February 19, 2019

Drainage Project Paves Way for Comp Plan Downtown


That Bellaire is a city in transition is not exactly breaking news.  It’s been happening for decades.  Just take a look out your own front window (any residential street will do) to witness the ongoing turnover of our housing stock.  Our traditional residential character hasn’t changed, nor who we are as a community, but the substantial extent of new investment has brought about an obvious transformation.

While that’s been happening on the residential side, we’ve not seen as much of it in our commercial areas.  For years residents have been telling us they’d like to see downtown Bellaire revitalized, in keeping up with other premier neighborhoods throughout the Houston area.  That we should attract new, upscale development commensurate with our own residential investment, with restaurants, conveniences and shopping opportunities that contribute to our quality of life and allow us to spend more of our money here in Bellaire.  We also recognize a revitalized downtown will help in closing the wide gap between residential and commercial appraised values that’s reflected in the property taxes we pay.

Our Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2009 and updated in 2015, thus places primary emphasis on our commercial areas in laying out a consensus vision for the future redevelopment of the City.  We’ve seen the Plan starting to take hold in recent years with several exciting new projects, which further validate that vision and our efforts to implement it.  Good things are happening!  The Spruce & Fifth Reconstruction Project, approved by the City Council last night, gives the Comprehensive Plan another big boost.

February 13, 2019

Sidewalks Charter Election Will Have to Wait

The City Clerk, having diligently completed her review and verification of signatures, has now certified resident petitions for three charter amendments to be submitted to the voters concerning sidewalks.  That means the City Council will formally accept the petitions and call a special election at the next available opportunity.  Under Texas law, that won’t be until May of next year.

February 7, 2019

Bellaire Master Drainage Concept Plan

It’s perhaps the most exciting flood control development for Bellaire in the nearly year and a half since Harvey, and it’s actually something we’ve been working toward since before Harvey.  It picks up where our last drainage study left off, transitioning from our local drainage system to the surrounding regional issues that affect it.  What makes it so exciting is the enthusiastic response and participation of our regional partners.

The Bellaire Master Drainage Concept Plan is the next step in the evolution of our approach to solving our flooding problem.  We first began improving our local drainage infrastructure around the year 2000, with the Bellaire Millennium Renewal bond program, followed by Rebuild Bellaire from 2005 through 2016.  Based on what we’d learned in those programs, and with the benefit of new data and our experiences in major storms along the way, we set out to further study and refine our thinking about the problem and possible solutions.

January 24, 2019

Community Building at Ware Family Park


Parks play a vital role in community building, and with tax-supported resources being redirected to drainage, the community is coming together to build parks.

The City of Bellaire and non-profit Patrons for Bellaire Parks are excited to welcome you to the new and improved Ware Family Park, the first of our pocket parks to be upgraded under the Parks Master Plan.  The new playground equipment, designed for preschoolers ages 2-5 and for older kids 5-12, encourages exploration, imagination and sensory development and strengthening.  It also introduces special play features that are more inclusive of children with different physical, social, cognitive and sensory abilities.

December 28, 2018

The Stage is Set for a Great 2019

In 2018 we continued our recovery from Hurricane Harvey and made significant strides in flood mitigation planning.  We worked through some challenging issues, and in the process found opportunities to further refine our priorities as a community.  Much of what we accomplished was in laying the groundwork for an exciting year to come, and we enter 2019 very well positioned for even more growth and progress.

December 3, 2018

“No Wake” Law Now in Effect

Don’t go barreling down flooded streets in heavy rainstorms.  It’s the law.

Long a source of frustration and complaint in Bellaire are those inconsiderate drivers who plow through floodwaters, without concern for the people and property in their wake.  To help address this problem and call attention to it, we recently adopted a new ordinance that went into effect on December 1.  Modeled after similar ordinances in other cities nearby, it provides:

November 13, 2018

Bellaire City Hall is Open for Business

We’re all moved in and ready to serve you!  Our brand new City Hall is the first part of the Municipal Facilities campus to be completed and opens today at 1:00 p.m.  The friendly folks that look forward to welcoming you include Utility Billing, Permitting, City Clerk, Development Services, Finance, Human Resources and the City Manager’s Office.


October 24, 2018

Planning for a Potential 2019 Bond Program

Our major capital improvements are accomplished through successive bond programs over many years, addressing our infrastructure needs systematically in order of greatest urgency.  Even as we were developing our current Bonds for Better Bellaire 2016, we were already targeting 2019 for the next round.  Maintaining the same pace of work as its predecessors, BBB16 provides funding for three years’ worth of street and drainage infrastructure, and water and wastewater utility projects.  All of those are proceeding right on schedule, so it’s time to start thinking about a potential BBB19 to keep the progress going, and even accelerate it.

This week the City Council, City Manager and department heads kicked off the discussion with a half-day planning session devoted to the subject.  It was a high-level conceptual workshop to receive information and provide feedback and guidance to staff.  Certainly no decisions were made and there are plenty of details left to be worked out, but the overall consensus of Council is that current planning efforts are on the right track.

September 25, 2018

National Night Out:  100 Years of Service

The events of a year ago brought us closer together than ever before, neighbors helping neighbors get through the worst of the storm and on into the recovery.  For many, it was their first time really getting to know the people down the street or even right next door.  Our first responders and other Bellaire Brave were out in force, in many instances working alongside civilian volunteers, further cementing their relationships with the community they serve.

Next Tuesday, October 2, is National Night Out, a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with those neighbors and emergency personnel.  Block parties throughout the City not only build friendships and enhance our sense of community, they also promote public safety awareness and law enforcement partnership.  Block leaders are encouraged to sign up to have a police car, fire truck or ambulance come by—always a big hit with the kids!

National Night Out takes on special meaning this year, both after Harvey and as we celebrate the Bellaire Police Department’s centennial with the theme “100 Years of Service.”  Officers will be on hand to discuss upcoming commemorative events and to solicit suggestions for items to be placed in the Department’s time capsule, which will be sealed and incorporated in the new Police Station in July.

For more information and to organize a National Night Out block party on your block, please contact BPD Community Resource Officer J.W. Edwards at (713) 662-8103 or jedwards@bellairepolice.com.

September 20, 2018

A Game Plan for Sidewalk Decision Making

It seems the perpetually intractable issue of sidewalks has surfaced yet again, igniting an intense but respectful debate among neighbors equally passionate for and against.  Monday night I addressed City Council and the public, not for the purpose of taking sides, but to openly acknowledge that our decision making process is not working for us as a community and to urge that we take a step back and reboot.

For as long as the answers have eluded us, in my observation we’ve not actually been asking the right—and hardest—questions.  Our decision making should start with those, and lead to the development of a plan that’s deliberately inclusive of a variety of viewpoints.  We’ll never get anywhere if we don’t attempt to find common ground and build consensus, and yes, that will take time.  Moreover, many people, on both sides, feel it’s not our highest priority right now and that our time and current resources are better spent on other, more pressing matters.

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