Tag Archive for: dead on arrival

Liberty County Strategic Plan … Dead On Arrival

In August 2016, Liberty County released a Strategic Plan. Officials intended it to be the official policy guide for the county’s growth. However, most of the growth experienced by the county since then contrasts sharply with the vision, strategies and goals outlined in the plan. The contrast is so great, it’s tragicomic.

Colony Ridge V. Liberty County Goals

The massive 12-13,000 acre Colony Ridge development has provided most of the county’s growth since the plan’s inception. The development was not even mentioned in the plan but is now larger than the largest cities in the county (Liberty, Cleveland and Dayton).

Below are quotes from the Strategic Plan paired with pictures from Colony Ridge. You be the judge. Is Liberty County delivering on its mission, vision and values? Or mortgaging its future?

Vision Statement

“Liberty County supports a high quality of life by nurturing a family-friendly, resilient, and equitable community, and welcomes sustainable growth while conserving natural assets” – County Vision Statement

High-Level Goals

Development Goals include “Developing in a safe and resilient way that will last for generations to come.”
Environmental Goals include promotion of ecotourism, expansion of parks, and wetland preservation.
Housing Goals include improving the quality of housing.
Transportation Goals include expanding connectivity throughout the county. “The mobility of both people and goods is vital to the region’s success and its citizens’ quality of life.Shown above: FM1010, washed out since Harvey, has traffic backed up for hours during morning and evening commutes.

Drainage/Water Concerns

Planners are concerned about “fast growth that will change the nature of the community, and place more pressure on existing services and storm water infrastructure.”

Building and Development Guidelines

“Strengthening building codes is an effective way to lessen damage from disasters...For example, there would have been 40% less damage in Hurricane Andrew had building codes been enforced.”
“Encourage an intense tree canopy as a tool for reducing energy consumption and thermal pollution while also increasing value.”
“Establish development regulations to reduce hazard exposure within the County.”
“We envision a county abundant in natural, environmental, and wildlife resources that are protected and carefully managed to ensure the integrity of the ecosystem as the county grows.”

Promote an Overall Increase In Quality of Life

“…ensure that there is equitable access to resilient, high-quality housing to promote an overall increase in the quality of life.”

For the full Liberty County Strategic Plan, click here.

Such plans are always aspirational. They provide both direction and guideposts to measure success. People always make concessions to reality along the way.

However, what strikes me about this particular plan is that Liberty County gleefully accepted the first growth that fell into its lap. Judging by the pictures and statements above, and Wayne Dolcefino’s interviews, county officials were too busy licking their lips to say, “Hey now!”

They apparently made no attempt to influence the developer to follow even the most basic tenets of their plan.

From the Liberty County Strategic Plan.

It’s almost as if Colony Ridge exists in a parallel universe. I wonder how the structures above will hold up in a tornado, Toto?

An immutable law of biology states that “If you’re not growing, you’re going.” But I hope people down at the county courthouse remember that not all growth is good.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/14/2020

1203 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 452 since Imelda

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.