The Woodlands incorporation study off the table in 2020 due to coronavirus emergency

The Woodlands Township held its March 25 meeting through a Zoom teleconference in keeping with social distancing requirements. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
The Woodlands Township held its March 25 meeting through a Zoom teleconference in keeping with social distancing requirements. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

The Woodlands Township held its March 25 meeting through a Zoom teleconference in keeping with social distancing requirements. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

The incorporation study begun by The Woodlands Township in 2018, which was potentially headed to a November vote this year, has been deferred for now as concerns over the coronavirus pandemic take center stage in The Woodlands and in the country.

Board of directors Chair Gordy Bunch said at the meeting held via teleconference on the township website on March 25 the matter may be taken up again in the future by another board, but the board’s focus for now must be on responding to the coronavirus crisis, which will have economic and other repercussions in the community.

“The COVID-19 crisis is one of many burdens that alters the timing for governance transition options,” Bunch said at the meeting. “Over the past two and a half years, the board has spent a great deal of time studying incorporation. However, it’s time for the board to spend time focusing on the crisis at hand. ... Based on the uncertainties created by the current international health crisis, I recommend that the township board of directors defer the incorporation process at this time.”

Board of directors members participated in the Zoom teleconference from their homes and residents were able to participate in the meeting by calling in. Several residents talked about concerns regarding the pandemic and others remarked on the need to swivel away from incorporation during the health emergency.

“We are now learning there are things far more important than incorporation,” said Alden Bridge resident Claude Hunter. “[Disasters] pay no attention to whether we’re incorporated or not.”


Bunch said the comprehensive incorporation planning study performed by The Novak Financial Group can be used by future boards, as much of the information will still be usable. The next step in the process will be a community engagement process if a future board picks up the study and updates the financial information, he said.

Bunch said the effect of business and hospitality closings on sales and hotel tax will not be known for several months, because there is a two-month lag in sales tax collections. The community will likely not know the full financial implications of the coronavirus crisis for many months because of the many factors disrupting the economy, he said.

“Our community is not just reeling from COVID-19 business closures, layoffs, event cancellations, stock market crashes, but also decade lows for oil and gas that creates a compounding impact on our local economy,” Bunch said.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


MOST RECENT

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.

Montgomery County is set to receive its largest first-dose allocation during the week of March 1. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County set to receive largest vaccine allocation yet in first week of March

Nearly 20,000 vaccine doses were allocated to the county's two vaccine hubs and several additional providers for the week of March 1.

A coronavirus vaccine is given at Memorial Hermann's mass vaccine clinic Feb. 26. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Memorial Hermann closes out 2nd round of vaccines with 7,000 distributed among 2 clinics

The clinic will continue operations through 5:30 p.m. Feb. 27.

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.

The Woodlands Township board of directors met Feb. 24 to discuss items including winter storm recovery and a financial report. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
The Woodlands officials criticize county officials over CARES Act funds management; commissioner fires back

The Woodlands Township board of directors criticized Montgomery County's methods of allocating federal coronavirus aid at the board's Feb. 24 meeting, calling the $244,000 the township received a "slap in the face."

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.

Harris County ESD No. 11 commissioners met for a meeting Feb. 25. (Courtesy Cypress Creek EMS)
Harris County ESD No. 11 begins construction process on new facility

District offiicials have said they hope Phase 1 of construction will be complete by August.

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.

Gracie Barra The Woodlands relocated to a new training center on Richards Road earlier this year. (Courtesy Gracie Barra The Woodlands)
New cosmetic services, MMA gym: 5 recent business updates in The Woodlands and northern Spring

Several businesses have recently opened in or relocated into The Woodlands area.

In addition to produce, Theiss Farms offers grass-fed beef. The family’s herd of cattle grazes in a pasture near the intersection of Spring Cypress and Stuebner Airline roads. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Theiss Farms Market owner on winter storm: 'I knew everything was going to die, and it did'

Nothing could have prepared local farmers for last week's winter storm, Theiss Farms Market co-owner Dwayne Theiss said.