clean sweep for royal pines

Clean Sweep for Royal Pines

Developers of the new Royal Pines subdivision at the north end of West Lake Houston Parkway have made a clean sweep. They appear to have finished clearing and grubbing more than 200 acres. See the pictures below taken on 9/17/22.

Looking east toward the Triple-PG mine in the background. The current terminus of West Lake Houston Parkway is in upper right.
Clearing began in April. Still looking east. Country Colony is in upper right.
Piles of dead trees being turned into mulch. Looking S toward West Lake Houston Parkway, top center.
Looking W. Not a tree left standing on where homes will be built. Nor a tree left standing between Royal Pines and Country Colony on left.

Trees As “Nuisance”

For most developers, including this one, trees are a nuisance. You have to work around them. They make it difficult to work the earth. And they often die later because of compaction of their roots by heavy machinery. Also, for smaller lots, there may not be enough room to leave trees and build a home at the same time.

But wholesale destruction like this can also contribute to flooding. We saw that a half mile southwest of Royal Pines at Woodridge Village when contractors cleared almost 700 acres before installing stormwater detention basins.

But beyond flood risk, marketing suffers. Marketers often try to build awareness by building a mystique around brands. Their goal: turn buyers into brand ambassadors. By preserving trees, Kingwood turned tens of thousands of families into brand ambassadors.

Missing Magic

It’s the most effective form of advertising possible. But Royal Pines won’t have it. Let me retell a true story that dramatizes the principle.

I’ll never forget one Christmas Eve when our kids were young. At dusk, snow started falling gently. I called the family together to witness the magic moment as Christmas music played in the background.

As we huddled at the front door, two deer strolled in front of us. You should have seen the kids’ eyes light up. They wanted to know which of Santa’s deer they were. It was our best Christmas ever.

You can’t buy publicity like that. More than 30 years later, I still tell that story.

Sadly, the kids who live in Royal Pines will likely never know a magic moment like that.

Oh, someone will eventually buy each home … even the ones in the flood plain. But the developer won’t have word-of-mouth advertising like I and my neighbors gave the original Friendswood Development Company. They won’t have tens of thousands of happy customers bragging about their community. Instead they’ll have a name that likely triggers a cynical comment as potential buyers enter the subdivision for the first time.

Impact of Clearcutting on Runoff, Water Quality

Clearcutting does more than drive wildlife away. It also increases runoff and reduces water quality. To see a simple experiment that dramatizes the impact, check out this 90-second video.

Progression of Clearcutting to Date

Also see the progression of clearing at Royal Pines during the last six months in these related posts.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/17/2022

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