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 required by The Woodlands Township standards. The Development Company will also plant more and varying trees as a concession to Creekside residents.
“The Woodlands Development Company has committed to fencing off and saving existing forest along the perimeters in future development wherever possible,” Development Company Co-President Tim Welbes wrote in the response.
Nearly 2,200 residents in Creekside Park signed a petition delivered to the Development Company in March that claimed 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 later with concessions addressed in a letter.
Part of the modifications include planting additional loblolly pines around the Creekside Park H-E-B shopping center 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.
“We can’t go back and save the trees that were carelessly cut before. We can only change the future.”
–Matthew Burton, Creekside Park resident
The plantings will occur when the weather allows and the details of the plan are finalized, Welbes said.
The Development Company responded to the residents’ petition favorably, said Nancy Becker, Creekside Park Village Association president.
“Once we took our concerns to the Development Company, they responded to all the points,” Becker said. “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.”
Matthew Burton, Creekside Park resident and initiator of the petition, said Creekside Park will be a more attractive place to live with the additional trees.
“I’m pleased that [the Development Company] 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 responsibility for tree preservation was inadequate, Burton said.
In the petition Burton claimed residential builders do not have accountability for cutting down trees.
“[The Development Company’s] response to this 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.”
Welbes said it is a typical response in cases such as petitions to offer a meeting and discuss resident concerns.
“We sought to inform, explain and are hopeful that there is a newfound understanding,” he said.
Becker said in the future, the Development Company could benefit residents by communicating plans before making changes in the village.
“Inform residents prior to doing something that they may not understand—keep the information pipeline open,” she said.