to its previously existing facilities on its 14-acre campus. That new combination shop/office space expanded their capacity from 60,000 square feet to more than 85,000 square feet of operational shop space. The campus on the eastern edge of the city limits includes structures dedicated to catalog products, pipe support and pipe lining facilities, structural steel fabrication, and shipping. Also located on the property is over 100,000 square feet of outdoor storage space used for raw materials and completed product stock. Before building the new structure in 2012 the company applied for and received approval for a zoning change from Manvel city council that allowed for a specific use permit. According to city manager Kyle Jung, at that time E-Z Line was the first business in Manvel to apply for a specific use permit under a new permitted use table that was adopted earlier that year. The new table increased from about seventy permitted uses to hundreds and was intended to encourage new business establishment and current business expansion opportunities.

E-Z Line serves the petro-chemical, pipeline, and construction industries with various pipe support clamps and bases along with a wide variety of structural steel products including platforms, stair assemblies, ladders, handrails, and structural steel pipe racks. The company website boasts “if it’s made from steel, we can design and fabricate it.” The company enjoys a copyrighted design on their pipe support products that allow for an adjustment of some 2 inches in either an up or down direction. Adjustable pipe capabilities are highly valued in the industry because it allows for smoother installation as they provide adaption capability to existing foundation and elevation errors. Pipe line maintenance and inspections for corrosion and abrasion are far more easily facilitated with the greater accessibility the adjustable supports provide.

The company also leads the industry in its pipe lining products and Teflon slide plates. Their thermal plastic liner is designed for minimum contact with a pipe’s surface; the benefit being an ability to adapt to thermal expansion, and a liberal circulation of air around the pipe which enables the drying of any collected moisture and condensation. Teflon slide plates help to minimize vibration. Both products minimize any compromise to a pipes integrity decreasing the likelihood of leakage, reducing maintenance efforts, and minimizing potential environmental impact. The pipe liners provide great compressive strength designed to withstand a 10,000 pound load and are able to withstand extreme temperatures from -100 degrees to 480 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to standard size offerings of supports and liners, custom assemblies can be produced by E-Z Line as they work closely with customers to develop adapted design standards for precise applications for existing pipelines and retrofit supports.

From raw materials off-loaded and processed, E-Z Line products are then cut, bent, burned, and shaped as necessary. After a thorough clean-up and quality control inspection process, completed pieces are loaded on trucks for shipping to a galvanizing plant in north Houston. Galvanizing prevents rust and helps ensure quality and longevity in the field. The galvanized products are then returned to Manvel where they are processed for distribution.

E-Z Line was established in 1952 with its industry leading adjustable pipe support and grew along with the Houston petrochemical industry. In the late 60’s and early 70’s it expanded into structural steel fabrication. In 1984 the company further expanded into natural gas transmission. Today E-Z Line designs, produces, and builds products and structural steel fabrication that is supplied to all major Oil & Gas companies from its Manvel location with 155 full-time employees. In 2012, prior to the new building being constructed, the company operated with 85 full time employees.

 

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MEDC requests sales tax modification

December 17, 2014

 

Manvel city council heard from members of the Manvel Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) at its January meeting regarding the return of sales tax proceeds that were rededicated to street maintenance in 2010. Making the argument that the city’s financial position is far better than it was in 2011, MEDC members asked council to support an effort to convince voters to approve the return of a full ¼ cent sales tax allocation in the May 2015 election.

The argument was also made that MEDC funds can promote significant projects to help the city develop and cited the current funding of the water and wastewater improvements being installed along highway 6 as an example. For years the city saw potential development shy away due to the lack of water and sewer infrastructure available. With the installation currently in progress expected to be complete in early 2015, along with the completion of residential developments expected in the coming years, members feel it likely to finally see the grocery store and perhaps other retail establishments that citizens have long anticipated.

Economic Development Corporations for a city are generally established to improve the economic base and enhance its business environment. Programs are designed to attract, retain, and assist new and existing businesses and jobs through a variety of activities including grants, loans, and the provision of information. City council member Melody Hanson, who also serves on the MEDC Board, effectively describes the Corporation as “kind of a silent partner with the city” and explains that “for many years there wasn’t really a project or sufficient funds available, so members were conservative in just holding the money and letting it accrue which has allowed the opportunity to do a major project.” In addition to the funding of the installation of water and sewer infrastructure to service future development along Hwy 6 to Hwy 288, past projects moved by MEDC include the installation of a water/sewer line to service the ProBuild Lumber facility on the south side of Hwy 6 from FM 1128, water and sewer lines servicing the eastern portion of Hwy 6 from FM 1128 to roughly the Burger barn location, and a water line along 1128 to service a dance studio.

Council member Hanson explained that “almost everyone that you speak with is very much in support of the potential of having a grocery store, so we have been trying to stress that it is through economic development, such as the infrastructure improvements, that we can get that here. I think if we can tie those two together maybe people will understand a little bit more about what we do.” Hanson has expressed hope that prior funding levels will be restored while conceding the benefit of the increased money put toward roads and bridges in 2010. “In the long run, spending money like we are on projects such as the water/sewer installation down Hwy 6 will be far better for the city,” Hanson believes.

City Manager Kyle Jung explained that “under state law the street maintenance sales tax must be re-authorized by the voters every five years. If it is not re-authorized or the city council fails to call for its election, that 1/8 of a cent of sales tax simply is not collected anymore. It does not revert back to anything, it just simply is not collected.” According to Jung, what city council needs to do is call an election to provide the 1/8 cent sales tax to the city and then dedicate it to MEDC if that is their desire.

Council member Adrian Gaspar thinks it is now time to return the allocation to MEDC “because they are going to use it properly towards the development of the city.” Mayor Delores Martin agreed saying “we are advocating commercial/retail coming into our city and MEDC is expanding the infrastructure which gives us the opportunity to bring businesses in here. It is only right (that we support this effort) and we need to work together to accomplish it.” The matter will be an agenda item on a future council meeting prior to the time requirement to call the election.

 

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Council tables pipeline plan

December 17, 2014

 

Manvel city council tabled two important votes at the sole December council meeting. One was on the granting of a franchise to Enterprise Crude Pipeline Company on the construction of pipeline facilities through the city. Mayor Delores Martin proposed the table measure explaining that she would like to see a review of the city’s franchise ordinance before voting. She cited a previous agreement with a pipeline company that failed to honor a performance bond to repair roadways that were damaged by heavy truck traffic through parts of the city. The company offered a flat payment of $25,000 which the mayor said was insufficient to repair the damages done. The company took the stance that the city could not prove their truck traffic were the cause of the damage and refused to honor the bond.

A recent pipeline agreement reached with Phillips Petroleum Company provided the city a $2 million guarantee in the form of a cash fund to draw on if similar types of damages were incurred. The mayor would like a similar type of commitment to be mandated in a city ordinance for future agreements. Representatives from the company were apparently caught unaware by the tabling action. A spokesman told council that he was surprised by the action but did indicate a willingness to work with the city to meet what requirement they come up with. He also suggested that the concern should not be with the performance bond on the franchise agreement but rather on the hauling and transportation component of the project.

The city attorney, Bobby Gervais, concurred with the company explaining to council that the dispute would be better addressed in the “Heavy Haul” permit that would be issued for the truck and transport component of the pipeline installation. The performance bond put up by the company is more a guarantee of completion of the project, or a restoration bond as Gervais put it, in case they fail to complete the work. “The heavy haul is a totally different thing and will depend on the types and numbers of vehicles they have and the weight they are,” Gervais said.

Council unanimously agreed with the mayor in her thought that “we need to have all our ducks in a row before we get started. We still need to address what we have and get it right for anyone who comes after.” The matter will be taken up again at the January 12 meeting.

 

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Residential development planned for city's ETJ

December 17, 2014

 

Real estate developer Joe Watson presented his plan for a new residential development to city council last week. The project, to be called Newport Lake Estates, is located at the southeast corner of county roads 58 and 48 and will comprise 73 acres and 199 lots. Forty-four percent of the lots will be premium lakefront at over 10,000 square feet with sizes of 70 x 150. The balance of the off-water lots will be 60 x 110. Home sizes are expected between the low 2000 to high 3000 square foot range and prices are projected in the 350,000 to 450,000 range. Gehan Homes and Chesmar Homes are the selected builders for the project. The project is currently under consideration by the city’s Planning, Development & Zoning Commission (PD&Z) and a recommendation will likely be put to council at a January meeting.

The primary entrance will be from CR 58 and the design calls for scenic views of lake and park areas as residents and guest come and go from the development. The lakes to be excavated for the project will differ than the customary water detention areas seen in most developments in that the edge of the waterline will front directly the back yard property lines of the lake lots. There are three lakes spanning 10 acres. Envisioned by the developer are boat docks and piers so that property owners can access their own water crafts and float around to visit friends and neighbors or the community amenities. The lakes will be stocked with edible fish though there will be a catch and release program.

There are several parks planned throughout the development and a main Community Center will be available for public gatherings and a play area for kids and will include a small marina for visitors to launch and /or tie up their various water crafts. Also planned is an area designed more for middle school and high school aged children and adults. It will be set up with nearly one mile of trails with individual exercise stations, a regulation sand lot volley ball court, and a badminton/croquet court.

Smaller “pocket parks” will be spread around the development providing different themes. One will contain a regulation junior soccer field with bleachers. Others include a hummingbird theme, one appealing to various bird species, and a butterfly park will be located near the west entrance on CR 48 which is expected to be used for easy access to the nearby elementary and junior high schools. The planned parks do not meet the city’s current park ordinance but as the preliminary plat for the project was approved previously under different rules the development plan enjoys grandfather status.

Clearing and grubbing of the property is currently underway according to the developer. Excavation and filling are planned for early January and infrastructure improvements will begin immediately thereafter. It is hoped that lots will be available for builders no later than September.

 

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Council delays Comprehensive Plan revisions

December 24, 2014

 

Manvel city council has delayed the adoption of revisions to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. At its only meeting in December council made the decision to only discuss the Plan which served to postpone the vote a second time. A special joint meeting was held earlier in the month with one of the action items being approval of the first reading. To comply with legal requirements council must hold two public hearings on the matter to allow citizens an opportunity to put forth comments.

Reasons for council’s reluctance to approve the changes stem primarily from concerns expressed by some members that the document was not yet in its final form. Member John Cox said he would be uncomfortable acceding approval to a document marked as a draft. The city attorney explained the reason a draft was submitted for approval was to save the costs of printing, saying “we wanted to make sure all the comments were there before they were printed up.”

Member Adrian Gaspar used the instance to support his desire that council and the public have the opportunity to put forth ideas and suggestions prior to the first public hearing. As it is now generally done, the first public hearing is the initial opportunity council members and the public have to study the ordinance. And as the public is typically unaware until after the first public hearing is reported, their input is not heard until the second public hearing, at which time usually council votes their final decision.

Gaspar expanded on his concerns by requesting his fellow council members consider adopting a requirement that any proposed city ordinance be published and discussed before the first public hearing. He thinks council should read the document before the first public hearing and he would like to see the public have the opportunity for input so that council would be voting on the actual ordinance they are being asked to pass. He went on to suggest that when the second reading is passed, which at that point means the ordinance has been duly approved, that the official and final document should be then signed, dated, and timed so that each member would have an official copy. Gaspar explained his reasoning as concern that alterations to the document could be inserted between the times of verbal approval to when the document is finally signed by council members. He feels there should be no question later on should council have recollections different than what is being implemented. He says the original could always be consulted and would act as a safety precaution.

Other members felt the matter was not relevant to the discussion but Gaspar pressed on explaining he just wanted to make a point that council did not want to pass the ordinance because it said draft on it. He referenced the city administration as likely to continue asking council to vote approval on draft ordinances until it is made clear by council that they will no longer do so. He said it is the job of council to direct the city staff on expectations.

The implications in Gaspar’s comments were understandably received with some incredulity. Member Lew Shuffler asked Gaspar if he was suggesting there are examples of council approving something that actually was altered. Gaspar explained that he was merely wanting to improve the transparency of the city’s governance and feels it is the responsibility of city council to implement the policies that make that happen. The city attorney responded that the concern really is more a management issue that would be better discussed as a future agenda item. He did concede that it would not be a problem to change the process, especially for the big items such as the Comprehensive Plan, because once you do them they likely will not be changed for another five years.

City council is expected to finally vote on the adoption of the revised Comprehensive Plan when the first public hearing is held at the January 12 meeting.

Manvel implemented its first Comprehensive Plan in 2008 and adopted revisions in 2009. The city charter requires an update to the Plan at least every five years and that is why it currently is under discussion. The Comprehensive Plan is described as a long-range planning document to direct the city’s growth. It lays out the city’s goals and visions for the future and acts as a blue print as city council renders decisions on budgeting, staffing, resource allocation, and growth management. It is a tool to evaluate how change affects current citizens and in determining future infrastructure needs, land use patterns, and the allocation of city resources.

In 2013 council authorized a steering committee consisting of members of the Planning, Development, and Zoning Commission (PD&Z) along with members of the community and various consultants and stakeholders. The participants attended various meetings and provided input. The committee had detailed discussions over a period of about one year and established goals and objectives for each chapter of the Plan. Two town-hall style meetings were held where public input was received.

The Comprehensive Plan is a dynamic document that will change over time as the city develops. Elected officials and those appointed to serve on city boards are tasked with annually reviewing the progress of the Plan and to prioritize the next year’s goals and to recommend changes to the plan as needed. Copies of the Comprehensive Plan are made available to the public and are available any time on the city’s website.

 

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City poised for significant growth; 2014 lays foundation

December 31, 2014

 

Manvel experienced growing pains in 2014 as city leaders struggled to balance the need for proactive planning with the desire of many citizens to maintain the rural character that most moved to the area to enjoy. A transformation to a more urban community appears imminent and it may be safe to posit that years from now 2014 may prove to be the year the impending boom took root. No one episode better recalls the conflict than city council’s decision in March to direct the city staff to develop a plan for annexation of roughly 3,750 acres, which approximated 21% of the city’s land area.

In making the proposal for council’s consideration, City Manager Kyle Jung explained the benefit of annexation as allowing the city to control the kinds of land uses through the implementation of the city’s zoning ordinances. Development in the city’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), where the proposed land is located, does not allow for any city zoning authority. The city would also realize both city ad valorem taxes and potential sales taxes generated from development in the annexed areas.

While the action of council did not technically authorize the annexations - it merely sanctioned their investigation – affected citizens did not understand that and in public hearings that were required to be conducted hostility toward elected officials, and perhaps most pointedly to the city manager, was in plain display. Mayor Martin proclaimed that citizens will need to come forward and be vocal about how they feel if they were not in favor of the proposed annexations. Hundreds took the mayor’s advice as large crowd easily filled the sanctuary of Manvel’s Church of the Harvest to voice their displeasure with city council’s idea of annexing approximately 3,750 acres of land. The first public hearings on the notion was wisely relocated from city hall to accommodate the large crowd.

One speaker well summarized the crowd’s state of mind by telling council simply to “leave us alone.” Some related their preferred lifestyles of country living, such things as shooting firearms, discharging fireworks, and raising livestock, that would be disallowed if annexed into the city. Threats of lawsuits and diligent efforts to unseat any council member who votes in favor of an annexation were repeatedly expressed. Ironically it was council member Melody Hanson who pointed out that current residents in the city’s ETJ do not enjoy the privilege of voting in city elections. She made the point that the affected citizens would get representation through the annexations, saying “they get a chance to vote and have a say in this city and they get a chance to run for office if they wish. Right now they are impacted by what we do but they have no say in what we do.”

A common concern expressed by many was that the city is unable to provide services in return for the taxes that will be borne. Many expressed a view that the city is barely able to maintain its infrastructure on current residents, let alone taking on another 5.75 square miles. Another typical comment was essentially that the annexation plan is little more than a money grab for the city. While the potential for future property and sales taxes was certainly an influence, perhaps more importantly from a city planning point of view is the control allowed on future development. Before the annexations, property outside the city limits was not subject to city zoning ordinances which precluded the city from any input on future development. With no control on the incursion of unbridled development, current and future residents, including those in the proposed annexed areas, would have no choice but to live with whatever type of business or structure a property owner decided to construct. Annexations would also allow the city to control the major thoroughfares and intersections so that order in the transportation plan is established proactively rather than reactively.

Council member Hanson made the case that annexation is in keeping with what council has been doing in recent years. “All the things we have put in place, the city’s Comprehensive Plan, the City Charter, the Transportation Plan, the drainage studies and GIS mapping system have all been the frameworks put in place and when you have a city that is dotted around its perimeters with these smaller areas, for me it is an issue of land control. I know that has positives and negatives depending on one’s perspective. But we as a city have been putting these things in place and I know it is frustrating because when you look around it seems like we have not made a lot of progress, but a lot of the stuff we have been working at here is putting the policies and procedures in place so that when growth comes, and it is coming, will be able to handle it. We are trying to address a lot of problems before they get here.”

Hanson went on to refute those who claim the city’s desire for annexation is merely a tax grab, saying “I can tell you it is not. We as a council every year have the opportunity to raise the tax rate and we don’t even have to get voter approval for it. We have a balanced budget and we’ve had a balanced budget as long as I have been a member of council.” She reminded those in attendance that the tax rate has not been raised in six years. She touted the city’s high bond rating “because we put the procedures in place and we have been very fiscally prudent with the tax payer money.”

Hanson continued her thoughts saying “we on council were elected to represent the 7000 people that currently live here, and that is what we are doing our best to do. We don’t get paid and we spend long hours and all of us take this job very, very seriously.”

Council ultimately took an objective look at the future and considered two primary reasons to consider annexations. One was to turn back Brazoria County ESD #3’s anticipated effort to impose a sales tax throughout their entire district and to control future land use in areas along current and proposed major thoroughfares, thereby allowing city planners the ability to implement zoning regulations in the annexed areas to control both development and traffic flow.

In all council approved seven ordinances with each including unique areas. Member Lew Shuffler reminded that council ultimately approved just 981 acres from the originally proposed 3750. Member Larry Akery said that when citizens approved a city charter and made Manvel a home-rule city, “a majority of the people knew this was going to happen.” The vote on each ordinance was 4-2 with Mayor Delores Martin and Council Member Adrian Gaspar voting no. Gaspar said that he has learned one thing while serving on council: “it’s very hard to please everybody but it is very easy to tick everybody off.”

Continuing with the challenges of coming development, a steering committee worked to review and update the city’s Comprehensive plan. A key point of discussion was the determination of building lot sizes on residential lots and how it could affect the city’s development. Mayor Delores Martin fears a requirement for larger lots will “go over to the homeowner and if lots are more expensive it could end up being a deterrent to the developers coming here.” Martin believes a shrewd developer will want a diversity of lots and believes “not everybody wants a big lot. Some of our senior citizens do not want any lot at all. They want a patio home, a postage stamp, they don’t want grass to cut. People want diversity.” Not all on council agree with the mayor. Council member Adrian Gaspar supports the recommendation of PD&Z for a larger lot size saying he moved here for the rural character. He favors a lower density in development and wants the extra room it would provide. Member Lew Shuffler favors a larger lot size for the cosmetic look of the city. Council is expected to formally accept a new Comprehensive Plan in the early months of 2015.

A critical piece of the city’s infrastructure that will allow for commercial development to follow the residential rooftops that are in the pipeline is the installation of water and sewer lines down state highway 6 to 288. Manvel’s Economic Development Corporation authorized the bulk of funding to cover the cost of the improvements which are expected to be available in the first months of 2015. The infrastructure project has been in the works since April 2012 and will provide a 12” water line and a 24” gravity sewer line on the north side of State Hwy 6. Service will also be installed on the south side. For years commercial development has been stifled in Manvel due to the inability of the city to provide water and sewer infrastructure. With its availability the city is far more likely to see significant retail development in the near future, including a grocery store that so many clamor for.

Meanwhile, setting the stage for the city’s commercial prospects, Lakeland continues to sell homes nearly as fast as they are complete. Sedona Lakes has begun construction in new phases and like Lakeland is enjoying robust sales. At the end of the year, Pamona received its final approvals from city council to begin construction of infrastructure and its first model homes. Sales are expected to commence in mid-2015. Other new developments are expected to begin in 2015 as well and the established Rodeo Palms development will see the resumption of construction after finally completing their water well improvements that were the cause of a building moratorium being placed on the development for more than a year.

2014 will likely prove to have been a significant year in Manvel’s development. Many important ordinances and plans were either passed into law or were introduced to soon be determined. The city is poised to see substantial growth and city leaders will no doubt continue to grapple with the tough decisions that will determine the type of community Manvel will grow into.

 

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