Magnolia city officials have entered the beginning stages of a new comprehensive plan, which will give the city a roadmap for planning the next 15-20 years. Residents will have a chance to hear about the new plan during the city council meeting Nov. 13.
Magnolia Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Rose Miller said the plan is long overdue. The city's last comprehensive plan was developed in 1999.
"It was time for an update," she said. "We had outgrown our previous plan. It wasn't as encompassing as we want to make this plan."
Miller said the new plan will be able to allow the city to do more things to plan for the future, such as possibly adding planning and zoning down the road.
"We can't do zoning without a comprehensive plan, if we decide to do that," she said. "We will be able to do many things as a city, but to do those things, the law requires that we have a comprehensive plan."
The plan, being developed by officials with the help of Kendig Keast Collaborative, starts off by focusing not just on the city, but the entire area around Magnolia and its explosive growth.
"Magnolia benefits from the regional employment centers and mixed-use amenities of The Woodlands, Conroe and Tomball," the plan's introductory statement says. "This has translated into local growth, as Magnolia has experienced a 25 percent population increase over the last 10 years and a 50 percent increase in commercial permits over the last year."
Among the goals of the plan are establishing a community-supported vision and guiding principles that steer future growth and enhancement, providing short, mid-term and long-term growth strategies and providing greater predictability for residents, land owners, developers and investors.
Members of the plan's steering committee have gone over the first three chapters of the plan, which will be presented to the city council Nov. 13, for discussion.
"It's part of the process," Miller said. "We want to make sure each chapter builds on the others and make sure everyone is on the same page."
The second chapter of the plan deals with the area's land use and character.
"The city must play to its strengths by maintaining a high quality of life and niche appeal that compliment the big city amenities of neighboring jurisdictions," the plan states. "As the community grows and matures, land use and character planning will be central to protecting its highly valued identity, while guiding the pattern, appearance, quality and sustainability of new growth."
The third chapter to be discussed at the meeting deals with growth management and capacity.
"Like many small, bedroom communities, Magnolia lacks a critical mass of taxpayers that wholly fund the infrastructure and social services that are expected of a metropolitan suburb," the plane states. "As the city pursues an aggressive growth trajectory to overcome this imbalance and achieve home rule authority, its long-term financial health and sustainability will be contingent on its restraint, as much as it opportunism."
The city has taken steps to build a committee to look into the benefits and concerns of zoning, which the council will discuss at the meeting as well.
"If the council approves the committee, its charter will be to investigate the pros and cons of implementing zoning," Miller stated.
The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 18111 Buddy Riley Blvd.