District J Town Hall Recap

September 8, 2014

Dear District J Residents,

As you may know, I hosted a Town Hall meeting last week to address the effects of the expansion of the Sharpstown TIRZ boundaries and HBU’s ongoing construction of improvements on its campus.

We had a productive meeting, attended by many residents, and I would like to thank our wonderful panel of experts for their participation. Here is a recap of the evening:

  • The TIRZ has no authority to use governmental condemnation powers and cannot force private landowners to sell their property to the TIRZ or any other party.
  • The expansion of the TIRZ boundary does not enhance the City’s condemnation powers or increase the likelihood that the City would exercise those powers. No properties located in Section 2 will be condemned as a result of the TIRZ boundary expansion.
  • The expansion of the TIRZ boundaries is solely an administrative act with only one outcome: it allows TIRZ budget monies to be spent on public improvements within the TIRZ area.
  • The TIRZ has, since the date of its creation invested, or will within the next five years invest nearly $58 million dollars for public improvements in the Sharpstown area.
  • The City does possess governmental condemnation powers but is restricted by law to use that power only for public purposes. The City has no plans to condemn residential property in Section 2.
  • Private property located in Section 2 cannot be purchased, nor re-platted, for commercial purposes, because the Deed Restrictions require that such property be used for single-family residential purposes only.
  • On March 20, 2013, City Council also approved a Development Agreement between HBU, the City, and the TIRZ. It stipulates that HBU will add $160 million in value to the area by constructing infrastructure improvements solely on its Campus, in exchange for a credit from the City of $4.4 million (not funded by TIRZ monies).
  • After passage of the Development Agreement, an exhibit showing a drawing listed as “Science Lab Building Option 6” was incorrectly attached to the Agreement. The exhibit was attached by human error and is not part of the Agreement. The City will take steps to remove the incorrect exhibit in order to eliminate public confusion.
  • HBU owns 13 residential properties in Section 2, which it uses for faculty housing. HBU pays annual voluntary membership dues to the Sharpstown Civic Association. HBU has no active plans to purchase additional residential properties in Section 2.
  • HBU is a private sector university that does not possess governmental condemnation powers therefore cannot force private property owners to sell property to HBU.

I hope this list of facts will address any questions you may have, correct any misinformation, and put to rest any confusion that has surrounded the community’s understanding of these matters.

If you have any further questions, or if we may be of service to you in any other way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. It is an honor and pleasure to serve you.

Thank You,

Council Member
Mike Laster