September 22, 2023

A Smooth Budget for FY 2024

The development and adoption of the fiscal year 2024 budget was described by more than one participant as “one of the smoothest budget processes in recent memory.”  Between the push and pull of Council’s direction to hold the nominal tax rate flat and ongoing inflationary pressure, the budget was largely already spoken for before it even began.  Just to maintain existing service levels within those constraints left relatively little else to talk about.

September 18, 2023

Council Pilots New Noise Ordinance

In furtherance of our strategic emphasis on Quality of Life, Council labored through multiple hours-long workshops and a town hall meeting trying to figure out how to better regulate noise in the City.  Just as the Planning and Zoning Commission and staff wrestled with it in developing their recommendations.  It’s a notoriously difficult subject to legislate, and even after all the effort we put into it we probably still didn’t get it exactly right.  As such, our newly adopted noise ordinance will be implemented as a pilot of sorts, with the express understanding—if not expectation—that we're likely going to have to go back later and make some adjustments.

September 1, 2023

Bellaire Foodie Fest

The Bellaire food scene is hoppin’ with exciting new restaurants as well as longtime favorites.  Come celebrate and discover what they have to offer at the 2023 Bellaire Foodie Fest, presented by the Bellaire Business Association and H-E-B.

Sample a variety of food, wine and beer, enjoy live entertainment and cooking demonstrations, and have fun visiting with friends and neighbors at what has become a quite popular annual event.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Bellaire Police and Fire Foundation.

These local businesses serve our community in more ways than one.  They contribute greatly to our quality of life and have played a key role in promoting the revitalization of our commercial areas, a major focus of our Comprehensive Plan and a consistent theme we’ve heard from residents in our ongoing Plan ReviewThe BBA encourages everyone to Stay Loyal to Local, for the mutual economic benefits derived from keeping more of our spending right here at home.  The Bellaire Foodie Fest is a wonderful way to showcase and support our area restaurateurs.

Food!  Wine!  Beer!  Fun!  Come on out for a delicious evening September 30, 5:00-8:00 p.m., at the Civic Center.  For tickets and information, including sponsorship opportunities, visit

August 23, 2023

Public Works Moving to New Temporary Space

Unlike other city facilities, the Public Works administration building generally isn’t public facing.  So understandably it doesn’t always get the most attention; out of sight, out of mind.  But that doesn’t make it any less essential to providing the critical infrastructure and services we all depend on, and which are fundamental to our health and wellbeing:  clean drinking water, wastewater treatment, solid waste collection, streets and drainage.  We’re currently in the process of moving the Public Works department into a leased commercial office, on South Rice just outside the City, because they are in desperate need of functional space as we finally get underway with planning for a new facility.

August 8, 2023

Special Election to Authorize Sale of Ruffino Hills Landfill Property

It’s an election year in Bellaire, and in addition to the usual races for Mayor and Council voters will also be asked to authorize the sale of property outside the City previously dedicated as park land.  We’ve been looking to sell it for many years and at last the time is right.  While we don’t yet have a deal, it makes sense to go ahead and put it on the ballot now because it won’t cost us anything extra to conduct a special election in conjunction with the general election we’re already paying for.

Ruffino Hills is located along Keegan’s Bayou, out near 59 and the Beltway in Southwest Houston.  Originally the site of a municipal landfill for the cities of Bellaire and West University Place, after the landfill was closed in the 1980s the property was developed as a golf course that operated through the 90s and early 2000s.  The two cities continued to own it in roughly equal portions, until last December when West U. sold its half for $10.5 million to the City of Houston to be used for regional storm water detention in the Keegan’s watershed.

Bellaire is in talks with Houston to do the same, and is also considering interest from private developers.  Unlike West U.’s side of the property, however, Bellaire’s was dedicated as park land when the golf course was going in.  As such, under state law our voters must first approve a sale:


__________ FOR
__________ AGAINST
We hope all who are eligible will take the time to carefully study this issue—and, of course, the candidates for Mayor and Council—and exercise your right to vote!  Be sure to register by October 10 if you haven’t already.  Early voting will run from October 23 through November 3, and Election Day is November 7.

August 1, 2023

#OneBellaire Mobile App Available for Download

Keep up with the latest City of Bellaire news and information, and access helpful resources anytime, anywhere, from the convenience of your mobile device.  The #OneBellaire app is your new digital hub for:

  • Community events calendar and public meeting announcements
  • Important alerts and updates
  • Information about city services, such as holiday trash and recycling schedules
  • Online bill pay
  • and so much more!

Set it up for push notifications to receive new content automatically in the categories you choose.  This feature does not replace our PrepareBellaire emergency alert system, which is geotargeted for incidents that affect your specific location, but is a great way to get general information through Notify Me.

The #OneBellaire app is our primary, centralized app.  From within #OneBellaire you can easily access the SeeClickFix app previously released by tapping “Report a Concern,” or you can continue to use it as a standalone app if you prefer.  Still under development is another new app, Bellaire Collects, which is all about solid waste services, including a waste wizard that will assist users in understanding what materials can and cannot be put out for recycling.  Once ready it will likewise be integrated into #OneBellaire and also function as a standalone.

We’re excited to bring you this communication enhancement, and hope you will find it a useful tool for staying connected and engaged with the City.  Please reach out with your feedback, or if you have any questions or need assistance with the app.

Download the #OneBellaire app today!


July 19, 2023

Council Says “Not Yes” to Methodist Hospital Development

Monday night’s long-awaited deliberation and vote (or non-vote as it turned out) on the Methodist Hospital planned development application was unusual to say the least.  These are typically straightforward proceedings resulting in an up or down vote, often with conditions attached when a project is approved.  This one didn’t go that way.  As individual Council members stated their positions it was clear the proposal wouldn’t get enough votes to pass, but at the same time some members presented substantial modifications or even alternative designs they would vote for if the details could be worked out with the applicant.

Given those members’ interest in exploring such other possibilities, Council was reluctant to simply vote down the proposal in its entirety.  Both because we hope Methodist will continue to engage with us, and also to avoid potentially running afoul of a rule that would impose a two-year waiting period before any reconsideration.  But neither could we redesign the project on the fly from the dais, much less without input from the applicant or the public.

All of which led to a decidedly procedural, and decidedly unsatisfying outcome:  a motion to postpone the matter indefinitely as a means of avoiding voting against it.  In other words, “not yes” rather than “no.”

July 17, 2023

Council Looking To Discontinue Garbage Bag Distribution

For as long as anyone can remember (historical documentation points to 1971), the City has distributed rolls of garbage bags to every residence a few times a year.  The rationale for this program is to facilitate compliance with a provision of our Solid Waste Code requiring plastic bags be of a certain minimum thickness to prevent leaks.  These are thicker than your typical grocery store bag, and because the City buys them in bulk we can get them cheaper than if residents had to go out and buy them on their own.  The cost is passed on through the solid waste rate on our monthly utility bills.

However, the traditional reasoning behind the program no longer holds up.  Whatever may have been the case decades ago, today’s grocery store bags are stronger than they used to be, even if still thinner.  Many Bellaire households don’t use the City-supplied bags at all, and Public Works doesn’t enforce the thickness requirement, because it simply hasn’t been an issue.

July 12, 2023

Problem Solved:  Not One Dog Pound but Two

Turns out, the answer that’s eluded us for so long has been right under our noses this whole time.  From the start we’d all assumed our existing dog pound, flood prone and past its prime, would no longer be part of the picture.  But as it proved immensely challenging to identify a suitable site elsewhere on which to construct a new facility, staff revisited that earlier assumption and realized the old facility held the key.

July 7, 2023

Survey on Bellaire’s Future

Is Bellaire headed in the right direction, attracting the kind of developments and redevelopments that enhance your everyday quality of life?  Or are there aspects of our zoning regulations we need to revisit and update to better fulfill your vision for the Bellaire of today and tomorrow?

The Comprehensive Plan is our foundational, long-term policy statement of who we are and who we want to be, and is what will guide both public and private investments that will shape the City’s physical redevelopment and community character for decades to come.  As such, it’s critical we review the Plan from time to time, and in doing so cast a wide net to capture as many perspectives as possible.  Our current Comprehensive Plan Review is well underway, and as part of that process residents and other stakeholders are invited to participate in an online Survey on Bellaire’s Future, now through July 28.

This format allows for personal, candid input in ways in-person listening sessions might not, and is accessible to fill out at your convenience.  We recognize the survey is not the be-all and end-all, and it isn’t intended to be.  But it is a useful tool to secure feedback from those we might not otherwise reach, and is timed so as to inform a deeper, ongoing public discussion of the key issues that emerge as the Review progresses.

Also, some additional engagement opportunities have been announced for next week:

  • Wednesday, July 12:  Residential Engagement Opportunity at Bellaire High School, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (parking available at S. Rice and Maple)

  • Thursday, July 13 (rescheduled from June 15 due to extreme heat advisory):  Walk-up Tables inside the Bellaire City Library, 2:00-4:00 p.m., and outside at Evelyn’s Park, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

And, of course, there will be more such events to come.  Keep an eye on the Comprehensive Plan Review page on the City website for future announcements.

We thank you for your participation in this important project, which will help ensure the final product is truly representative of all viewpoints in defining Bellaire’s future.