Undeveloped property near Woodlands Waterway set for commercial use


A small plot of empty land that is adjacent to The Woodlands Waterway at the Grogan’s Mill bridge will become a commercial development in the future after land use changes were approved.

In a unanimous vote, The Woodlands Township Development Standards Committee approved the changing the the ILUD — initial land use designation — for a 1.28 acre plot of undeveloped land to the north of The Woodlands Central Fire Station.

DSC member Robert Heineman, who retired earlier this year after a nearly 50-year career as one of the lead architects and planners at the Howard Hughes Corp., abstained from the vote. Heineman theorized The Waterway in the early 1970s.

The land, currently filled with lush grass and dotted with shade trees is on the south banks of The Waterway immediately west of the Grogan’s Mill Road bridge. The lot can only be accessed by turning west from Grogan’s Mill Road at High Timbers Drive.

Originally designated for use as a public or government institution, the land has been vacant for decades. Now, the Howard Hughes Corp. has unknown plans for the land and requested the ILUD be changed from government use to commercial use.

A spokesman for the company who spoke via a telephone call into the online Zoom meeting of the DSC refused to reveal any details of the plans. Emails sent to company officials were not returned.

The land is part of the East Shore community, a rapidly growing neighborhood of expensive New Orleans style townhomes and mansions and where Mitchell Island is located. The island, the only one in the township, is also being developed with 30 mansion style homes.

Home business OK’d

In other business on Wednesday night, the DSC unanimously approved an in-home hair salon business for a resident of the Village of Alden Bridge.

Despite the local approval, the owner the home business, Aida Picone, was warned the home business approval did not mean she could open without the necessary permits and licensing required for hair salons by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees salons and barber shops.

The approval came after intense and emotional public comment from Picone, one of her neighbors who supports her business, and five other nearby residents who reside within 1000 feet of the home and vigorously objected to the business.

Several homeowners accused Picone of operating the business illegally prior to the application for a home business, a claim Picone did not deny. One neighbor said the presence of flammable, explosive chemicals used in the hair salon business were a heightened danger to local residents.

At one point, Picone alleged she was the victim of racial harassment because she “looks Chinese,” while another neighbor denied those claims and said he found it unfortunate she “used the race card.”

The issue of alleged racist attacks on home business owners is not a new phenomenon at the DSC. In 2017, a Latina home masseuse alleged her neighbors had racially harassed her in her quest for a home business permit.

However, after legal action by one neighbor, she made an apology in 2019 and admitted she fabricated the claims of racist abuse.

Under the approval by the DSC, Picone will be required to get all state mandated licenses and permissions to operate the business from the TDLR and other regulatory entities; is not allowed to have customers park on the street; and can only operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Her business permit is for one year and DSC chairman Arthur Bredehoft said violations could result in the business permit being revoked.



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