Planning discussions in Jersey Village focus on land use, transit

As officials in Jersey Village continue to work on updating the city's comprehensive plan, a planning committee composed of 12 appointed individuals has been discussing big issues facing the city, as well as goals to address them. October and November meetings have focused specifically on transportation, economic development and future land use.

Jersey Village City Council voted to hire Texas-based consulting firm Freese and Nichols to help guide and draft a new plan. Council appointed members to the Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee in April, and residents were invited to City Hall for a public planning meeting in July. Since then, the CPAC has been meeting to discuss how the plan should be designed to shape the city's future.

"Jersey Village is going to go through redevelopment, and there are going to be some changes with the expansion of the highway," said Dan Sefko, planning director with Freese and Nichols. "The plan gives leaders the guidance to make decisions about where the future of the community needs to go."

Early transportation talks have focused on making the city more pedestrian-oriented with more walkable communities and higher-density, mixed use developments. Comments submitted by residents online have focused mainly on beautification and the development of parks and trail systems, but residents have also expressed interest in creating more walkable, mixed use amenities with shopping, dining and business.

Planners also discussed the possibility of Jersey Village obtaining a stop on a commuter rail line down Hwy. 290 near Jones Road. This rail line is less likely now than it was in 2010, but city council members said they are willing to see it through if the opportunity is there.

Other transportation ideas to improve circulation include connecting Taylor Street to Eldridge, widening Village Drive and permanently connecting Jersey Meadows to Koester Street.

Future land use discussions further concentrated on mixed use centers, specifically the possibility of a village center on Jones Road south of Hwy. 290. Developing and improving neighborhoods was also identified as a priority.

The next CPAC meeting is set for Jan. 15, 2015, and will focus on community character, parks, recreation and open space. Officials said they hope to have a draft prepared for city council review by March, and to have the plan adopted by May.

Residents can continue to submit comments and ideas on the city's website.

"The most successful plans are the ones where both city council members and active citizens are involved," City Manager Mike Castro said.

By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.