Why Incorporate Now?

By: Gordy Bunch
| Published 10/15/2021


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Michelle and I moved to The Woodlands in 1995 and have raised our three sons here. We’ve watched our hometown grow from 30,000 to 118,000 residents, transition from HOA’s into The Woodlands Township, and now we all have an opportunity to vote to create our City of The Woodlands.

I believe our hometown has the talented residents to be self-governed, I believe in my elected neighbors caring more for our community than those we do not elect and do not live here, and I believe our residents will write our hometown constitution (Home Rule Charter) that will grant only the authority necessary to provide the services we desire. This would place limits on our City, requiring voter approvals that keep our residents in control of our future.

Right now, West Magnolia Improvement District is funding Woodtrace Parkway (Woodlands Parkway Extension). The traffic projections from this extension will fail our already stressed roadways in the western part of The Woodlands. A City of The Woodlands would have the authority to issue a ‘No Thru Trucks’ ordinance preventing 18-wheelers from using Woodlands Parkway, Research Forest, Kuykendahl Road, or Gosling Road as alternative trucking routes. Montgomery County wants to widen Woodlands Parkway which would require removing the tree-lined medians. As The City of The Woodlands, residents would have a say in all future development and could prevent the creation of thoroughfares destroying our quality of life, and thwart future attempts to clear cut our trees.

Plans for overpasses at Lake Woodlands and Grogan’s Mill, and Research Forest and Grogan’s Mill are additional tree removing projects being pushed by Montgomery County. The adjacent landowners, businessowners, and homeowners do not want these projects to move forward, but plans are still in the works to construct them without local consent. As a city, these overpasses can be stopped once and for all by the residents, and future road development decisions would be made locally, not by Harris or Montgomery County.

Eight additional high-density apartment complexes are being proposed within The Woodlands, and even more just outside our boundaries. This would result in a heavy traffic burden on our roads, and even more unwanted clear-cutting of trees. The City of The Woodlands, representing its residents, would gain local planning and zoning authority to address future developments locally, and issue tree preservation, and no-clearcutting ordinances.

Up to $30M in American Rescue Plan Act funding is still on the table. The Woodlands not being Incorporated is the one written reason the U.S. Treasury has provided for not funding our hometown. We are currently in an active appeals process, and our residents can vote to Incorporate on November 2nd, effectively eliminating the only reason our community is being excluded from this funding.

The City of The Woodlands will gain new economic development tools to help revitalize aging areas like the Grogan’s Mill Shopping Center. Cities also have access to use the States’ portion of Sales and Hotel Taxes to revitalize or expand their convention center areas. The Woodlands Township has been working on a Performing Arts Theater, and the Texas State portion of taxes could provide up to $26M in state funding toward that project and others.

The question we should be asking is, “Why not now?” Why are those opposed to Incorporation not wanting the residents of The Woodlands to be in control of their community? Why would they oppose the residents having a say in how their community is developed, and having the ability to protect their quality of life? Why wouldn’t they want The City of The Woodlands to have a seat at the table in National and State Affairs and access to additional funding? Why are developers and non-residents spending $500,000-$1,000,000 spreading misinformation throughout our hometown? Concerning, to say the least.

I am asking our residents to vote for incorporation and for themselves as they ultimately take control of our hometown and I believe our residents care more about our future than Harris or Montgomery Counties, Houston, Conroe or for-profit developers.

Vote for you in control!

Gordy Bunch
26-year resident of The Woodlands

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