Tree, street variances for Chapel Run subdivision development approved at Conroe City Council

Conroe City Council made a flurry of small infrastructure and development approvals at its Jan. 10 meeting, including controversial tree and street-width variances for a subdivision development.

The items that raised the most discussion were a number of variances for the Chapel Run subdivision by The Woodlands-based The Signorelli Company real estate development company in Municipal Utility District 149 that were ultimately approved, including a tree variance, a setback variance, a sidewalk variance and a street variance.

All passed unanimously except the street right of way variance, on which the council voted in a 2-2 tie broken in favor of the variance by Mayor Toby Powell, who only votes when the council votes in a tie. The controversy surrounded whether emergency vehicles could pass two SUVs parked directly across from each other along one of the narrower streets.

"If people are allowed to park on the street, it's going to be a major problem," Council Member Duane Ham said at the Jan. 9 workshop. "We're in a pickle."

Representatives from Signorelli said at the workshop that driveways could be staggered, garages will be built, and the future HOA can create street parking rules.

The tree variance agreement included adding green space to the Chapel Run neighborhood with amenities such as a walking path around a pond.

"It was a pasture, and [the former owners] had been hauling hay on it for some time. ... A [few] trees are alive, but not attractive and in the wrong area," Director of Community Development Nancy Mikeska said at the Jan. 9 workshop. "The developer in this case did not clear the site. ... Time is not going to change anything on this site. At the end of the day, the rule of reasonableness has to come into play. Are we leaving this project, as far as trees go, better than it started? Today it's a haphazard site with trees everywhere, no homes live in there, the city does not benefit from not acquiring taxes that would come [if the property development moves forward]. That's what I would apply to it."

Without the tree variance approval, Signorelli could have been subject to either planting more than 1,000 trees on the 114-acre MUD or paying the city $1 million in mitigation if it moved forward with the Chapel Run development.

In other news Thursday, council:

• Unanimously named Kingwood-based Martinez Architects as designer of the new police services fleet facility for $185,000.

• Unanimously contracted Conroe-based Bleyl Engineering to replace a storage tank in the industrial park for $157,840.

• Unanimously approved an utility agreement with CTM Holdings for the Maxedon Property development.

• Unanimously approved an interlocal agreement to expand Farrell Road.


Heading into Thanksgiving, Texas Medical Center continues to report uptick in hospitalizations

The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Texas Medical Center facilities has increased by more than 50% over two weeks.

The gym will be located at 910 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 100, Montgomery. (Courtesy Anytime Fitness)
Anytime Fitness to open in Woodforest in Montgomery this winter

The gym will be located at 910 Pine Market Ave., Ste. 100, Montgomery.

Trendmaker Homes has cleared abut 95 acres of trees just south of Pine Valley Drive. (Courtesy Steve Stewart)
New Trendmaker Homes community coming south of Pine Valley Drive, Conroe in fall 2021

Trendmaker Homes has cleared abut 95 acres of trees just south of Pine Valley Drive.

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Montgomery County

Molecular testing used to identify active COVID-19 cases and antibody testing to identify previous infections are both available in the county.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

Community Impact Newspaper uses data from the Montgomery County Public Health District for weekly case counts. (Community Impact Newspaper)
See Montgomery County's COVID-19 trends Nov. 17-23

Active cases increased from 1,828 to 2,513; recoveries grew from 10,012 to 10,655; and the death toll rose from 165 to 169.

Vince Santini was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott on July 23. The court was created to address Montgomery County's growing backlog of civil cases. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Montgomery County 457th District Court judge discusses new role, case backlog

When Vince Santini and his staff moved into the new building, they had to work off cardboard boxes and folding tables until furniture was purchased.

sand mining San Jacinto River APO Kingwood
Process begins to form best practices for sand mining companies in San Jacinto River Basin

“What we're advocating for is that standards be developed that provide a broader regional benefit while maintaining consistency and predictability," said Jill Boullin, executive director of the Bayou Land Conservancy.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Shake Shack opened its new standalone location at The Woodlands Mall in November. (Courtesy Christine Han)
Shake Shack opens in The Woodlands Mall and more Houston-area updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

Each month, Community Impact Newspaper features a neighborhood in the Conroe and Montgomery area. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
See year-over-year real estate data in Conroe, Montgomery, plus this month's featured neighborhood, Arbor Place

The median price of homes sold in October 2019 compared to October 2020 increased in all but one ZIP code.

The Skeeters will be the first-ever independent baseball league team to become an MLB team's Triple-A affiliate. (Courtesy Sugar Land Skeeters)
Sugar Land Skeeters selected as Triple-A affiliate for Houston Astros

In joining the Houston Astros organization, the Sugar Land Skeeters will be the first-ever independent baseball league team to become an MLB team's Triple-A affiliate.