Missouri City neighbors fear 'risks' come with 17-acre construction projects near their homes

Rosie Nguyen Image
Friday, April 26, 2024
Missouri City neighbors against construction projects near their homes
A fight over land in Missouri City has neighbors furious over the possibility of a new event center and hotel center right behind their homes.

MISSOURI CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Time is running out for neighbors in a Missouri City subdivision to stop the construction of an event center and hotel right behind their homes.

A vote on the project is coming within the next few weeks, and they feel the city has been ignoring their concerns about the impact the project would have on the environment, safety, and traffic in the area.

The developer, PLACE Designers, is requesting an approximate 17-acre plot of land on Knight Road near Watts Plantation Road to be rezoned for commercial space and used to construct a new event center and hotel called "The Palace."

The property sits right up against the northeast side of the Estates of Silver Ridge subdivision. Neighbors told ABC13 the project brings a long list of concerns for them.

Dinishi Abayarathna is worried about all of the trees that would be cut down and the flooding risks that the development could bring. She said the wetlands behind their homes helped mitigate damage during Hurricane Harvey.

"They're proposing to raise this land, cement over all of it, therefore inhibiting the land's natural ability to absorb water. All the water that had previously moved to the beautiful wetlands will end up going here. While they have proposed building a small ditch, I don't think they're understanding the extent of the risks," Abayarathna said.

Travis Johnson expressed concerns about the wildlife. Residents said they've seen dozens of different species that rely on the ecosystem of the neighborhood, including bald eagles, white-tailed deer, snakes, turtles, and alligators.

"It is a phenomenal neighborhood to raise your kids and show them what is possible," Travis Johnson said. "My kids love being outside, walking to the lake, and seeing all the animals here. We won't be able to do any of this stuff."

Thomas Cague has concerns about how increased traffic could cause severe congestion in the area, believing that the current infrastructure isn't equipped for the influx of cars that the development would bring. Right now, Knight Road only has one lane going in each direction. He is also concerned about noise levels.

"We're talking about putting an amphitheater and a hotel 50 feet from people's back property line. I don't think it gets any more simple than that. I don't think anyone would be on board with having that in their neighborhood," Cague said.

Requests for comment from Missouri City and the developer were not returned as of Thursday evening. But in an FAQ sheet posted on its website, the city wrote that measures would be taken to address some of these concerns, such as leaving a 50-foot buffer of trees, increasing patrol from law enforcement, and adding more lanes to the road.

Neighbors feel these answers aren't good enough to put them at ease.

"I want children to feel safe playing outside. I want parents to feel comfortable leaving their door unlocked and not worry that someone's going to be peeping into their yard, that transients are going to potentially really be able to have such access to their homes and children that they weren't before," Abayarathna said.

Neighbors also started an online petition, which has gathered more than 600 signatures. They also plan to make their voices heard at the next city council meeting on May 6 at 6 p.m., which they say is when city leaders will be voting on the rezoning request.

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