While city of Shenandoah and Montgomery County officials in December announced plans to extend city water and sewer services to the community of Tamina, members of the community told the city in February that better communication is needed on that project and with proposed zoning changes in the area.

The city's planning and zoning board Feb. 21 tabled an item to make a recommendation to City Council regarding changes to the city’s comprehensive plan in the area of Tamina Road between I-45 and Johnson Road after hearing from residents from the Tamina community in a discussion that took place over several hours.

Three city-owned 1-acre parcels in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Shenandoah were slated for zoning discussion that night. Tyrone Price, a minister representing the Tamina community, and other community members spoke at that meeting, concerned about the implications of the zoning and the clarity with which it was communicated.

In response to resident questions about the potential for annexation in Tamina, officials at the Feb. 21 meeting stated there were no plans to annex portions of Tamina and that the city cannot annex parcels of land without being asked, according to a recording of the meeting. The parcels in question were owned by the city, and the discussion regarding their zoning was essentially a “housekeeping” item, according to offficials at the meeting.

Officials suggested community members also attend the Feb. 22 City Council meeting to voice their concerns.

Price spoke at both meetings and was critical of local governmental agencies for not involving members of the community more closely.

He told City Council the positioning of zoning signs has made it difficult for residents to tell what is being potentially rezoned, he said.

“The zoning signs in the actual community that are vaguely positioned, so we cannot see them without stopping and looking at them. ... That is poor communication,” Price said.

Water and sewer

Tamina residents also spoke Feb. 22 about concerns regarding plans to extend water and sewer to the community.

Through an interlocal agreement between Shenandoah and Montgomery County, $21 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used by Shenandoah to make improvements to the existing sewer and water infrastructure. Tamina is within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Shenandoah.

“For the residents, we have really not been made aware of what Shenandoah’s proposals or plans for the water [are]. ... There has not been much communication to the residents to make a sound and ... educated movement in terms of what is going forward,” Price said.

James Leveston, president of the Old Tamina Water Supply Corp., said in a letter to county commissioners he shared with Community Impact that the corporation's leaders, which purchases and distributes wholesale water, are grateful for the decision to upgrade the system but unhappy with the “picture painted in the newspapers” that Tamina residents did not have clean drinking water.

“We have clean drinking water, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality can attest to that,” he said in the letter.

Leveston also noted in the letter that in published photos of the governmental officials celebrating the interlocal agreement in December, there was no local representation directly from the Tamina community.

“Tamina is surrounded by all these prosperous cities and only 7 or 8 miles from Conroe, and we have been fighting for over 24 years for basic sewer, sitting in the middle of all this prosperity, and we are classified as a low income, slum and blighted area, and we had to give up our water company in order to get federal funding,” he said in the letter. “I want the residents of Tamina to feel pride in our little community and in themselves.”

City officials said at the Feb. 22 meeting more updates would be available on the ARPA project after the due date for requests for quotes for engineering services, which was Feb. 28.

The next meeting of the city of Shenandoah is 7 p.m. March 8 in council chambers at 29955 I-45, Shenandoah. As of March 3, an agenda was not yet available.