Here are 5 takeaways from Montgomery's comprehensive plan

Montgomery reviewed its comprehensive plan July 8. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery reviewed its comprehensive plan July 8. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Montgomery reviewed its comprehensive plan July 8. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

During a July 8 virtual public meeting, the city of Montgomery reviewed a finalized version of a comprehensive plan put together by Texas A&M University officials and students to focus and enhance the city’s growth.



The comprehensive plan was developed in collaboration with Texas A&M’s Sea Grant, a project between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state of Texas and other universities in the state, according to its website.



Walter Peacock, a planning specialist with the grant, said the plan provides the city a guideline for development goals for the next 20 to 30 years.



“It depicts an overarching vision,” Peacock said. “It’s a public document that justifies city decision making.”



The plan also provides the city a leg up when applying for grants that could fund the projects suggested, according to Peacock.



Although the next step is for the City Council to adopt the plan, Peacock clarified that does not mean the city must instantly begin applying its concepts or even keep them the same. He said the city is able to change or ignore parts of the plan as the city grows or resident opinions change.



“If the community doesn’t want these types of things, they don’t have to do it,” Peacock said. “If it’s something the community does not want, it should be written out, and it should be adjusted.”



The plan focused on four topics: housing, transportation, economic development and community facilities. Peacock said the plan also developed some master plan communities and a downtown design for the city. The plan also included an implementation plan as well as possible funding sources the city could utilize.



Housing



The city of Montgomery has a higher percentage of single-family housing than the county and state averages, according to Peacock’s presentation. This correlates to the relatively low multifamily housing available in the city. Peacock said this presents an opportunity to either develop more multifamily housing or increase the density of housing.



Peacock also said the average home value of Montgomery is $277,000, higher than the county’s at $206,400 and the state’s at $151,500.



“I know Montgomery is quite a small community, but there are opportunities for higher density and at least more housing options,” Peacock said.



Transportation



Peacock acknowledged Montgomery receives a lot of traffic in a day, complicating efforts to building walkable areas. He said the city should invest in “traffic-calming” strategies by adding sidewalks, plant buffers and diagonal street parking as well as bus stops and crosswalks.



He also said the downtown area has some mobility problems for those in wheelchairs and suggested adding ramps to improve accessibility.



Economic development



Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Peacock said the city was in good standing. He praised the Montgomery Economic Development Corp. for its efforts to support local businesses.



Although the data comes from before the pandemic, the grant found the city has a relatively high median household income of $61,131. However, Peacock said the growth in jobs in the city includes low-paying jobs in accommodation and food services. He also said many of the higher incomes are employed outside the city limits.



To combat this, Peacock suggested the city collaborate with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce to diversify its economy and create a more favorable environment to attract new businesses as well as continuing to support local small businesses.



“It needs to be a multipronged approach to get these high paying jobs here,” Peacock said.



Community facilities



Peacock praised Montgomery’s community facilities, specifically the proximity between the fire department, police department, school and parks with residential areas.



“But there’s a problem with that—the big problem is the lack of connectivity to these parts,” Peacock said.



The grant received input from citizens that one of their top concerns was a lack of public sport facilities, and Peacock encouraged the city to coordinate with Montgomery ISD to allow public access to the school fields.



He also suggested creating new impact fees for developers. Current impact fees only cover water and sewer services as well as water meters. Peacock suggested adding more impact fees would allow the city to increase the amount of money to invest in public projects.



Downtown



Peacock encouraged the city to develop more zoning options for the land. He said there is “not much room” for multifamily, mixed-use lots. He also encouraged expanding the Historic District in downtown Montgomery to protect other homes and encourage businesses to develop around this district.



To do this, Peacock said the city should apply more varied zoning options and develop parking in the downtown area.



“Let people know where they are and why they should be visiting this area,” Peacock said.

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


MOST RECENT

Conroe ISD heard a presentation on its FY 2020-21 budget at an Aug. 4 meeting. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD considers adopting tax rate of $1.2125 for FY 2020-21

The next board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 18, when there will be a public hearing before the board adopts its tax rate and budget.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown will remain closed for the 2020 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, park officials announced Aug. 4. (Courtesy Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown)
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown to remain closed for 2020 season

According to the announcement, all 2020 Hurricane Harbor Splashtown season passes and pre-purchased tickets will be valid for the 2021 season.

The county's active COVID-19 case count fell Aug. 4 as recoveries rose. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County reports 2 deaths related to COVID-19 on Aug. 4; recoveries continue to rise

Active cases fell by 82 on Aug. 4 while recoveries rose by 186, according to the county public health district.

In the last year, Whataburger launched a new, modern restaurant design and began offering curbside and delivery services for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release. (Courtesy Elizabeth James for Whataburger)
Whataburger to celebrate 70th anniversary, unveil food truck, expand into 3 states

Nine more new Whataburger locations are planned by year's end, and 35 new restaurants are proposed for 2021.

The U.S. Census Bureau will halt its counting operation a month earlier than expected. (Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)
U.S. Census Bureau to halt counting operation a month earlier than expected

The self-response deadline has moved up to Sept. 30.

Owners Bradley Bailey and Makenzie Rankin opened Galavant's Coffee on Aug. 3. (Courtesy Galavant's Coffee)
Galavant's Coffee now open in downtown Conroe

The mobile coffee cart opened Aug. 3 in downtown Conroe.

A hospitalized man in his 20s with no comorbidities has died. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County's active coronavirus cases continue slow drop; 69th death reported Aug. 3

A hospitalized man in his 20s with no comorbidities has died.

“We understand these are uncertain times and many families are worried how they are going to balance work and follow the vital school curriculum at home,” YMCA President and CEO Stephen Ives said in the release. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Registration open for 11 YMCA locations offering virtual learning centers to help working families this fall

“We understand these are uncertain times and many families are worried how they are going to balance work and follow the vital school curriculum at home,” YMCA President and CEO Stephen Ives said in the release.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center ICU capacity returns to Phase 1 levels as COVID-19 hospitalizations decline

The Texas Medical Center has fewer patients in intensive care units as of Aug. 2.

Texas sales tax
Report: With boost in e-commerce, Texas sales tax receipts increased 4.3% in July

The loss of extra unemployment support could send numbers back down, however.