AUSTIN - State Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) is proud to announce that Governor Rick Perry signed House Bill 3629 into law, creating the Spring Branch Area Community Improvement District. Authored by Bohac, this economic development measure will soon bring new and exciting changes to the Spring Branch area in Houston.
“This is a huge win for the people of Spring Branch,” said Bohac after his bill was signed into law. “This economic development district is about bringing jobs and new business to the area, redeveloping Long Point Road and other vital streets, and recognizing the unique identity of one of Houston's oldest close-knit communities."
“The local community will get to decide how to use the district to meet their needs and reach their vision for Spring Branch,” continued Bohac. “Spring Branch deserves to be recognized as a vital part of the city and this will help make the community stronger.”
Local community leaders are excited about the coming changes. "Having the Governor sign House Bill 3629 is the first step in improving the quality of life for all in Spring Branch," said Spring Branch Central Super Neighborhood President Catherine Barchfeld-Alexander. "If it weren't for our State Representative, Dwayne Bohac, this would have never happened."
The Spring Branch District is a municipal management district (MMD), a political subdivision of the state operating under Chapter 375 of the Texas Local Government Code. MMDs are similar to a property owners’ association, in that they provide enhanced services and improvements to communities. However, an MMD serves as an even stronger tool to address specific community and neighborhood problems that otherwise would not be addressed by the city or county alone. By law, the purpose of the district is to promote and develop employment, commerce, transportation, housing, tourism, recreation, the arts, entertainment, safety, and the public welfare in the area of the district.
Spring Branch will soon see the kind of economic development found in other parts of Houston that have similar management districts, such as the Uptown/Galleria area, Greenspoint and Westchase. Since the first MMD was created by the legislature in 1987, more than 20 such districts exist now in Harris County, and these have proven to be an invaluable resource for revitalization and economic prosperity.
The Spring Branch Area Community Improvement District is bound by Interstate 10 to the south, Beltway 8 to the west, Clay Road to the north, and Hempstead Highway/Loop 610 to the east. Any land located within the boundaries of the City of Spring Valley and the City of Hilshire Village is exempt and not considered to be a part of the district.
The district will be governed by a 13-member board of directors made up of leaders from all three Spring Branch Super Neighborhood Councils and commercial property owners from across the district. The board will decide on the vision and direction for the new district and begin the process of putting together the service and assessment plan. Funding for projects will be raised from a small assessment that will apply to commercial property only. By law, no residential land will be subject to the assessment. This is a great investment for property owners because they control how it is spent and see direct and immediate benefits.
At least 30 days before the first board meeting, written notice will be sent by certified mail to each property owner in the district who could be subject to an assessment. This notice will include a description and purpose of the Spring Branch Area Community Improvement District, a statement that the district, by action of the board, may charge an assessment for improvements to be made in the district, and the time, date, and location of the first board meeting. Before any assessment plan can be approved, a petition must be signed by the owners of a majority of the assessed value of real property in the district or at least 50 owners of real property in the district that will be subject to the assessment.
“I want to thank our newly appointed board members for joining me in this historic effort to revitalize Spring Branch,” said Bohac. “The board represents some of the most active community and business leaders in Spring Branch and will do a fantastic job representing the diverse needs of the district.”
Spring Branch is one of the oldest communities in the Houston area. It began as a religious community settled by German farmers. The earliest settler was Karl Kolbe, who arrived from Germany in 1830 and settled on the banks of a stream where it joined Buffalo Bayou, nine miles from Houston. It was this spring-fed branch that eventually gave the area its name.
"The Spring Branch Area Community Improvement District is the next chapter in the ongoing history of Spring Branch," concluded Bohac. "It is a turning point that will take Spring Branch to greater heights of economic prosperity and strengthen its reputation as one of the best places to live in the city of Houston. This is a new day for Spring Branch."