With 2020 behind us and the challenges and opportunities of 2021 just beginning, municipalities throughout the Katy area are looking back at the last year for lessons learned and forward to the successes to come.
With 2020 behind us and the challenges and opportunities of 2021 just beginning, municipalities throughout the Katy area are looking back at the last year for lessons learned and forward to the successes to come. Fulshear Mayor Aaron Groff provided the answers below to the Katy Times, describing what he sees as the city’s successes in 2020 and what Fulshear can look forward to over the next year.
Responses have been lightly edited in order to provide minor clarifications such as explanations of acronyms and jargon.
Q: Outside of dealing with COVID-19, what do you feel were some of the important successes Fulshear had during 2020?
Fulshear continues to grow at a rapid pace. In 2020, we had weeks where development services averaged over 140 inspections. We approved several developer agreements that allow the city to continue to manage the growth both within the boundaries of Fulshear and (its extraterritorial jurisdiction - ETJ). I am ecstatic that our (economic development corporations) were able to fund small business grants for the businesses within the city that were impacted by COVID-19. It was exciting to see several new businesses open and have success in the crazy year of 2020. However, the greatest success Fulshear experienced in 2020 was the passing of its Coordinated Development Ordinances. This living document was over two years in the making and codifies all the city’s ordinances into a single document.
Q: The city has been working on updating and clarifying its code of ordinances to make them more streamlined and user-friendly. Can you tell Katy Times readers what progress has been made on that project and how it will benefit the residents of Fulshear?
The Coordinated Development Ordinance, or CDO, as it is most often referred, is a great benefit for both the current residents of Fulshear and those who will eventually live here. One of the biggest benefits is that not only does it clearly define the expectations for future development, but protects and conserves the value of our current land and buildings. The 293-page document serves as a tool for Fulshear to implement the city’s Comprehensive Plan and guide the future growth and economic development. The CDO is the tool we use to maintain our small-town character and achieve responsible development. In addition, the CDO consolidates the city’s development ordinances into a single searchable document. The process allowed us to minimize conflicts found in competing ordinances and clearly define land use. Finally, the CDO serves to establish a process that applies the standards of the CDO across the city and ETJ fairly. We have already seen the benefits of the recently adopted CDO as staff and council negotiate with developers who are partnering with Fulshear to keep it the most desired destination in the region.
Q: Improving mobility is a serious issue for Fulshear, as can be seen with improvements to Charger Way and Bois D’Arc Lane that have been completed or were authorized by the city this year. What other improvements can Fulshear area residents look forward to from a mobility standpoint in 2021?
The 1093 expansion was completed, but most of the city’s projects slated for 2020 were simply maintenance projects. Unfortunately, many of those projects, including an improvement of Red Bird Lane, are just getting underway as a result of delays associated with COVID-19. However, 2021 looks to be a banner year for the region’s mobility projects as the Texas Heritage Parkway is set to open. We should also break ground on the expansion of Huggins Road, expanding it from Charger Way to 359 in 2021. Also, with the passage of the County’s Mobility Bond, Fulshear City Council has approved projects to expand and improve Wallis Street, as well as Bois D’Arc, which will drastically improve north/south connectivity. These projects and many others support the city’s Major Thoroughfare Plan which was updated in 2020 along with the adoption of the CDO. The Fulshear Major Thoroughfare Plan can be found at Fulshear MTP Map (Final Higher Res to City 07.23.20).pdf (fulsheartexas.gov)
Q: Outside of mobility and procedural improvements, what can Fulshear residents look forward to in 2021 that will help improve quality of life for them?
Fulshear will continue to thrive in 2021. Fulshear is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, and in 2021, we will likely continue that trend. While that growth brings some inherent challenges, it also brings some great opportunities. One of the things we are proud of in Fulshear is our trail system. In 2021 we will see further expansion of that system, as well as several improvements at our City Parks. On December 15, 2020, Council approved a Development Agreement that will add 26 acres of park land to the City. That park will house sports fields that will benefit every resident. 2021 also promises new businesses, including restaurants, that will continue to contribute to a strong economy and additional places for the community to safely gather and shop. The expansion of new roadways will drastically improve mobility and make it easier to traverse the city. We will continue to be one of, if not the safest city in Texas. Many thanks to the incredible Fulshear Police Department and vigilant citizens for earning us the top spot in 2020. Our residents have a lot to be proud of and there is much more to come in 2021.
Q: As mayor, what message would you like to pass on to Fulshear residents as they begin the new year?
I would simply like to say, “Thank you” to our residents. I am incredibly proud of how they navigated 2020 and I am extremely excited about 2021. In 2020, our residents showed grace to their neighbor and exhibited compassion to our community. Time after time, I saw needs arise and those needs were met immediately. Fulshear truly is a family, and the resilience of our residents gives me much hope as we enter 2021. Stay safe, stay strong, and love well.