Missouri City once again has the green light to move forward with plans to redesign Freedom Tree Park after an easement issue held up the project for months.

An existing pipeline owned by petroleum refinery company Phillips 66 runs through a section of the roughly 4.94-acre park. Because Phillips 66 owns an easement for the pipe, it holds the right to access the pipeline for construction or other concerns and prevents the city from building over the pipeline.

However, the intervention of Congressman Al Green, D-Houston, allowed Missouri City to make contact with Phillips 66 and work out a deal, city staff said during the March 6 City Council meeting.

“After trying to do this on our own, we just couldn’t get it done,” said Missouri City Parks & Recreation Director Jason Magnum during the March 6 meeting.

Design for the project was awarded to Halff Associates in April 2022 in the amount of $342,990, but the firm was unable to complete its designs with the right-of-way easement in place. Once completed, the park is expected to cost around $3.16 million, according to Missouri City staff estimates when the project was presented in 2022.

“I’d like the record to reflect the amicable and amenable attitude by Phillips 66,” Green said during the meeting.

The City Council approved an amendment to the right-of-way deed allowing Missouri City to build over the defunct pipeline, but also allow Phillips 66 to access the pipeline if it chooses. The amendment passed 5-0. Council Members Lynn Clouser and Anthony Maroulis were absent during the March 6 meeting.

YES Prep Academy rejected

A bid from YES Prep Public Schools, a Texas charter school system, to establish a school in Missouri City was rejected by City Council after being lambasted by the public and education officials alike.

The school, which would have been located on 8.1 acres of land at the intersection of Beltway 8 and McLane Boulevard, sought a Specific Use Permit that would allow the City Council to rezone the land for educational purposes. The school was criticized by residents during the public hearing for its placement at what was described by residents and city staff as a busy intersection.

“I see potential problems and issues and accidents,” Councilmember Monica Riley said. “That puts more pressure on our police department, that puts more pressure on our fire department.”

In addition, Council Member Jeffrey Boney said he attended the last two Planning & Zoning Commission meetings.

“I see [the school’s location] as potential accidents waiting to happen,” he said.

Council Member Sonya Brown-Marshall said she was “extremely concerned” with crash reports that appeared to indicate a dangerous intersection.

In total, six residents wrote against the rezoning, and five wrote in favor.

The City Council voted 4-1 to reject the rezoning proposal. Mayor Robin Elackatt voted against the motion. However, Elackatt clarified later in the meeting that he misunderstood the motion and a subsequent suspension of the rules and revote resulted in a 5-0 vote to reject the rezoning request.