The City staff and City Council frequently refer to the Visioning Bellaire study to justify some action or expenditure. So, what is it? Upon recommendation of a group of Bellaire residents the Terrain Study was authorized in June of 2016 by City Council at a cost of $70,000. This is from the agenda for the City Council meeting of June 6, 2016:
Consideration of and possible action on a recommendation from the Citizens For A Beautiful Bellaire to engage the Landscape, Architecture, Urban Design and Planning firm of Terrain Studio to develop a Master Beautification Plan for the City of Bellaire, Texas, and on the adoption of an ordinance authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk of the City of Bellaire, Texas, to execute and attest, respectively, for and on behalf of the City of Bellaire, Texas, a Standard Form of Agreement with Terrain Studio to provide the structure and process to follow for Bellaire’s beautification efforts and create a Master Beautification Plan in an amount not to exceed $70,000, plus expenses. Submitted by Paul A. Hofmann, City Manager, on behalf of the Citizens For A Beautiful Bellaire.
Citizens for a Beautiful Bellaire was a loosely organized group and was not an official City board or commission. The final Plan runs 208 pages. On pages 86 to 104 you will find:
A suggestion to use a 75′ right of way along Newcastle to install a walking/bike path, bioretention garden, parkway and sidewalk on the east side.
The full 60′ of right of way along Evergreen would be use to add a sidewalk and parkway along both sides of the street plus a a bicycle lane and bio-retention garden.
Bellaire Boulevard’s three lanes would narrow to 32 feet across with a 14′ median, to allow for sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and bio-retention gardens.
An alternative plan is to use a 150′ right of way and include Paseo Park down the center.
There’s a lot more. Essentially what you’ll find is a beautiful plan for a brand new city, but very little of this plan relates to Bellaire. We are landlocked, our residents will surely resist losing their front and side yards to be used for bicycle paths and bio-retention gardens. Or maybe not, maybe they will gladly give up 15 or 20 feet of yard, maybe more. Council and City Staff love to use this study to justify expenditures.
Study the entire plan – there’s a roundabout, plans to use the power company easement along the tracks, lots of redesign of the downtown area and the the commercial area along Westpark and the Loop – now dealing with the 69/610 construction. And no suggestion of who will pay for these grandiose plans.