Houston/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on February 23, 2024
Conroe City Council Stalls Venterra Realty's High-Density Housing Proposal Amid Growth ConcernsSource: Unsplash/ Mark Potterton

The gridlock persists in Conroe, Texas, as city officials grapple with a proposal to densify local housing. Venterra Realty's pitch to up the ante on apartment units per acre has hit another wall, with the City Council pushing the pause button on a variance that would allow for a more crowded development. According to the Houston Chronicle, the motion to amplify the number from 12 to 19 units per acre got benched last June and, when downplayed to 18, didn't fare any better.

Conroe's leadership isn't keen on bending the rules they tightened back in March, marking a step back from 20 to 12 units per acre in a bid to rein in development and save some greenery. At a recent council meeting, Norm McGuire, assistant city administrator, made it clear that using the 18-acre chunk set aside for stormwater detention to sweeten the density deal is off the table. "We have never allowed detention to be used toward unit density because, it is not usable," McGuire said during Wednesday’s council workshop, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

Meanwhile, Venterra's senior development manager, Ptah Harding, continues to advocate for the 378-unit garden-style project destined for 21 acres of Conroe real estate. The proposed Conroe Waterfront Center boasts a bevy of plusses including a resort-style pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Harding insisted to the Chron, "We aren’t looking to overbuild. Respectfully, we have looked at this area and believe the growth supports the need for the units we are providing."

But the city's wariness over an apartment boom isn't fading. Councilman Howard Wood echoed constituent fears of overdevelopment, citing the uptick in building spurred by the pandemic's impact on construction costs and home-buyer bank balances. He told the Chron, "I’m not trying to get in the way of personal property rights or free market, but I want to make sure I study what we are ready to have and what we are looking at from an infrastructure standpoint." As Conroe's population balloons—soaring from 56,207 in 2010 to an estimated 101,405 in 2022—the city chews over an updated Wastewater Master Plan, gearing up for more residents and the ripples they bring.

Houston-Real Estate & Development