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SPOTLIGHT – – Important Meetings and Events
Board of Adjustment on April 15, 2021 @ 7 PM UPDATE 4/17/2021: The Board, by a vote of 6 to 1 at the April 15, 2021 meeting, approved a variance to lot coverage in the R-3 zoning, to 75% instead of the 50%. Over the protests of local residents. The Board said No a few months ago to O’Reilly’s request to construct a brand spanking new building, but Yes to another parking lot on South Rice Avenue.
So long, Randalls! No plans have been announced for the building or the 3-acre site, located in the UV-D District.
Spruce and Fifth Streets – Now the subject of a lawsuit, the $3.2 million in contracts for this project called for completion by February 15, 2020. A drive through the area feels as though you’re in a fun house. Here’s some background on this project.
Brays Bayou Association News Creating a new park; Trash Cleanup on April 24th: new trails! For more information visit:https://www.facebook.com/BraysBayouAssociation or email@example.com
4-21-21: Update on South Rice and Chimney Rock Bridges
Over the past five years our property tax rate has risen from $.3805 in 2015-2016 to $.4473 for 2019-2020 and
- The City’s property tax revenue increased – from $15.42 million in 2015 to $20.53 million in 2019. Over $5 million in additional revenue.
- But per the Harris County Tax Office, Bellaire’s annual property tax revenue over the past 3 years has flattened: $20,028,121 in 2018; $20,534,596 in 2019; $20,658,141 for 2020.
- Over those same 5 years our bonded debt increased almost $50 million dollars,
Recycling, organic gardening, less pesticides – all win/wins for our kids and our community. So are reusable bags!
Find informative articles here.
100 Years of Bellaire History!
And for a terrific photo history check this out:
No More City Of Homes?
According to the City manager and staff our longtime City logo, representing Bellaire as a City of Homes, will soon be gone, thanks to City Council and the $50,000 branding study. Read more here.
Author Archives: Jane McNeel
On February 11, 2021, the Bellaire Planning and Zoning Commission approved proposed language for a new zoning district, the NBSDD (24-544 North Bellaire Special Development District), to replace the existing TRPD (24-544 Technical Research Park District) zoning on the former … Continue reading
At the March 1, 2021, Council meeting Councilmember Wesely objected to an agenda item for a service agreement contract costing almost a half-million dollars. A 95-page agenda item for $478,897.95, to be exact, for a 5-year contract for a Police … Continue reading
Update: 2/12/2021: In a long and somewhat confusing meeting on February 11th the Planning and Zoning Commission essentially approved the proposed draft for the NBSDD with a few minor changes. They will recommend consideration and approval of the new zoning … Continue reading
For over 70 years the 30 acre Texaco/Chevron campus along Fournace between South Rice and what is now Loop 610 was a mix of offices and labs, running primarily on a 9 to 5 schedule five days a week. It … Continue reading
The Ongoing Saga Of Spruce and Fifth Streets The first lawsuit was filed by A Status Construction on August 27, 2020, and is unresolved at this time. The construction contractor claims they are due additional payment for work on Spruce/Fifth … Continue reading
UPDATE 4/17/2021: The Board of Adjustment, by a vote of 6 to 1 at the April 15, 2021 meeting, approved a variance to lot coverage for the Church of Christ. 75% instead of the 50% allowed in the R-3 zoning. … Continue reading
UPDATE 4/16/2021: An agreement has been reached between the City of Bellaire and the developers of Southside Commons. The parking lot will be dismantled by Public Works. The terms of the agreement are not yet available. UPDATE: 12/7/2020 – MM … Continue reading
Hopefully City Council’s unanimous decision at the November 16, 2020, meeting to deny the zoning applications by Evelyn’s Park Conservancy for the commercial parking lot at 4300 Bellaire Blvd will lead to the removal of that lot. If you are … Continue reading
City Council in November: HISD Ball Fields, Bellaire Blvd Parking Lot, Debt Reduction, And A Search For A City Manager
HISD Application – Former Gordon Elementary Campus 11/4/2020 UPDATE: No decision. Council wants more information on the size of replacement trees. Listen to the recorded meeting here. Find the list of conditions and field layout here. On November 2, 2020, … Continue reading
September In The City! Our Wastewater Plant, The AT&T Property, The HISD Ball Fields, And The Bellaire Blvd Parking Lot!
After a quiet Labor Day things are picking up at City Hall.
NOTE: The BOA meeting was cancelled. Why will the Board of Adjustment, rather than Planning and Zoning, hear a request on September 17th (7 PM) from a developer for an amendment to a zoning ordinance for a Planned Development? Apparently … Continue reading
Many Bellaire residents point to the Rice Village as an example of small shops and boutiques in West University. It is not. The shops and the huge apartment complex are in Houston. West University would not allow that huge mixed-use … Continue reading
UPDATE 6/24/2020: Mayor Friedberg announced that City Manager Paul Hofmann has been hired as the City Manager of Bastrop, TX, and will be leaving Bellaire on August 2, 2020. The June 15, 2020, Council meeting was an in-person action packed … Continue reading
Sorry, this is a long article. The health crisis and lack of in-person Council, commission, and board meetings have not slowed down the staff meetings and planning sessions at City Hall. Click on items of interest below to read the … Continue reading
Remember this? South Rice Avenue before the new City Hall/Civic Center was built? Carefree driving with 2 wide lanes in each direction? UPDATE: At the June 15, 2020, City Council meeting the Mayor and members of Council voted unanimously to … Continue reading
The recent Bellaire City Council meeting on March 2, 2020, which included a Workshop regarding Revised Street and Drainage Reconstruction Selection Criteria, once again revealed a marked change in attitude by Council members.
Members of the Bellaire Planning & Zoning Commission have been tasked with drafting proposed amendments to the Technical Research Park District (TRPD), for the purpose of creating a new zoning district, North Bellaire Special Development (NBSD) District.
What’s the value of a City of Bellaire construction contract? Apparently if you’re the owner of the company awarded contracts for the City Manager’s pet projects it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.
After submitting grant applications to various agencies Bellaire is the recipient of two grants to date. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for $252,033.84, for flooding from 2015, will be applied towards the Group C Phase 3 bond project. specifically … Continue reading
Construction on Spruce and Fifth St. alongside and behind H-E-B began in late April of 2019. The contract called for a completion date of February 15, 2020. Promoted by the City Manager and approved … Continue reading
Since 1980 Bellaire voters have approved $199,980,000 in bond issues. Most of that amount, $165,480,000, has been approved since 2000. We currently owe about $123 million. What do we have to show for all that debt? Even though many homeowners … Continue reading
August 6, 2019: There was good news for Bellaire residents as City Council voted 6 to 1 at the August 5, 2019, Council meeting to retain the existing residential zoning in the Bellaire Boulevard Estate Overlay District (BBEOD). Only outgoing … Continue reading
UPDATE 9-27-2019: On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the City Council approved an increase the total tax levy for the 2019 tax year (fiscal year 2020) by 3.28% by proposing a tax rate of $0.4473 per $100 valuation. Less then the … Continue reading
UPDATE 9-27-2019: Some good news. On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the City Council meeting will include a presentation regarding a proposal to increase the total tax levy for the 2019 tax year (fiscal year 2020) by 3.28% by proposing a … Continue reading
4800 Fournace & 5901 South Rice – Development & Apartments – Undermining Residents and Our City of Homes?
UPDATE: A second workshop is to be scheduled during the week of October 28, with a public hearing to follow during the week of November 18, tentatively. The Commission would then vote at their December 12, 2019, meeting. Find recent … Continue reading
I watched the recent Flood Mitigation Task Force meeting held on March 26, 2019, available on Facebook. The focus was streets and drainage. How to prioritize what streets get fixed first. Suggested ranking criteria was first discussed – how many … Continue reading
Over half of the $23.38 million in bonds approved in 2016 for Water and Wastewater Improvements did not go toward new water or sewer lines. It was devoted to a contract with Siemens for new water meters and improvements to … Continue reading
Don’t be fooled by recent City Council votes on sidewalks. Five foot wide sidewalks are still the standard with street reconstruction. The stand-alone sidewalks have been shelved but the funds have not been redirected by City Council to other projects … Continue reading
NOTE: The State of the City Powerpoint presentation from February 4, 2019, can be found at the end of this article. Despite the large number of speakers at recent City Council meetings who opposed the Spruce/Fifth St project as planned, … Continue reading
Welcome to Bellaire in the first decade of the twenty first century. From 9/11/2001 to Bellaire’s Centennial year of 2008. A new city manager, new parks, more bonds for streets, drainage and sidewalks, aquatics centers and municipal facilities. Zoning changes, … Continue reading
Do We Value Our Small Businesses? Can’t the appearance of downtown Bellaire be improved without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to drive out our longtime businesses? We already have everything we need to remain a successful and … Continue reading
The highlight of the December 17, 2018, Council meeting was the presentation a Bellaire Master Drainage Concept Plan, beginning with a proposed interlocal agreement among Bellaire, TX-DOT, and the Harris County Flood Control District. Bellaire is located at the east/southeast … Continue reading
At this point the proposed date for Council’s approval of the project is February 18, 2019. A pdf of the presentation can be found here: 1_7_19_Spruce&Fifth The City of Bellaire seems determined to narrow 60 foot wide commercial streets to … Continue reading
City Council Update on Spruce/Fifth St Leads To An Unpleasant Exchange; The 4th Quarter Financial Report Is Available
At the November 19th City Council meeting, Denton Ragland, CEO of the Bellaire Business Association, made a presentation promoting a campaign to encourage residents to ‘Stay Local to Bellaire Resources’ and stay loyal to their local businesses, then City Manager … Continue reading
At the November 5, 2018, City Council meeting a specific use permit for a car wash business at the corner of Bellaire Blvd and Ferris St. was not approved. The vote was 5 to 2, with Council members Pappas and … Continue reading
Preface: In order to maintain our current revenue stream City Council has agreed on an increase to our property tax rate from $ .4159 to $ .4313 for tax year 2018 to compensate for the lower property values on the … Continue reading
Many city governments find themselves up against a wall when they need money for day-to-day operating expenses, building new structures, improving existing structures or making repairs. Ongoing expenses, including employee wages, maintenance andinsurance, plus periodic projects including building schools, improving … Continue reading
UPDATE: Recent information has been received. Find out what streets in the Group D Phase 1 and Phase 2 are approved for sidewalks and what streets have been removed. Read it here. A few weeks ago, out of the … Continue reading
You’ve heard the phrase ‘Not in my backyard’, right? This Spruce St/Fifth St project is everyone’s back yard. We tend to spend most of our home time in our neighborhood, but just about everyone in the City spends some time … Continue reading
Update – 10/15/2018: Late summer and into the fall of 2018 residents protested and submitted petitions to remove their streets from the projects, and their requests were approved. But most Council members still continued to vote in favor of installing … Continue reading
Dear Mayor and Members of City Council, As you work towards the 2019 City budget and the possibility of another $45 or 50 million dollar bond issue I’d like to suggest the following. First, check out the Comptroller’s
Preface: On August 15, 2016, City Council approved a motion to call a bond election for November 8, 2016, for $53,980,000. Four propositions were initially discussed: 1) street and drainage facility improvements for $20 million); the construction of new municipal … Continue reading
Bellaire City Council faced a large crowd of Bellaire residents who turned out for the August 6, 2018, City Council meeting. The Council chambers and the City Hall atrium were full, and resident after resident spoke their mind on the … Continue reading
View the August 13th City Council Session on the Proposed Budget: http://bellairecitytx.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1880&Format=Agenda
UPDATE: City Council has tabled the Pathways Plan but did not vote it down. Unless it returns for consideration and approval it will sit on the same shelf as the Branding proposal, available for a rerun in the future. The … Continue reading
July, 2018 – Even as we enter another hurricane season many residents in Bellaire and the Houston area continue to suffer from the damage and the costs of Hurricane Harvey. Numerous homes have yet to be repaired with the owners … Continue reading
Streets shown on current maps: 8 feet wide path – South Rice, Evergreen, Fournace, Newcastle; 6 feet wide path – Maple, Alder, Chimney Rock, Ferris, Anderson/Second, Englewood, Avenue B, Mulberry, Sunburst. (This Plan is not part of the sidewalk project … Continue reading
When a new City Manager takes the reins in Bellaire we might expect that he or she would bring a former executive assistant along, someone already in tune with their style of management.
UPDATE: Pathways Plan was ‘shelved’ by Ctiy Council on August 6, 2018. The Pathways Plan was presented to Planning and Zoning on Thursday, July 12, 2018. The Meeting video is available to view online. P&Z voted unanimously not to recommend … Continue reading
Final version of Council Priorities: https://www.bellairetx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18482/Council-Priorities—Adopted-61818?bidId= Find it here: Council Priorities 2018-06-18. Take a look at the overview – the Chevron property; the costs to the city from Hurricane Harvey – $3.5 million, much of that will be reimbursed by FEMA … Continue reading
Here are the City Manager’s 7 easy steps to beautify downtown Bellaire: 1) Take the 60 foot wide commercial Spruce Street that runs behind a large grocery store, contains no small retail stores or boutiques, and is traversed daily in … Continue reading
Some background: On March 19, 2018, Public Works presented a plan to City Council to reconstruct the 5100 and 5200 blocks of Spruce St. and three blocks of North Fifth by the new H-E-B grocery. (Watch the meeting here.) The … Continue reading
The City Council and the City Manager are fond of referring to various plans and studies to justify expenditures, sometimes on questionable projects and more studies. We hear about the Comprehensive Plan, the Branding Study, Terrain Studios and something called … Continue reading
Thursday, May 3, 2018, the Mayor and City Council will hold an all day pre-budget planning session in the Centerpoint Energy Community Center, located over the entrance to the Aquatics Center. For those residents unable to attend the Session you … Continue reading
Residents are speaking out in opposition to the proposed Pathways Plan. The cost may be paid by the 2016 Bonds for Better Bellaire funds for Streets, Drainage and Sidewalks. The estimated cost eight to twelve million dollars. You’ll find more … Continue reading
Substandard and Abandoned Houses Substandard and abandoned houses were an early topic of last Monday’s regular Council meeting. After numerous complaints from residents on Nextdoor and articles in the Southwest News about abandoned houses the City Manager provided a PowerPoint … Continue reading
Why would a City choose to harm its small businesses? Spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so? In November of 2016 Bellaire voters gave the City Council and City Manager a big pot of money – right at … Continue reading
Have you tried to find information on the City of Bellaire website? One example: search for City Council agenda packets. You’ll find the calendar for the current month where you can click on the Council meetings. The next best possibility … Continue reading
Ever wonder if the $50,000 Branding Study has gone away? Despite the tepid to downright comical response to the meaningless logo presented to City Council in January 2018, there’s been no word from the City that the contract with the … Continue reading
This excerpt is from the most recent City newsletter, The Boulevard: Group C Phase II: Streets, Drainage and Sidewalks project – There are five street blocks identified in this project. Three of the street blocks are adjacent to the HEB … Continue reading
Per the April 11th Cultural Arts Board agenda, Item D: DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION – Recommendations to name the hallway in City Hall that will house art. – Chair Terry Leavitt-Chavez What art? Donated or Purchased? Here’s the agenda: Cultural … Continue reading
Bellaire has come a long way and thanks to longtime resident Lynn McBee the City’s history will unfold on this web site. Just click the menu item for Bellaire History and enjoy a good read!
When Bellaire voters approved a bond issue for $24 million dollars for Streets, Drainage, and Sidewalks with the explanation that ‘Projects will address replacement of streets and drainage systems in order to reduce the occurrence of flooding and improve street … Continue reading
As of 2016 the City of Bellaire had over $104 million dollars in outstanding debt, $5600 per person, which is much higher than any of the surrounding municipalities. Almost a quarter of the of the City budget, about $9 million, … Continue reading
Mentioning bonds in a prior post, I wondered where the City or Council planned to find the $8 million plus for Pathways or the $4.1 million for the Spruce Street upgrade. In 2016 Bellaire voters approved the sale of $54 million … Continue reading
Are you aware of the Branding Study? Over $50,000 has been spent as of March 15th but the cost could climb! The result was a new logo to replace our longtime and much loved one. It’s a B with a … Continue reading