Approaching full build-out, Sugar Land updates land use plan

Sugar Land City Hall

Sugar Land City Hall

Image description
Sugar Land
Image description
Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.49.33 AM (1)
Image description
Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.57.37 AM (1)
Single-family residential neighborhoods, limited multifamily housing and redevelopment efforts are the focus for Sugar Land's updated land use plan. The city's Land Use Advisory Committee presented the recommended changes Wednesday after four years of discussion.

The land use plan provides policy direction and guidance for the city planning office. The committee’s purpose is to ensure these policies are up-to-date and relevant, and to develop policy recommendations, according to the city's website.

The updated plan will be presented to the Sugar Land Planning and Zoning Commission, which will then make a recommendation to City Council for a vote, said Lisa Kocich-Meyer, Sugar Land director of planning.

“Looking ahead was one of the questions we asked ourselves when we started looking at an update to our land use plan: What should Sugar Land look like, be like 25 years from now?” Kocich-Meyer said. “[The plan] guides how the city will positively and correctively respond to long-term shifts in the market and demographic trends as they change over time.”

Running out of room

Buildings are starting to age after being 30-50 years, and city faces new development challenges to remain a desirable place to live and conduct business in the future, Kocich-Meyer said. The city also has limited land available for development.

“We’re approximately 93 percent developed,” she said.

Based on feedback from residents, the LUAC determined protecting single-family residential neighborhoods should be a top priority.

“I think it’s fair to say the advisory committee feels like this is the most important goal of the plan,” LUAC member Taylor Landin said. “This plan calls for at least 88 percent of all housing stock in the city to be single-family.”

The plan recommends city council take a proactive approach to maintain neighborhoods' aesthetics and property values through code enforcement. It also encourages increased coordination with school districts to see how they are affected by major development, according to the plan and LUAC member Nish Gurnani.

Multifamily restrictions

Concerns from many residents about multifamily residential developments and resulting population density were also a factor in the recommendations, LUAC member Glenn Smith said. The updated plan places a cap on multi-family residential developments of no more than 12 percent of the total housing units in Sugar Land and its extraterritorial jurisdictions.

It also states city council should not approve any additional stand-alone multi-family residential complexes.

“Also, I think a lot of people have memories of what happened in southwest Houston back in the ‘80s, where there was a large number of apartment complexes that quickly became section 8 housing,” Smith said. “They began to be run down, and I think [residents] are just afraid there might be that kind of thing happening here.”

Activity centers desired

Another priority identified by LUAC was to encourage development and redevelopment that caters to changing lifestyles, demographics, and market demands, Landin said. Developing or redeveloping land may potentially reverse or prevent declines in a city’s fiscal condition, according to the land use plan.

The updated plan reflects a renewed focus on developing and redeveloping activity centers, including mixed-use developments such as Sugar Land Town Square and First Colony Commons.

“This plan here addresses pretty much everything that the city needs, moving forward, to preserve our quality of life,” LUAC co-chair Bob Ring said. “We have to watch the quality of our commercial centers and the preservation of those, and this plan protects the city.”
By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.


Fort Bend County residents may be eligible for up to 12 months of assistance for rent and utilities through a new emergency rental assistance program. (Courtesy Pexel)
New emergency rental assistance program open for eligible Fort Bend County residents

Fort Bend County residents who are struggling to pay their rent and utility bills may be eligible to apply for relief through a new emergency assistance program.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

Fort Bend County residents will be notified via email, text message or phone call with information about their COVID-19 vaccine appointment. (Courtesy Pexels)
Fort Bend County announces new COVID-19 vaccination system

More Fort Bend County residents than before can now sign up and be placed on a waitlist for a COVID-19 vaccine, thanks to the county's new registration system.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Fort Bend County. (Community Impact staff)
Fort Bend County surpasses 50,000 coronavirus cases; testing slowed during winter storm

Fort Bend County Health & Human Services has recorded 1,512 new coronavirus cases since the Feb. 15 winter storm that resulted in days of freezing temperatures and widespread power outages.

The new Fort Bend Epicenter multipurpose facility could be used as a spot for trade shows and sporting events, could act as a large-scale shelter for county residents in an emergency and more. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Large multipurpose complex coming to Fort Bend County; Sugar Land to widen University Blvd. and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Greater Houston Builders Association President Keith Luechtefeld discusses power, plumbing, frozen pipes after Winter Storm Uri

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather.

Winter Storm Uri led to closures across the Greater Houston area during the third week of February. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
‘It’s been a rough year for us’: Expert explains economic effects of winter storm, ongoing pandemic in Houston region

“It's been a rough year for us economically; it's been a rough year for us public health wise. It's just been a rough year for us psychologically—first the coronavirus and then the freeze," said Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.

Traffic cone, hard hat, construction equipment, motor grader. (Courtesy Fotolia)
With eminent domain ongoing, construction pushed back on Knight Road extension in Missouri City

Once complete, Knight Road will connect the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road to McKeever Road.

Bounce Bounce Trampoline Park is slated to open in Missouri City this summer. (Courtesy Bounce Bounce)
Bounce Bounce Trampoline Park delays Missouri City opening until summer

When it opens this summer, the indoor activity park will feature wall-to-wall trampolines as well as trampoline sports courts, a foam pit, a zip line and other attractions.