New residential and retail opportunities are on the horizon in Brazoria County after state Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, created a new municipal utility district during the 84th Texas Legislature. The new MUD is part of an effort to spur further development in the county.
MUD No. 68—located east of Hwy. 288 and west of Hwy. 35 in Alvin— is the newest of the approximately 70 MUDs in Brazoria County, which includes more than 15 in the city of Pearland. Pearland City Attorney Darrin Coker said MUDs in Pearland have helped spark residential and retail growth and have also helped to expand the city’s limits.
“[MUDs] create rooftops, which is a trigger for ultimately the retail development,” Coker said.
Pearland’s first MUDs were established in the 1980s in what is now the Silvercreek subdivision. Coker said once MUDs were annexed in 1998, it sparked a decade long growth of residential and retail development.
“The in-city MUDS that we currently have spurred incredible and rapid growth [from 1998 to 2008],” he said.
Local MUD projects
Although a MUD primarily supplies water, drainage and sewage utilities for residents living within its district, it can also help provide funding for park development and additional security.
Brazoria Fort Bend County MUD No. 1 and Brazoria County MUD No. 26 are working in conjunction with the city of Pearland to develop the Shadow Creek Ranch Regional Sports Park and a temporary ballpark in Shadow Creek Ranch.
Mike Rozell, president of Brazoria Fort Bend County MUD No. 1, said the MUDs stepped in to provide financial support for the city in 2014 when costs of the projects totaled more than what was originally budgeted. With approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Brazoria Fort Bend County MUD No. 1 and Brazoria County MUD No. 26 are able to fund $1.3 million of the $5 million cost to develop Shadow Creek Ranch Regional Sports Park and the temporary ballpark.
Rozell said it is important for MUDs to provide financial support to the city to bring needed amenities to residents living in their districts.
“Sometimes there is discussion back and forth to decide who pays for what,” Rozell said. “At the end of the day, it is the city’s park and the city’s responsibility, but things change, especially budgets. Residents are crying for places to take their kids and their families when there is nothing there.”
MUD No. 68
MUD No. 68 is east of Hwy. 288 and south of FM 1462 in Alvin’s ETJ, and is projected to establish new infrastructure and water and sewage utilities for a residential development by Highland Management Inc.
Although shovels are not expected to break ground on the 5,400-acre tract of a land for another four to five years, Thompson said the MUD will provide the infrastructure needed to connect residents with major thoroughfares.
“One of the concerns I have about these developments is [having the]infrastructure leading to the development,” Thompson said. “This particular MUD is going to build out close to 5,400 acres, and you need some good infrastructure to get people onto highways.”
Although MUD No. 68 is tasked to fund and construct new roads for residential growth, it is also responsible for providing water and sewage services to future developments within the MUD. Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said cities in Brazoria County, including the city of Pearland, do not always provide water, sewage and drainage services to residents in their ETJs.
“The county is not in the water and sewer business,” Sebesta said. “Most cities, not all, have water and sewer services. A [MUD] is basically set up so [it]can be in the utility business.”
Nevertheless Thompson said he anticipates MUD No. 68 will improve the quality of a future subdivision as well as add additional amenities.
“One thing MUDs do is provide the ability to develop subdivisions for people to live,” he said. “It adds to the quality of the communities, especially when people are looking to move to a new area [because]it allows them to work and live in an area they want to be in.”