Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 11/30/2016  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon an update regarding the St. Anthony of Padua campus construction project (as requested by Director Bunch);
FISCAL IMPACT:
N/A
BACKGROUND:
Director Bunch requested a briefing regarding the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church campus project be included on the November 30th agenda.  Deborah Sargeant, the Chairman of the Development Standards Committee (DSC), has been invited to provide a briefing to the Township Board of Directors.

The Woodlands Township Board of Directors received a presentation from the Chairperson of the Development Standards Committee (DSC) on September 28, 2016, regarding the expansion project of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church (the Church).  The Board also heard Public Comment on this subject which included a request for the Board of Directors to support the DSC's direction to the Church to make a request to MUD 47 to allow the Church to plant vegetation in the MUD's drainage easement adjacent to Church property to increase the width of the Church's forest preserve.

DSC Chairperson Ms. Sargeant focused her presentation on the conditional approvals that the DSC placed on the Church's expansion project. Conditional approvals include:
 
1. Install an 8-foot solid fence along the rear of the property adjacent to the residential property.
Fence installation must be relocated to extend along the entire rear of the property and should
vary in location to allow for more of the forested area greater than the 15-foot forest preserve.

2. A landscape plan, with an integrated irrigation system, will be submitted in accordance with
the Commercial Planning and Design Standards.

3. Lights in the parking area must be shielded and installed in accordance with the Commercial
Planning and Design Standards.

4. Following completion of construction and reforestation, St. Anthony of Padua must reach out
to The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency in an attempt to allow for an increase in vegetation
between St. Anthony of Padua and back slope of the Municipal Utility District's (MUD) drainage
easement.

5. Township staff and designees of the DSC continue to perform routine site visits for the installation of
improvements and to determine timing of reforestation.

Staff attended the MUD 47 Board of Directors meeting on September 20, 2016 and made the request to permit the Township to plant along the south side of the drainage ditch adjacent to the home and to allow the Church to plant on the north side of the ditch adjacent to the Church property. Residents of Laurelhurst attended the meeting and supported the request and asked the Board to also review issues and concerns they have with the function, maintenance and appearance of the drainage ditch.
 
Forestation Costs:
Tree and shrub planting cost estimate for the 1,300 linear feet behind the homes on Laurelhurst is $36,082 including installation. This includes 260 plants of the standard reforestation mixture of various sizes and varieties. The largest sized tree would be 30 gallons, the smallest size would be 15 gallons and consist of Pines, Oaks, Wax Myrtle and Yaupon Holly - the standard "Woodlands Mix".  An additional $3,000 is estimated for use of the water truck to irrigate the trees and shrubs for one season.  If approved, staff would contact each individual property owner to seek consensus on whether or not the resident wants trees and shrubs planted behind their home and if so, assist in the placement of the vegetation to achieve the maximum benefit of the plantings.

DSC Update:
The DSC is providing updates on the development progress of the Church at each DSC meeting including reports on the weekly site visits by DSC members and Township staff.  The site visits have included night visits to observe the lighting. The Church continues to be in compliance with all DSC conditions at this time.  
Staff received concerns regarding weekend construction commencing as early as 6am. When notified staff reached out to St. Anthony who put a stop to the construction until 8 am which is the time they are allowed to commence.
Residents are also concerned about lighting in some areas which have become more visible due to the removal of trees as permitted for construction. This has also been addressed by placing lights on timers, motion sensors and by shielding.
Residents also expressed concern about the additional removal of trees for the placement of a storm drain. The church did eliminate the placement of a pipe on the East side of the property to a location closer to the chapel. This saved 2 large trees, but required the removal of 2 smaller trees. The DSC does not have any jurisdiction over the placement of such piping.
 
When placing this matter on the November 30th agenda, Director Bunch submitted the following questions;
 
1. Deborah indicated there would be a two phase reforestation plan. Can we see what the plan is and timing for implementing?
 
A reforestation plan was submitted as part of the initial approval of the master plan. This plan will again be reviewed once the construction reaches a point where reforestation can occur. DSC will require the Church to conduct a two-phase plan to landscape and reforest the forest preserve.   The first phase will be performed this fall/winter during optimum planting season and will be in the areas of the preserve that are the most obvious in need of plantings. The second phase of the landscape and reforestation plan will be performed toward the end of the construction phase so that those plantings are strategically located to minimize the views and provide the best possible buffer.

2. Neighborhood was told construction hours are too being limited m-f and weekends. What are the actual restrictions? How are they enforced? Concern is construction has been started as early as 6am and noise issues caused by that early start.
Staff received concerns regarding weekend construction commencing as early as 6am. When notified staff reached out to St. Anthony who put a stop to the construction until 8 am which is the time they are allowed to commence.

3. MUD or other easement on resident side of the ditch. Where and what can be planted along the backside of our resident’s properties? We need a layout of areas that have been approved to plant.
The MUD 47 Board reviewed and because of drainage concerns, will not be doing any plantings along either side of the ditch. There is no plan for any reforestation along the ditch.

4. Looking at the construction fence it appears to be less than 15ft which means more area was clear cut within the 15ft forest buffer zone?
The fence was allowed to be moved 2 feet in stages to allow for workspace for the construction workers. They will also be required to reforest as required if any of the forest preserve is damaged.

5. Lighting used is shining into backyards. What can be done to mitigate light nuisance and what is the final lighting plan to keep lighting from intruding into adjacent neighbors.

Residents are concerned that some areas have become more visible due to the removal of trees as permitted for construction. This has been addressed by placing lights on timers, motion sensors and by shielding.
RECOMMENDATION:
Receive and file the report.

    

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