Liberty County commissioners sign off on more subdivision plats

In this file photo, Liberty County Pct. 1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski (center) signs off on new plats for Colony Ridge, Southern Crossing and Encino Estates after the April 9, 2019, commissioners court meeting as David Douglas, who oversees the county's permit department, and Heath Marks with Colony Ridge look on.

By Vanesa Brashier,

Approval of three subdivision plats was granted by Liberty County Commissioners Court at their regular meeting on April 9. In total, the three plats equate to approximately 1,900 new lots throughout Liberty County.

The plats are expansions to already existing communities – Encino Estates in Kenefick, Southern Crossing between Cleveland and Splendora, and Colony Ridge’s Santa Fe Subdivision near Plum Grove.

Encino Estates, located off of FM 1008 in Kenefick, offers two-third acre home sites with brick-and-stick construction. The development is part of a 1,400-acre tract owned by Encino Trust.

With 395 lots that make section one of Encino Estates already sold, the developer is now ready to open up a second section with 290 additional lots. Encino Estates allows homeowners to choose their own home plans as long as their plans meet the requirements for the subdivision.

Pat Baker with Encino Estates told commissioners that 105 homes are either built or under construction in the first section.

Southern Crossing Section 6, south of Cleveland and west of US 59, is being developed by Jim Culperson, who purchased the land with a partner about six months ago, according to David Douglas, who oversees the county’s permitting department. The new section of Southern Crossing will have 176 lots.

Southern Crossing’s older, developed sections have mostly midsize, reasonably-priced homes. The houses vary from manufactured or mobile homes, and stick-and-brick construction.

As Colony Ridge has continued developing its six subdivisions outside of Plum Grove in southwest Liberty County, the type of homes has improved with many new brick homes now dotting the landscape. The newest section approved by commissioners is Section 4 of the Santa Fe Subdivision. The other subdivisions are Camino Real, Grand San Jacinto, Rancho San Vicente, Montebello and Bella Vista. So far, Colony Ridge has developed around 15,000 lots, most of which are sold.

“We have about 80 families a month moving in. We are pouring about one house slab per day,” said Trey Harris with Colony Ridge.

The Grand Parkway, which will have access points into the communities, is making a big difference in interest from homebuilders, Harris said.

“The property has transformed a lot over the past year or so. We are negotiating contracts with D.R. Horton, First American Homes, Morris Homes and Camden Homes,” he said, adding that the new homes will be brick-and-stick construction.

The population in the Colony Ridge developments is happening at such a rapid pace that the Texas Department of Transportation is widening the Grand Parkway from the original two-lane plan to four lanes from the development west to US 59, Harris said.

Most of the subdivisions will be connected with a thoroughfare that connects to the Grand Parkway, which will eventually take some of the traffic burden off of Old Plum Grove Road, FM 1010 north to Cleveland and FM 2090 south to Splendora.

A proposed roundabout at the intersection of Plum Grove Road where FM 1010 and FM 2090 converge, which was discussed by county commissioners at a meeting earlier this year, is being put on the back burner for now.

“I met with TxDOT. If we start now, that’s about a three-year project if I fund it completely. If I don’t fund it, then it’s a three-year project for TxDOT and then they will begin looking for funding,” Harris said. “I told them I would be good with funding it myself but the process sounds lengthy.”

Instead of the roundabout, Harris is looking at directly routing traffic by thoroughfare and county roads to FM 1010 and FM 2090.

“If I tie in there, it will take the traffic off Plum Grove Road and Paul Campbell Loop,” he said. “All of my subdivisions, except for Rancho San Vicente and Bella Vista, tie together and have access to the Grand Parkway. I am working on a couple of things and if I am able to pull it off, all the subdivisions will be tied together with access to the Grand Parkway.”

As his developments continue to push enrollment at Cleveland ISD, Harris is trying to do his part by donating land for campuses. Cleveland ISD’s Cottonwood Elementary, under construction in the Santa Fe subdivision and expected to open in the fall of 2020, is on a tract of land donated by Colony Ridge. The tract is large enough for a future middle school. Harris also has set aside tracts for another elementary campus and a high school campus.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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