The Woodlands Development Company responds to Creekside Park petition

As part of its concessions to Creekside Park the Development Company will plant loblolly pines around the Creekside Park H-E-B perimeter adding to the existing trees at the shopping center.

The Woodlands Development Company has responded to a petition by the residents of the Village of Creekside Park with a commitment to plant larger trees than is exacted by The Woodlands Township standards. Also, the Development Company will plant more and varying trees to make concessions for Creekside Park residents.

"The Woodlands Development Company has committed to fencing off and saving existing forest along the perimeters in future development wherever possible," Co-president of the Development Company Tim Welbes wrote in the response.

Nearly 2,200 residents in Creekside Park signed a petition delivered to The Woodlands Development Company in March claiming that the village's trees are being sacrificed in the face of development.

Residents and the Development Company met in early April to discuss the petition, and the Development Company responded one week following with concessions addressed in a letter.

In the letter Welbes wrote "The Woodlands Development Company has modified the landscape standards for the Creekside Park Village Center Property Owners Association."

Part of the modifications include planting additional loblolly pines to the trees already planted around the Creekside Park H-E-B perimeter and other existing perimeters in the Village Center. The Development Company will also plant 100-gallon live oaks around the village center, larger than the 65-gallon trees that were originally planned. In addition, a reforestation effort on the west side of Kuykendahl Road will include a mix of trees, not just pines.

The plantings will occur when the weather allows, Welbes said. He also said paperwork will need to be completed first.

The Development Company responded to the residents' petition favorably, Creekside Park Village Association president Nancy Becker said.

"Once we took our concerns to the Development Company, they responded to all the points," Becker said. "In the end it is a process and you have to let the system play out. The Development Company came up with a great presentation and answered all of the bullet points that were on the [petition] that we asked them to respond to."

Due to the response by the Development Company, Creekside Park will be a more attractive place to live, Creekside Park resident and the initiator of the petition, Matthew Burton, said.

"I'm pleased that they chose to listen to residents and make concrete commitments to preserve more forest in their future development practices," he said. "We can't go back and save the trees that were carelessly cut before; we can only change the future."

However, the response from the Development Company in regard to home developers and tree preservation was inadequate, Burton said.

In the petition Burton claimed the residential builders do not have accountability for cutting down trees.

"Their response to this particular point of our petition was not what I had hoped for," he said. "I hope, however, that the builders themselves took note of our petition and the community outcry and improve their tree cutting practices of their own volition."

It is a typical response by the Development Company in situations such as the Creekside Park petition to offer a meeting and discuss resident concerns, Welbes said.

"We sought to inform, explain and are hopeful that there is a newfound understanding," Welbes said.

In the future, the Development Company could benefit residents by communicating before making changes in the village, Becker said.

"Inform residents prior to doing something that they may not understand—keep the information pipeline open," she said.