After three years and a stormy public process, Bellaire City Council approved a specific use permit that will allow Houston ISD to build a softball and baseball facility located at 6300 Avenue B on Nov. 2.
The permit was originally approved in 2017, so that HISD could only build a baseball facility. The application was changed in 2019 by HISD to allow the district to also build a softball facility on the property. The amendment led to further public input from surrounding neighbors, who were concerned about floods, tree conservation, noise, traffic and parking.
HISD has not yet responded with a construction timeline or current estimated costs for the facility.
“In recent meetings, you have heard me continue to talk about my frustration that everyone has to go through the public process again after we have already given the HISD the permission they asked for,” Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg said Monday night. meeting, “which combined baseball and softball in one field back in 2017.”
“But even after expressing that frustration, I also promised to keep an open mind,” Friedberg continued.
At the meeting on Monday night, the ordinary board voted that several conditions were linked to HISD having to follow in order to build the facilities.
Some of the conditions include:
The facilities may only be used for the sole and exclusive use of Bellaire High School and not by other entities without the prior consent of the City Council.
The facilities must be locked when not in use.
The facilities should only be used between certain times on weekends and weekdays.
Construction / exit shall be restricted to Bissonnet Street, in particular restricting access to construction through Avenue B and / or Feld Park
The lowest visual impact material shall be used for all nets in the perimeter of the area.
All trees must be preserved behind homes on the west side of the property, on the south side of the property next to Feld Park, and along Avenue B. If any trees do not survive construction, HISD must replace such a tree with a tree of the same size and species, approximately same place, within three months after the tree loss. HISD shall endeavor to preserve all other mature trees to the extent possible.
No video monitors are allowed.
The only place on the site must be security lights with little impact directed from homes.
HISD must construct a fence around the entire property inside existing sidewalks.
In September, the residents seemed divided between wanting the city to approve the change and returning to the original 2017 permit. The conversation was complicated by residents who framed the pages of the debate who either wanted Bellaire High School to have a new field or not.
“At first the argument was that there was not” enough parking “… Then the argument changed to” there would be too much traffic, “” so resident Harris Reid at public hearing Sept. 21. “Now we have moved on to the last argument” they are going to cut down trees and cause more flooding. “”
“What all this resistance really is is just ‘not in my yard,'” Reid said.
On October 5, the city council set up a subcommittee to communicate with HISD and properly resolve housing issues about the facilities and carefully evaluate the change options.
“I recognize the balance here, both in the legal relationship between the zone code and HISD’s preferences for land use. And also the balancing act and the trade-offs between competing societal priorities, such as the desire for more visible parking versus the desire for the preservation of the tree and also floods. “