Woodlands Township reiterates stance against ‘any development’ in W.G. Jones State Forest

The Woodlands Township affirmed a resolution Wednesday against any development in WG Jones State Forest.

The Woodlands Township affirmed a resolution Wednesday against any development in WG Jones State Forest.

Following community backlash against Senate Bill 1964, The Woodlands Township on Wednesday voted to reaffirm its position against any development in W.G. Jones State Forest.

Township board Chairman Gordy Bunch said he thinks the initial bill—which would have allowed Texas A&M University to use or lease land in the forest for the construction of buildings for academic, research or commercial uses—got the reaction it deserved from the surrounding community. In response to the community concerns, Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, introduced a committee substitute bill Wednesday that instead intends to protect 100 percent of the forest from future development.

“I think the sense of our community—those who signed the position and the commitment of this board—is to oppose development of any kind in the Jones Forest, whether it’s a road or campus or anything that alters the condition it’s in today,” Bunch said.

One of the reasons Creighton filed the original bill was to keep control of the issue local, township Director John Anthony Brown said.

“If this bill was pulled, then somebody else in the future could take this up and the constituents under Creighton wouldn’t have a say at all,” Brown said. “I think not doing anything would be more harmful than doing something."

Although the township does not have jurisdiction over the forest, it sits adjacent to the community on more than 1,700 acres of land near FM 1488 and Hwy. 242, serving as a public asset for residents, visitors and students. Bunch said the township invited Texas A&M representatives to Wednesday night’s meeting to explain their future plans for the site, which they manage today, however, none were in attendance.

Township Director Bruce Rieser said while he will reserve judgment on the bill because it is not through the legislative process yet, he is fully prepared to oppose any effort to develop the park.

“The fact that Texas A&M will not face the public and explain what they intend to do with the forest makes me even more opposed to what they want to do,” he said. “They need to come down and explain themselves, frankly.”

Township Directors John McMullan and Ann Snyder both said there has not been enough public outreach throughout the process or prior to the bill being filed.

“It seems to me what happened is a bill was introduced initially without any public input on a community asset of great importance to all of us, and it just appeared,” McMullan said. “It looks like what happened, over time, is the text of the bill has shifted, but again, there hasn’t been proper public outreach before we got to this point.”

Brown said it was great to have a topic that all the communities in Montgomery County could join together to stand against.

“Before it was just The Woodlands versus all, so it was great to have a sense of real community where everybody had a stake in it,” he said.


MOST RECENT

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19 testing locations remain open in Montgomery County and more local news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Work at Rayford Road and Birnham Woods Drive has begun. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Work underway to widen Rayford Road at Birnham Woods Drive east of Grand Parkway; traffic signal, left-turn lanes planned

Here's what to expect as construction commences on Rayford Road at Birnham Woods Drive and when it will wrap up.

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 Harris County Justice Administration Department is working to release final reports and launch pilot programs in early 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County Justice Administration Department makes headway on countywide criminal justice studies

The department is working to release the final versions of several studies and launch pilot programs with local law enforcement groups in early 2021.

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.