Shenandoah City Council is working to take control of Grogans Mill Road by requesting its release from the city of Houston’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, as discussed during the Oct. 24 meeting.
According to Mayor Ritch Wheeler, when discussions first began between local entities about a solution for the intersection of Research Forest Drive and Grogans Mill, one of the potential projects studied was an overpass on Grogans Mill, which would require Grogans Mill to be widened from two to four lanes—something Wheeler said would negatively impact the thoroughfare’s existing residential appeal.
Though Grogans Mill lies within the city of Houston’s ETJ, Montgomery County has control over the road—not the city of Shenandoah.
“We came to the conclusion of, ‘Why don’t we just ask if we can … just strip annex [Grogans Mill] from the city of Houston’s ETJ?’” Wheeler said. “Doing so would allow us to enforce Grogans Mill with our police department … maintain it to our standards … allow us to restripe it and put signage out if we wanted to … but most importantly, it would ensure that Grogans Mill never gets expanded to four lanes.”
Wheeler said he and City Administrator Kathie Reyer discussed the idea with the city of Houston’s zoning board and were told they would need to send the city of Houston a formal letter of request and as well as a formal letter of support from the county.
“I met with [Montgomery County Precinct 2] Commissioner [Charlie] Riley this morning and gave him a copy of the letter, and he said he would support it,” Wheeler said. “So he’s going to take this letter to the next Commissioners Court meeting for a vote, and [if they approve it]we can send that to the city of Houston along with our letter.”
Wheeler said the strip annexation would give the city control of Grogans Mill from the southern portion of the city limits at Tiffany Green Drive up to Vision Park Boulevard, including the right of way.
“We won’t be annexing any houses; we obviously won’t be annexing any commercial properties, [and]we don’t pick up any tax base off of this,” Wheeler said. “[But] I’ve told you all my No. 1 goal out of this whole deal from day one has been to protect Grogans Mill Road, and I think we would accomplish that task [through this annexation].”
The rest of council expressed their support for the idea and unanimously voted to approve the city’s request for the release of Grogans Mill from the city of Houston’s ETJ.
“I think this is a fantastic idea,” Council Member Mike McLeod said. “Once we do that, [Grogans Mill] of course becomes our road to maintain, take care of and repair, [but]I think that expense is well worth it. It’s a huge benefit for our families and residents who live in that area.”
The next step of the process will depend on whether the city receives support on the initiative from the Commissioners Court. The next Commissioners Court meeting is scheduled for Nov. 13 at 9:30 a.m.
“We don’t know what a future council might do, but at least from that point forward, [Grogans Mill] would be in the hands of the city, and we would be able to determine that fate down the road,” Wheeler said.