Friendswood has 14% of city left to develop

Friendswood has about 1,900 acres of undeveloped land, which represents about 14% of the city’s total size of about 13,000 acres. (Community Impact staff)
Friendswood has about 1,900 acres of undeveloped land, which represents about 14% of the city’s total size of about 13,000 acres. (Community Impact staff)

Friendswood has about 1,900 acres of undeveloped land, which represents about 14% of the city’s total size of about 13,000 acres. (Community Impact staff)

Friendswood has about 1,900 acres of undeveloped land, which represents about 14% of the city’s total size of about 13,000 acres.

Director of Community Development Aubrey Harbin shared this fact during a comprehensive plan update at Friendswood City Council’s regular meeting Jan. 11.

Of the remaining undeveloped land, about 61% is zoned as single-family residential. Another 13.6% is zoned as community shopping center, and 13.4% is zoned as industrial, Harbin said.

Most of the undeveloped land is on the city’s south side. A good portion of the undeveloped land is on the city’s western edge on the southern half of the city.

City Manager Morad Kabiri said the undeveloped land left in the city will be the most difficult to develop. All the land lacks infrastructure and abuts existing developments, which means that City Council should expect infrastructure hurdles and for neighboring property owners to contest developments, he said.


Additionally, the city is working on its future land use map. The city will establish a timeline and process to obtain input from city committees and boards as well as the public and developers as it finalizes the map, Harbin said.

“We’ll put that back on the to-do list and get going on that,” she said.

Drainage update

Deputy Director of Engineering Samantha Haritos shared an update with City Council on local and regional drainage projects.

In October, the city of Friendswood applied for a $78 million Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Program grant that would fund several drainage projects on the east side of Clear Creek, just west of Bay Area Boulevard and just south of FM 528.

Haritos said $1 billion of funding is available, but the total cost of the projects from cities that applied for the grants is over $5.9 billion, which means Friendswood has about a 1 in 6 chance of securing the grant, she said.

Additionally, the city recently updated its design criteria material. Friendswood has adopted Atlas 14 rainfall data, increased minimum elevations for structures and implemented other flood-related changes to its development ordinances, Haritos said.

The terracing of Imperial Estates, a development the city bought out due to its tendency to flood, is 65% complete. The city has spent $5.5 million on the project, and the Galveston County Consolidated Drainage District has spent about $5.1 million on the $15 million-$16 million project so far, Haritos said.

Haritos also voiced citywide support for the Clear Creek widening project to the north, the Clear Creek study led by League City farther downstream and the Coastal Texas Study along the coast.
By Jake Magee

Editor, Bay Area & Pearland/Friendswood

Jake has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper. Today, he covers everything from aerospace to transportation to flood mitigation.



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