History of Kingwood: A Livable Forest in Houston

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Kingwood is a master-planned community situated in northeast Houston, Texas. Most of Kingwood is located in Harris County, and a small portion is in Montgomery County. Kingwood is known to be Houston’s Livable Forest, and it is considered to be the biggest master-planned community in Harris County. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of Kingwood.

History

Old Kingwood Drive Sign

In the 1960s, the City of Houston annexed portions of land that would later become Kingwood. In 1970, Kingwood was founded, and Friendswood Development Company developed the community. The community’s plans included churches, schools, shopping centers, greenbelts, hiking, and riding trails. By 1976, Kingwood attracted a few thousand residents, and in 1990, the community had over 19,000 residents and 204 businesses.

The City of Houston began the process to annex Kingwood in 1994. During that time, the Texas state law declares that a home-rule city is allowed to annex an unincorporated area, even without the residents’ consent, especially if the area is within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Then Houston mayor, Bob Lanier, believed that Kingwood’s annexation would bring in a $4million annual gain of the town. The mayor said that the City of Houston must bring in Kingwood so that it would add more to its tax base. In August 1996, the Houston City Council consulted the Planning and Development department if they could create service plans for Kingwood and Jacintoport, which is another area that is being annexed by Houston.

Kingwood High School

However, the residents of Kingwood did not like to be annexed. In fact, for two whole years, the residents fought an uphill battle against annexation. They offered to pay the city a whopping $4 million in exchange for not being annexed. They also decided to file a lawsuit against the City of Houston, wherein they claim that the city was taxing them without proper representation. During that time, most Kingwood residents did not believe that the City of Houston would not follow the state law requirement, which asks the annexing cities to give equal services to the annexed areas just like what they do on their original territory. Some Kingwood residents did not like the idea of their community annexing to Houston without the resident’s consent.

In December 1996, the City of Houston annexed Kingwood, which added 15,000 acres to the city limits. In 1999, Kingwood’s residents petitioned the Texas Legislature and asked if they can make any modifications to its annexation laws. Fortunately, the legislature passed amendments to the law, which now requires municipalities to have plans for the communities that are being annexed.

In 2006, Kingwood’s population reached 65,000 residents. However, the resentment and anger of some Kingwood residents never dissipated. They even said that they have settled in as Houstonians, but still, they oppose the annexation.

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