This page contains responses to the key issues in Bruce’s campaign. If you would like to address any issue, please Contact Us.
Q. What do you see as the two most important challenges for The Woodlands Township and what steps would you take to address those challenges?
A. Clearly traffic/mobility and drainage are the key issues. Since drainage is covered in Q2, I will concentrate on mobility. We can handle our own internal growth, but mobility planning for the residential and commercial development around us is essentially non-existent. Despite repeated calls from The Township Board for a countywide mobility study, the county has yet to act. This lack of planning adversely affects The Woodlands residents and threatens property values. Over the repeated objections of The Board, the current county boulevard plan calls for the extension of Woodlands Parkway, as well as the extension and widening of both Branch Crossing and Gosling Roads. These projects, if completed, will add significant congestion to all of the east/west roadways within the township. Instead, improvements and widening should be a priority on our natural ring roads, I-45, FM2978, SH242, FM1488 and SH99 so that through traffic can be efficiently routed around our residential areas.
Q. Describe your view of the role of the Township in supporting the Montgomery County and Harris County Commissioners’ Courts to address the surge in the county’s growth and the resulting impact on flood control?
A. For the past four years I have chaired the Township’s One-Water Taskforce so I am very familiar with what the Township can and cannot do. After Hurricane Harvey (the third 500 year flooding event in less than 18 months) Harris County got serious about reining in development by completely revising their building standards and by persuading the voters to pass a $2.5b bond issue specifically for drainage mitigation. To date Montgomery County has made a minor revisions to their standards, but has not taken any public stance on storm water mitigation. In my view, it is vital that the two counties agree to harmonize building standards on both the north and south sides of Spring Creek. The Taskforce momentum continues to grow as we have completed the Spring Creek Retension Feasibility Study and there does appear to be a workable solution to significantly reduce the volume of floodwater in Spring Creek during a 100 year event. We have also identified a $9m project that will drastically improve drainage along the Bear Branch and Panther Branch tributaries in Montgomery County. I have recently expanded the scope of the Taskforce to include surface water, ground water and subsidence issues in addition to our work on stormwater mitigation.
Q. The Township is nearing the end of the incorporation study. What decisions will be proposed during your term regarding incorporation that are important to voters? If elected, how will you engage voters and do you propose further studies to provide information and answer questions since the decision to incorporate will be theirs?
A. We are nearly at the end of a comprehensive look at the processes, costs and benefits of potential incorporation. This study will not be completed until the Spring of 2020, having been put on hold to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Once we have formally completed the studies, the Board plans a series of public forums to educate the residents on what we can and cannot do as a City as opposed to remaining a Special Purpose Taxing District (Township). To be clear, the Township Board has no power to incorporate the township; the only action they can take is to call for a resident referendum to decide on both incorporation and the maximum tax rate that the new city can impose. These elections must occur on a unified election day in either March or November. Ironically, the two issues most often identified through resident surveys as their biggest concerns are traffic, drainage, and law enforcement, none of which are township responsibilities, but would be should the residents decide to incorporate.
Q. Are you in favor of incorporation? Why or why not?
A. Yes, I am in favor of self governance. The Township as currently constituted has very limited power in major areas of resident concern. Most notably in the areas of traffic, drainage, law enforcement and development. Traffic, roads and signals, and law enforcement are the responsibility of the respective county governments. Harris County for Creekside Park, and Montgomery County for the villages north of Spring Creek. Drainage is provided through the eleven Municipal Utility Districts with stormwater mitigation vested in the Harris County Flood Control District and the San Jacinto River Authority. Development of the township is determined by the developer, Howard Hughes Corporation with the consent of the two cities that have Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) over the Township, Houston and Conroe. Houston, Conroe, Harris County, Montgomery County and the developer have had complete control for forty-eight years. The Woodlands has grown to encompass fourteen villages and approximately 118,000 residents. Incorporation will allow the residents to better control these critical issues, determining the use, maintenance, and expansion of roads, development standards that affect drainage, have their own police force, have the option to consolidate and eliminate the MUD districts, and to control the remaining development within the Township boundaries.