Editorial to the Bay Area Citizen
Letters to the Editor
The Clear Lake area is blessed with an emerald jewel; over 2 miles in length and 178 acres overall. Since abandoned as a golf course several years ago, it has evolved naturally as a passive park that locals have come to embrace as a special place to walk, jog & enjoy. It offers grand vistas, rolling terrain, ponds, trails and habitat supporting a diversity of birds and wild life.
How much of this are we willing to carve out in the name of flood control and “forward thinking”? How much to allow for new development east of Ellington Field ?
John Branch, VP of the Clear Lake City Water Authority ( CLCWA). is a “forward thinker”, a good hearted affable man for whom I have tremendous respect. I do not however share his views on why we should carve out the heart of our community. In a recent email John sent to me, he substantiates in part, his reason: “There is still a lot of development "uphill" to be completed which includes Ellington Field and the far end of Space Center Blvd. and El Dorado which will only add more runoff into Horsepen Bayou.”
Does the Clear Lake area really need another subdivision or retail strip center that can’t carry its own weight in storm detention or flood control? Clear Lake City is half a century old and for the most part fully developed. Carving out 178 acres and all the trees within is a really bad deal.
CLCWA has been clear: it will cut down the trees, and dig out the ditch. Virtually all life within this two mile stretch will be wiped out. The Master Plan garners public support with a carrot on a stick ... Pretty pictures dangled out there for the single interest groups and slick architectural renderings that pitch the deal with talk of amenities, but there are no funds in place for any of this, there are not even funds to restore the land once it has been scraped bare.
It is my understanding that for a project such as this the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires a 404 permit from the Army Corp of Engineers which includes an environmental impact study. None of this has yet been done. Meanwhile CLCWA stated in their latest town hall meeting they are ready to begin digging as soon as they find a buyer to haul the dirt.
In that same meeting, CLCWA mentioned saving 40% of the trees in the perimeter area. Sounds good until we have a closer look and discover less than 5% of the trees live in the perimeter area, equating CLCWA’s 40% to about 70 trees. A reality check translates 98% of the 3,500 trees will be cut down. Is this what CLCWA labels “forward thinking”?
The Authority, (CLCWA) should welcome all questions and in return offer clear, concise and truthful responses. Anything short of that should be questioned further.
We all agree flood control is important and amenities such as hike & bike trails and community gardens will be welcome assets. Most important is that CLCWA’s Master Plan be overhauled and scaled back considerably. It needs to be fully funded with a clear timeline of events before the first tree is cut ...the first spade of dirt is turned.
Clear Lake City’s emerald jewel remains intact...for the moment.
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