As we know, the city of Houston struck a deal with The Woodlands a few months ago to take any future annexations off the table. That deal was later codified into legislation, which has since been signed into law. One piece of that legislation also gave The Woodlands the ability to come to a similar arrangement with Conroe, which has had its own plans for a piece of The Woodlands east of I-45. As of yesterday, that too is now off the table thanks to an agreement between The Woodlands and Conroe.
In December 2005, Conroe officials announced the city would annex Municipal Utility District No. 39, an 858-acre area that includes the Harper's Landing neighborhood of about 1,400 homes. The announcement spurred protests from residents who said they did not want to be a part of the city.
As part of the agreement, Conroe will end its proceedings to annex District 39 and release it from the city's boundaries in 2014.
In return, The Woodlands will put $320,000 into a regional fund to be used for mutually beneficial projects agreed to by leaders of both communities. The fund will be handled by The Woodlands' Town Center Improvement District, a special management district.
The district will then make continuing payments to the fund using 1/16 of sales tax and tax income from the utility district.
The regional participation agreement will not have a term limit.
The deal brokered over the past several months is similar to the regional participation agreement recently reached between The Woodlands and Houston, enabling the community to become a city in the future without the possibility of annexation.
''I think this is a groundbreaking step toward cooperation between The Woodlands and Conroe, and the agreement sets the foundation for that," said Joel Deretchin, president of The Woodlands Association.