Tomball City Council approved rezoning 56.1 acres at FM 2920 and FM 2978 for proposed mixed-use development Tomball Boardwalk on the first reading Aug. 21.

The first reading of the zoning ordinance was approved 4-1 with Council Member Dane Dunagin voting against. Council will cast a second vote before the rezoning is approved.

The background

The proposed development includes retail and office spaces, multifamily residential buildings and a boardwalk area, said Nate Newman, CEO of Newman Commercial Real Estate, which represents NTN Tomball Corner, LLC, the entity requesting the rezoning.

Being called Tomball Boardwalk, the proposed development will include different land uses, such as commercial, retail, office, recreational and multifamily spaces, Newman said.

According to the proposed site plan, proposed apartments will be within 10 acres of the property and will:
  • include 60 units per acre
  • be four stories tall
What they’re saying

“The request to change this to planned development zoning was formed through many discussions with city staff as well as our neighbors, all of whom are supportive of our project,” Newman said in an emailed statement after the meeting. “The combination of a boardwalk, high-end restaurants, convenient retail and Class A multifamily would create a regional destination that would import shopping dollars into the community and generate significant revenue to the city through sales and ad valorem [property tax]."

Zooming in

Tomball Mayor Lori Quinn said during the meeting she is concerned about instances when developments are proposed but not carried out as initially planned.

City Council approved the initial vote on rezoning the property to a planned development, with conditions such as limiting the number of apartments to 300, restricting apartments near the Winfrey Estates community to two stories, and prohibiting the inclusion of car washes or oil change establishments within Tomball Boardwalk.

Craig Meyers, Tomball’s director of community development, said city staff’s basis for recommending the rezoning approval included:
  • The rezoning aligns with the Tomball Comprehensive Plan.
  • The rezoning promotes recreation and entertainment in a unique mixed-use development.
Prior to Newman’s presentation to City Council on Aug. 21, the city’s planning and zoning commission voted 4-1 to approve the proposal Aug. 14 for rezoning the property from single-family and commercial uses to a planned development.

The other side

Property owners within a 300-foot radius were notified of the proposed rezoning, Newman said. However, two public comments were received in opposition of the change in land use, constituting 20% of the neighboring properties being against rezoning.

During public comments, several Tomball residents expressed concerns about flooding in the area and the project's impact on local drainage systems.

"We're striving to ensure emergency services maintain sufficient water supply. I've witnessed trees dying and lawns withering while everyone is making efforts to conserve,” Tomball resident Valerie Hill said during the meeting. “Where will the water come from? I'm concerned about potential flooding, the impact of drought, water consumption and the availability of water resources for this development."

Hill voiced concern as well about the potential impact on local businesses and emphasized the importance of maintaining Tomball's small-town identity rather than turning it into another version of The Woodlands.

Roland Ramirez, broker for ROC Homes/CHTA Development—which is developing Winfrey Estates nearby—said in an email included in the meeting agenda packet to City Planner Jared Smith he objects to the height of the proposed apartments in the planned development.

“The only objection we would have is any structures abutting and impacting our [age] 55-plus homeowners in Winfrey Estates,” Ramizez said in the email. “We would object to apartments two or more levels directly behind our homes along Secret Grove Trail.”

Winfrey Estates is an age 55-plus residential community located at the intersection of Winfrey Lane and FM 2978 in Tomball near the proposed Tomball Boardwalk development.

What’s next

Meyers said council will cast a second vote on the rezoning ordinance Sept. 5.

Newman said in an interview the changes made by the Tomball City Council were impromptu during the public discussion. He said plans will need to be revised for Tomball Boardwalk to ensure the project remains viable within the newly introduced restrictions, and his team will examine if council's conditions render the project feasible before deciding whether to attend the second vote.