Author Archives: Jane McNeel

Primary Election March 5, 2024 – Please Vote!

Find information at HarrisVotes.com to assist with voting in both Democratic and Republican primaries. March 5, 2024 Primary Elections Early Vote Centers will be open from Tuesday, February 20, through Friday, March 1. (7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through … Continue reading

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Little Known Facts About Relocating METRO’s Bellaire Transit Center Plus Metro Income To The City

On December 11, 2023, Mayor Friedberg distributed an email regarding the Metro Transit Center, located in the 5100 Block of Bellaire Blvd in the City of Bellaire.  The Transit Center was approved by City Council in 1986.  Find the agreement … Continue reading

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Please Participate In The Bellaire Citizen Satisfaction Survey!

Just got this notice from the City of Bellaire: We are excited to announce that the Bellaire Citizen Satisfaction Survey is open! The survey is designed to gather feedback from residents on various city-provided services and issues and help us … Continue reading

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Bellaire Comprehensive Plan Open House Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The City is holding an Open House  on February 7, 2024, at 6 PM regarding possible revisions to the Comprehensive Plan.  All residents are invited! We invite you to join us for an open house to share your thoughts and … Continue reading

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Notice An Increase In Your Bellaire Water Bill?

A neighbor recently wondered what was going on with his water bill. I dug out a mailer that was included in our bill, which shows another increase.  We are now on what appears to be a plan for annual increases, … Continue reading

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Possible Public Hearings in 2023: BHS And Methodist Hospital’s Newest Application

Monday, December 4th, 2023 – A joint Public Hearing before Bellaire City Council and Bellaire Planning and Zoning Commission regarding mitigating problems with or moving dumpsters at Bellaire High School. Monday, December 11, 2023 –  The decision to hold a … Continue reading

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Methodist Hospital Alternatives – Bellaire City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission Joint Special Session

Update: Here is the full Agenda for September 28, 2023 @ 6:00 PM Joint Special Session City Council and Planning & Zoning.  Nothing new was discussed at this meeting, apparently it was misreported as a joint session.  Methodist may be … Continue reading

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New Temporary Offices For Public Works – Renovation of Dog Pound

Mayor Friedberg announces plans for a new, temporary office location for Public Works,  The new offices will  be in leased space in an office building located in the immediate area.  Follow the link above for more information.  The Public Works … Continue reading

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Bellaire Comprehensive Plan Review – Special Session for City Council and Planning & Zoning

On Tuesday, August 15, 2023, a Special Session discussion with members of City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission will be held at 6:00 PM.  Find the full agenda here. “Presentation and discussion of results from the Bellaire Today phase … Continue reading

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Public Hearing – Bellaire FY2024 Budget – August 7, 2023

Bellaire City Council will hold a Public Hearing for the 2024 City Budget on Monday, August 7, 2023.  The bottom line for the budget is $60.8 million.  Find the PowerPoint presentation here.  Find the proposed budget FY2024, presented to Council … Continue reading

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No More Free Garbage Bags? Uh Oh…

Many years ago Bellaire solid waste collection was changed from containers to plastic bags. For decades bags have been distributed for free on a quarterly basis, delivered to each residence. Residents are indirectly paying for the bag expense through their … Continue reading

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Two Dog Pounds! Problem Solved.

A unanimous decision by City Council at the July 10, 2023, Council meeting finally provided a solution for our dog pound problems. Find a message from Mayor Friedberg here.  Problem Solved:  Not One Dog Pound but Two    Watch the … Continue reading

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Please Take The City’s Survey!

The City of Bellaire is conducting a survey to learn more about your preferences and opinions about Bellaire’s future and the comprehensive plan.  Please take the time to read each question before responding.  What would you like to see in … Continue reading

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P&Z: Bellaire High & The Sign Ordinance – Solar Panels – Proposed CIP

The June 9, 2023, Planning and Zoning meeting was short, but interesting.  It included a public hearing regarding proposed ordinance amendments and a presentation of the proposed 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  Find a link to the meeting here. Public … Continue reading

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May/June 2023 Meetings – Methodist Application – Noise/Lighting Regulations – Comprehensive Plan

Bellaire City Council – Agenda for June 5, 2023 @ 6:00 PM – Public Hearing – Houston Methodist Hospital  UPDATE: View the June 5th Public Hearing here  The application may be submitted to City Council for consideration and approval on July 17, … Continue reading

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Bellaire – Is It Time To Go Back to Basics? Sounds Like A Plan!

“The plan takes care of “the basics” by repeatedly reinforcing the fundamental importance of neighborhood integrity in the City of Homes, as well as the priority residents place on parks and recreation opportunities, safe streets, and preservation of a small-town … Continue reading

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Upcoming Public Hearings At City Council on May 15, 2023

There were three Public Hearings scheduled for Monday’s City Council meeting on May 15, 2023, at 6:00 PM.  However the Noise and Lighting hearing has been withdrawn.  The withdrawal notice mentions a possible Town Hall at a later date.  Regardless, … Continue reading

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A Short Primer on Bellaire’s Planning and Zoning

Planning and Zoning ordinances are the result of decisions made by the Planning and Zoning Commission, comprised of Bellaire residents who volunteer to serve, and then with final approval of the ordinances by City Council. P&Z Commissioners and members of … Continue reading

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City Council on April 17, 2023 – Speed Bumps, Solar Panels, And Outdoor Lighting

Speed Bumps Requested For The 5200 Block of Cedar A public hearing before the City Council is scheduled for Monday, May 15, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., on a petition from 80% of the property owners along the 5200 block of … Continue reading

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Bellaire Triangle Owners Offer $1.00 For Mapleridge Between Bellaire Blvd and Bissonnet

A Public Hearing Before City Council For The Closure Of A Portion Of Mapleridge Has Been Scheduled At City Hall on Monday, March 6, 2023 @ 6 PM UPDATE 4/4/2023: The applicant requested a delay on their application and staff … Continue reading

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Positive Developments Ongoing At Bellaire City Hall

Sharon Citino, our new City Manager, is steadily filling open positions, including a new director, Travis Tanner, in Development Services.  He came to City Council meeting on February 20, 2023, to propose some much needed changes to our city ordinance … Continue reading

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First Report From Ardurra Group Hired To Oversee Regional Drainage Program for Bellaire

On December 19, 2022, Bellaire City Council approved a work order contract with Ardurra Group Incorporated (Ardurra) to manage a regional drainage improvement program.  The twelve month contract cost is not to exceed $390,795.  Ardurra will produce monthly reports for … Continue reading

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Bellaire Is Due To Receive Over $3 Million In Grants

Some great news!  Per the most recent Mayor’s Musings January 13, 2023: Another $3.3 Million in Grant Funding Coming Our Way A great way to start the new year, we’ve recently been informed that several of our federal and state … Continue reading

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ESB – Possible Proposal For Solar Panels On City Hall

The Environmental Sustainability Board will vote on submission of a resolution to City Council to install solar panels on the roof of City Hall at the January 4, 2023, meeting.  Click on the image above to view an earlier ESB … Continue reading

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City Council Held A Workshop On The Proposed Bellaire Dog Pound

City Council held a workshop on Monday, November 21, 2022,  regarding the proposed new dog pound.  Find the meeting here.  Find the presentation for a new pound by Bellaire Chief of Police Lopez here.  I encourage every Bellaire resident to … Continue reading

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HISD Requests Variances For Sign Ordinances: Now Scheduled for October 20, 2022

UPDATE 10/21/2022: Because a unanimous decision was required to approve the requests the appeal for the oversized scoreboard was voted down.  However, by unanimous vote the Board of Adjustment voted in favor of additional signage at Bellaire High School even … Continue reading

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FY2023 City Of Bellaire Budget Approved

Bellaire City Council approved the final numbers for the 2023 City budget on September 19, 2022. First up was a vote to retain the current property tax rate of $ .4473, approved by 7-0.  A hearing on the tax rate … Continue reading

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Houston Methodist Architect’s Presentation For A PD On The Randalls Site

On September 8, 2022, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission were treated to a conceptual presentation for a Planned Development, a medical office building on the old Randalls grocery store site.  At right are three options proposed by Page … Continue reading

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Renovation Plans For The Bellaire Triangle

An article in the Houston Chronicle reports that a re-design is planned for the Bellaire Triangle.  The center’s longtime owners, MC Management & Development, plan extensive renovations including the addition of an open-air space for outdoor events.  There’s no word … Continue reading

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It’s Budget Time In Bellaire! Find The Proposed Budget, Also Plans for World Trade Center Artifact

City Council – July 18 2022  Presentation of the proposed annual budget for the City of Bellaire, Texas, for the fiscal year commencing on October 1, 2022, and ending on September 30, 2023 – Submitted by Deacon Tittel, Interim City Manager. A … Continue reading

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Harris County Flood Control District: Tunnel Visions

Harris County Flood Control District is proposing a system of large diameter tunnels, 80 to100 feet underground and 30 to 45 feet in diameter, to carry flood waters to Buffalo Bayou and the Ship Channel.  The suggested location for these … Continue reading

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Bellaire Hires A New City Manager

From the Mayor’s recent article, Council has hired a new City Manager: “Following a nationwide search that attracted candidates from far and wide, we ended up finding our next City Manager just a few blocks away. A resident of Braeswood … Continue reading

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We Lost A Valued Member Of Our Community Today, Kathy Ballanfant

With her children at her side, Kathleen Ballanfant, longtime resident and the publisher of the Southwest News and the Village News, passed away on Friday, June 24, 2022.  Kathy has been a a prominent member of the community and a … Continue reading

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It Looks Like We’re In For A Long, Hot Summer

Budget talks have begun, the City’s fiscal year begins October 1st.  The City Manager position has been in play for some time, hopefully we’ll have a new, highly qualified City Manager soon.  Meanwhile Council is currently mulling over a number … Continue reading

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HISD Baseball Field Layout and Conditions – November 2, 2020

UPDATE – June, 2022: 13 Investigates: HISD’s Field of Dreams comes at time others are lacking This is from the Mayor’s blog, 11/10/2020.  A modified design and 20 conditions: 

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How Are Things Going In The UV-D District?

UPDATE: Portions of recently completed 5100-5200 Spruce are once again being demolished and reconstructed due to improper installation of electrical conduit and irrigation lines.  Ponding and poor drainage are also problems.  The good news is that the cost is on … Continue reading

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Bellaire P&Z’s Discussion About Questionable Zoning Ordinances

Apparently some of our zoning ordinances aren’t in line the the Comprehensive Plan, and the Planning and Zoning Commission is tasked with review of those “inconsistencies”.  Although the Comp Plan is just that, a plan, and one that is constantly … Continue reading

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Discussion On Flood Mitigation At The April 4, 2022, City Council Meeting

Councilmember Gordon made a compelling presentation on flood mitigation in Bellaire at the recent Council meeting, which in turn sparked a lively and informative discussion on past floods and future possibilities.  Find the PowerPoint Presentation here and a link to … Continue reading

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Urban Renewal? PDs For 4800 Fournace & 5901 South Rice Avenue Are Approved

UPDATE 3/30/2022:  The last meeting on these PD applications, styled as Bellaire Place, was held on March 21, 2022, when a portion of the PDs was approved.  Here’s a link to that meeting.  After a Public Hearing in January and … Continue reading

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P&Z Hearing March 10, 2022, For 5201 Bellaire Blvd

UPDATE 4/18/2022: The application was approved by a 5-0 vote from P&Z.  The application will now move to City Council. Find a Summary below from the Agenda for a hearing for a new food establishment at 5201 Bellaire Blvd. Several … Continue reading

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ChristChurch Presbyterian in Bellaire Is For Sale

UPDATE:  At the P&Z meeting on February 10, 2022, the commission members discussed the current residential zoning and the apparent intent by the owners or the real estate agents to market the Church property as commercial.  They requested that City … Continue reading

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Why Are We Really Losing City Staff? What Should We Expect From Management and City Council?

In the last 6 months of 2021 numerous mid-level and high-level employees left the City of Bellaire’s employ.  A recent claim of the Mayor and his candidates in the 2021 City election was that City employees are unhappy and leaving … Continue reading

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City Council Election And More Possible Changes At City Hall

The election for Mayor and three members of City Council is over.  A slate of candidates has been elected: Winfred Frazier, Ross Gordon, and Brian Witt, who ran as a slate and were supported by the Mayor, who ran unoppposed. … Continue reading

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P&Z Wll Consider 3 PD Applications For The NBSDD, The Former Chevron Site

Update 11/24/2021:  P&Z essentially approved the three applications at the November 18th meeting, with an agreement to add some clarifications or conditions.  The Chairman will draft a written agreement for approval.  Once the P&Z process is complete the applications will … Continue reading

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Trying To Deconstruct The Bellaire City Budget

UPDATE: The City of Bellaire Budget FY2022 was adopted on September 20, 2021. Interpreting the budget doesn’t get any easier.  Please take some time to review these pertinent items.  Better yet, grab a cup of coffee and review the Adopted … Continue reading

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Any Thoughts On Short Term Rentals In Bellaire?

UPDATE 8/3/2021: A vote on the agenda item was postponed after it became apparent that only Councilmembers Lewis and Hotze felt the ordinance was justified at this time.  Towards the end of the meeting Bellaire’s City Attorney, Alan Petrov, confirmed … Continue reading

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Some Thoughts On The Orations By Members Of City Council Re The Proposed NBSDD

UPDATE May 25, 2021: The new zoning ordinance was approved by a 4 to 3 vote on May 24, 2021. The May 3, 2021, the City Council meeting ended after almost 5-1/2 hours.  The proposed language for the new zoning … Continue reading

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UPDATE on Public Hearing Before City Council – Proposed Zoning For The Old Texaco/Chevron Property

UPDATE May 25, 2021: The new zoning ordinance was approved by City Council on a 4 to 3 vote on May 24, 2021. UPDATE 5/5/2021: After another 5 hour marathon session on May 3rd, this matter has been postponed.  A … Continue reading

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Bellaire City Library’s 70th Anniversary!

In May of 2021 the Bellaire City Library will celebrate 70 years of service to Bellaire residents. In January of 1951 a committee was named from the Bellaire Women’s Civic Club for the formation of a Bellaire Library. The Friends … Continue reading

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The Parking Lot At 4300 Bellaire Blvd Will Soon Be Gone!

The City of Bellaire has reached an agreement with the developers of Southside Commons regarding the parking lot illegally permitted and built on the CenterPoint property at the entrance to the City.  The lot will be removed by our Public … Continue reading

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Bellaire’s Timeline For Water Service + CenterPoint Update 2-19-2021

The City distributed this information on the lack of City water on February 17, 2021.  Frozen pipes were not the main problem, and this information was helpful: We are aware that there has been a lot of confusion regarding the … Continue reading

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Why Would Bellaire Pay Over $400,000 For Building Officials?

What Happened To Our Building Officials? Update 6/10/2021: The City has hired a new building official,building official, and plans examiner.  Development Services should be fully staffed. For some reason the City of Bellaire has chosen not to hire, or even … Continue reading

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Is Bellaire Ready For The Cost, Uncertainty Of Turning Over Wastewater Treatment To Houston And Demolition Of Our Wastewater Treatment Plant?

UPDATE 1/25/2021: Updates On Current Events UPDATE 10/21/2020: City Council voted 5-2 to approve a 1% match in the $65 million dollar CDBG-MIT grant application at the October 19, 2020, meeting.  The application includes the demolition of our wastewater treatment … Continue reading

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A Lawsuit, HISD Fields, Our WWTP.2, The Siemens Contract, And Evelyn’s Park. Good grief!

The action never stops, no wonder we ordinary Bellaire citizens can’t keep up!  Read this post item by item, or drop down to your area of interest.  All of this affects our future.   

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What’s The Point Of Our Urban Village-Downtown?

UPDATE 11/8/2022:  O’Reilly Auto Parts will have a new building in the same location on Spruce, described as a redevelopment project. To accommodate the current zoning the store will face east (the old storefront faced south).  The building will be one-story … Continue reading

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P&Z Hearing 8/13/20 – Update 9/4/20 – The Parking Lot At 4300 Bellaire Boulevard

UPDATE 9/4/2020: A Public Hearing was held on Thursday, August 13, 2020, before the Planning and Zoning Commission, for the parking lot at 4300 Bellaire Blvd. I counted twenty speakers opposed the zoning request, no one spoke in favor. The … Continue reading

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Not Interested In Bellaire’s Proposed FY2021 Budget? How About A $6 Million Dollar Dog Pound?

Bellaire’s Municipal budgets are dry and hard to digest.  Lots of verbiage, numbers, graphs, etc.  It’s understandable that most residents don’t spend time reviewing them, and so may have missed the $6 million dollar Dog Pound that was added to … Continue reading

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51 Trees May Be Removed From The Gordon Elementary Campus

UPDATE 11/11/22020:  Council has approved the 2-field plan but with numerous conditions. Find those conditions and the new layout here. UPDATE: The public hearing by City Council for this application has been postponed to sometime in August 2020 or whenever … Continue reading

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A Status Construction Owner Spoke At City Council

Public Comments at the July 6, 2020, Council meeting included a call from Raquel Boujourne, the owner and president of A Status Construction LLC, the contractor responsible for the Spruce/Fifth project.  Ms. Boujourne stated that her company has been blamed … Continue reading

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Bellaire After The Virus Shutdown – In Transit and On Hold

City of Bellaire Economics in 2020 – A New Paradigm The economic damage from the current health crisis is alarming, and the City of Bellaire anticipates a decrease in revenues FY2020.  At the April 6, 2020, City Council meeting Council … Continue reading

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Open Letter – Bolivar, A Double Standard. Is It Time For A Change?

February 17, 2020 Dear Mayor Friedberg and members of City Council,                                               The City Manager’s weekly memo of 2/14/20 … Continue reading

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Bellaire City Council – A 5 Hour Marathon

The January 27, 2020, council meeting, the second of the year, was eventful – and long.  After discussing and approving various ordinances, some passing after minor tweaks, the meeting moved on to Items for Consideration.     

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Bellaire City Manager Addresses A Problem With Fraudulent Surety Bonds

In a recent weekly memo on 1/10/2020 Bellaire City Manager Paul Hofmann explained that last Fall it was discovered that the surety bonds provided by A Status Construction, LLC for three (3) City bond projects, totaling over $6.5 million dollars, … Continue reading

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ARKK References For A Status Construction – We Have A Problem!

On January 30, 2019, Bellaire’s City engineer James Andrews of ARKK Engineers recommended a company new to Bellaire, A Status Construction, LLC, as qualified to run several construction projects funded by the 2016 bond issue, including the $2.5 million Spruce/Fifth … Continue reading

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Hopes For A New Year And A New Bellaire City Council

It’s time for some thoughtful reflection on our recent City Council elections.  I believe the election results revealed that our Mayor and recent Council members had lost the trust of both residents and local businesses while following the lead of … Continue reading

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P&Z – HISD Sport Fields and AT&T Bissonnet @ 6400 Loop 610 – UPDATE

UPDATE 12/31/2019: Notice of public hearings on January 9, 2020, for applications from HISD for revisions to the proposed sports fields at the old Gordon Elementary site on Bissonnet and from Cushman & Wakefield, on behalf of Southwestern Bell Telephone … Continue reading

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A Quick Update On The November 5th Election and December Runoff

UPDATE 12/14/2019:  The results of the Bellaire Runoff Election are in.  The new City Council members are Nathan Wesely for Position 4 and Jim Hotze for Position 6, joining Catherine Lewis on City Council in January, 2020.  Here’s the Agenda.

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Why Has Bellaire, Our City of Homes, Become A Target For Commercial Developers?

Scan the most recent posts on this site.  You’ll find articles on developer requests to rezone numerous Bellaire properties.  Not requests to construct developments that comply with current zoning, but to change it.  These developers want more, in essence to … Continue reading

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4800 Fournace Place – P&Z Meetings – UPDATES

UPDATE 12/17/19: No decisions at 12/12/19 on SLS Properties, 4900 Fournace.  The next step is the meeting in January, 2020. Environmental issues are still a high priority with residents, as well as the scale of the proposed development.  Click for … Continue reading

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Bellaire Council’s Careless Oversight – $6.5 Million Dollars of Bond Funds

UPDATE: March, 2020 – Still no actual list of responses to reference checks from the City of Bellaire.  A logical deduction: perhaps none were made, no one was contacted, or perhaps the responses were not positive. An Open Letter to … Continue reading

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If Bellaire Can Afford A $280,000 EMS Ambulance, Why Not A Ford Pickup Truck?

Is anyone else curious about the disparity between the proposal to purchase a new EMS ambulance for $280,000, and the fact that Bellaire leases other City vehicles instead of purchasing them?

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The Sky’s The Limit! At Least For Now…

Two Bellaire residents spoke at the City Council meeting on Monday, October 21, 2019, expressing their concern about a new residential construction in their area that is elevated about 10 to 12 feet off the ground.  See the photo at … Continue reading

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Did Bellaire Voters Miss The Fine Print in the 2016 Bond Election?

My Comments at City Council on September 16, 2019: Good Evening, Mayor and City Council, I realize that you would prefer that we simply support you in your approval of this budget. That we hand you and the City Manager … Continue reading

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Siemens – Where Do We Stand On The $12.8 Million Siemens Contract?

Have you received notification of the free Aquahawk Alerting system? Dealt with a water leak not far from your new water meter? Do you even know that you have a new water meter?  Or what an Aquahawk is? 

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Bellaire Budget FY2020 – And The City Manager’s Hit List!

Apparently the sky’s not really falling, since the proposed budget FY2020 presented by the City Manager increases expenditures in every major area and includes a million dollars for him to use to plan the next bond issue.  Including the proposed … Continue reading

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Bellaire’s Future & the Status of the 2016 Bond Funds

The end product from the recent City Council Workshop is a a 5-year priority plan distributed by the City Manager, and a lot for citizens to digest.  For most intents and purposes, for now the future of Bellaire was basically decided … Continue reading

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Council Meeting March 4, 2019 – “Vote No Bonds” and A Raise For City Manager

The Council meeting on March 4th was a quiet affair with one highlight – local resident Dan Sebesta registered his objections to having his engineering qualifications questioned by the the City Manager.  The highlight of his talk was his sign: … Continue reading

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Cost Savings Won’t Lower The City’s Debt – See A Debt Comparison Courtesy Of The Texas Comptroller

Cost Savings and Future Costs Council sang the praises of city staff at the January 7, 2019 council meeting for some cost savings – the cost for change orders for the Municipal Facilities was reduced to $302,516.  So far the … Continue reading

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About Those Bids for Spruce and Fifth + Maple and Bolivar

UPDATE 2/18/2019:  Find the breakdown for the final proposed cost of $5,200,890.50 for the Spruce/Fifth ($2.5 million) and Maple/Bolivar ($1.76 million) projects – plus $1 million to the engineering companies.   About 10% of the 2016 bond issue.  The project was … Continue reading

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A Sidewalk Petition and Some Fireworks at the January 28th Council Meeting!

The January 28, 2019, City Council meeting went off like a rocket and just kept climbing. A link to the video of the meeting is available at the end of this article.  Please watch the video, you’ll find it interesting.

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A New Addition To The Menu: Our Environment

Find information on Bellaire’s recycling program.  The wrong items in our recycle bins cost us money!  Find tips on other forms of recycling via the Our Environment tab on the menu. A Holiday Note: Did you know that MOST wrapping paper is … Continue reading

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2019 Budget is Adopted – Future Bond Program Planning Session – A Possible $47 million Bond Issue in 2019

  The Bellaire City Council, City Manager, and City staff discussed the possibility of another bond issue in 2019.  The amount proposed by City staff is $47 million.  A second bond issue in 2022 was also mentioned, at this point … Continue reading

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Answer The Call For A Referendum on Sidewalks

Call for Referendum To Require a Vote on Sidewalks! SidewalkChoice was founded by a group of Bellaire residents who feel the $55 million dollar 2016 Bonds for Better Bellaire bond issue left out important facts about how the funds would … Continue reading

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What Happened To That $54 Million Dollars?

In response to requests for a printed version of my comments at the October 15, 2018 Council meeting I am posting it below: Good Evening Mayor, City Council, and Citizens,

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