MONTHLY PLANNER
June 2017
Updates from your City of Houston
Planning & Development Department
In This Issue
Quick Links
Planning Down Under
Assistant Director Margaret Wallace Brown and Janet Attairan of the City of Detroit

Assistant Director Margaret Wallace Brown spoke at the Urban Development Institute of Australia Congress about the battles various cities face, and how these respective Planning and Development Departments address growth or lack of thereof. The Urban Development Institute of Australia's National Congress brought global thinkers and national industry leaders together to identify future trends and discuss the next opportunities for our industry. For more information, visit www.udiansw.com.au/.
Planning Commission Committee Reports
It is that time of year when schools close for the summer, graduations are being held, and the City of Houston's fiscal year is coming to an end. In the spirit of the season, the Planning and Development Department is offering a mid-year report on the important work of the two 2017 Planning Commission committees.
 
Planner Leaders Fang and Bandi prepare for a presentation
 
Planner Leader Muxian Fang is the staff organizer for the Walkable Places Committee. According to Fang, t he Walkable Places Committee had very productive discussions in the first few months of 2017.
 
T he committee identified essential elements to create walkable places, distinguished the difference between walkability and walkable places, and discussed other U.S. cities best practices to promote walkable places. Houston-Galveston Area Council's Jeff Taebel  was  the guest speaker at the April meeting. He shared his experiences and expertise regarding steps to promote a walkable Houston. At the May 17th meeting, the committee met at the Julia Ideson Building. This location afforded the opportunity for the group to work on four design charrettes, and to brainstorm and discuss where walkable places should apply, and what standards should be implemented.
 
The June 14th meeting will be held at the committee's regular location, in the City Hall Annex Chambers, 900 Bagby, at 4 pm. No meeting is anticipated for July. For more information and August meeting details visit the Planning Commission website.
 
 
Planner Leader Suvidha Bandi, as lead organizer for the Platting Standards Committee, reports that there is a n ew direction for the committee.
 
The Platting Standards Committee initiated a full workload over the past few months. Subsequent revisions were intended to provide a more manageable, clear, and effective direction for the Committee. Departmental staff processed responses from a committee survey and related feedback by committee members in this regard. However, a fter consulting with the Committee's leadership, Planning Commission Chair Marty Stein, and the Mayor's Office, the Planning and Development Department is postponing further committee meetings for now. 
 
Putting this work on hold is necessary to allow the Walkable Places and the initial phase of the Complete Communities projects to be completed first. Working the projects in this order will ensure that any lessons learned from the Walkable Places and Complete Communities efforts can be applied to the Platting Standards project, and further ensures that staff and the Planning Commission has adequate focus and resources for all of these projects. In the meantime, as opportunities arise, the Department will continue to work with stakeholders as needed to develop minor technical or procedural amendments that do not warrant full committee evaluation.
Fast Facts
Complete Communities: Planning is underway for Mayor Sylvester Turner's initiative. Current updates include a FAQ sheet, and sign up's for the new Complete Communities newsletter. Stay tuned for updates via www.houstontx.gov/completecommunities/.

Pension Solution: Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation May 31 that paved the way for Houston to fix its pension issues. 
 
"Gridlock has been crushing the budget and the promise of Houston for too long," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Safety, security and responsibility; opportunity, diversity and equality: These fundamental Houston values were all at stake. The Houston Pension Solution, which experts have called a 'national model,' will immediately reduce the City's $8.2 billion unfunded liability, through future benefit reductions and increased employee contributions, while using Pension Obligation Bonds to ease the short-term burden. " They said it couldn't be done," said Mayor Turner. "But in Houston, we always get it done."
 

BCycle Continues to Expand: A ribbon cutting was held on May 10th to celebrate the four newest Houston BCycle stations, at the new Lost Lake Station located at Dunlavy/Allen Parkway. Bike stations were also installed at Guadalupe Plaza Park, Woodland Park, and Main & Wichita. Special thanks to Council Member Karla Cisneros and The Friends of Woodland Park for sponsoring the 20% local match for the Guadalupe and Woodland stations. Visit Houston BCycle for more information.