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 Hearing

Public comments were encouraged on changes to the following zoning ordinances:

  • Through Lots Prohibited, to allow for the approval of through lots if a property meets certain zoning requirements.  No public comments.
  • To increase the necessary documentation submittal requirements during city plan review related to environmental assessment reporting. No public comments.
  • To increase the allowable scoreboard signage area and allow team accolades as apart of the scoreboard signage – to allow team accolades.  Two comments.

The Draft CIP FY2023-2027

Take a look!

Each year as Bellaire City Council begins budget discussions for the upcoming fiscal year 5-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) may be updated.  A proposed 5-year CIP was presented to P&Z by Joshua Pascua, Capital Projects and Grants Manager in Public Works, on June 8, 2023.  

Most totals are tentative. There is a footer on some pages that reads *Project Total is sum of budget shown, plus past expenditures and unexpended FY23 budget.  It  Here are some highlights:            

  • Serious drainage issues need to be addressed and Bellaire will be expected to pay for all or some of the projects including a multi-million dollar project for Cypress Ditch, which is located in Houston.  Ardurra consultants are involved and there is a grant request in work.
  • More waterline improvements are needed. There’s a $3.1 million grant request in work for a portion of the replacement costs.  
  • The $8 million paid to Siemens for the Wastewater Treatment Plant overhaul a few years ago apparently did not cover all repairs. More are needed.
  • City Parks seem to require more funding every year.  A $5 million project for Evergreen Park is included.  Find an earlier proposal for the park updates here.   Thanks to Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, a $600,000 grant for park improvements has been received.
  • There are a number of new buildings and building repairs on the list, including $9.8 million for a new Public Works building and $11 million for a new Library.
  • Also a $479,000 generator, pending a grant request.
  • A project to add solar panels to City Hall at a cost of $269k to reduce utility costs. There may be some tax credits associated with that proposal, here’s the ESB proposal for the projectP&Z members expressed some concern over this project.

A similar promise of savings was promised by Siemens when they replaced water meters at a cost of $4.6 million.  Good luck finding a simple spreadsheet showing these savings. Find their annual savings report for 2019-2020.  Meanwhile Bellaire has paid them $96,435 for the first 2 years of Project Management. Find more on this project here.

Tens of millions in costs are listed in the CIP over the next 5 years.  The Chair queried whether this proposed budget was consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and was ssured it is.  P&Z members were encouraged to recommend the proposed budget at this meeting.

Find the current 5-year CIP here.

Bonded debt stands at about $100 million.  Debt Service (P&I) will run about $9 million this year.  No suggestions for bond issues for now.  Stay tuned!

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