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Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen Approve Revised Land Exchange

Post Date:02/24/2020 7:30 PM
The Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen tonight approved a revised land exchange agreement with the Germantown Board of Education and Taylor Land Investors, GP. 

The proposed agreement between GMSD, Taylor Land Investors and the City has been a cooperative, combined effort to further the objectives of all parties. 

During his presentation to the Board, Assistant City Administrator Jason Huisman commented that the agreement is a win-win for all involved. GMSD can move forward with their vision for expanding the Houston High campus. The City meets a Germantown Forward 2030 objective of preserving natural land. A local developer moves one step closer to building a beautiful new single-family home subdivision adjacent to our new state-of-the art elementary school and the City takes a giant leap toward ensuring redundancy in our water system through the construction of an elevated water tower on the east side of the City. 

Four parcels of land are affected by the agreement. These parcels are currently within Houston Levee Park, the land to the east of Forest Hill Elementary and five acres adjacent to the Norfolk Southern Railroad southeast of Forest Hill Irene Road. The following is a summary of the key elements of the land exchange. 

The City will deed 21.8 acres of Houston Levee Park to GMSD and retain three acres in the southwest corner of the park for parkland. GMSD intends to use the 21.8 acres for school-related recreational and school athletic uses. The three acres retained by the City allows for connectivity to the greenway that runs adjacent to this property, and maintains the City’s requirement for a park within a half mile of every home in Germantown. 

GMSD will deed 12 acres to the east of Forest Hill Elementary to the City which will manage this property as a natural open space and conservation area. The 12 acres of parkland already includes a detention pond for the FHES property and an approximate half acre of restricted wetland. In the event GMSD experiences school enrollment growth above maximum capacity at the elementary or middle school grade bands throughout the entire district, GMSD may demand re-conveyance of the Second Parcel from the City at no cost. 

Taylor Land Investors, represented by Mr. John Duke, will deed five acres along the northern border of the property to the City for the location of City-owned public utilities. Taylor will grant temporary construction, ingress-egress and permanent utility easements for the installation of water lines and a gravel road between Forest Hill Irene Road and the site. Upon the approval and execution of the Land Exchange agreement by all parties, the City will begin working toward the design and construction of an elevated water tower on this site.

GMSD will deed three acres in the northeast corner of the total 15-acre property to the east of Forest Hill Elementary to Taylor Land Investors. This parcel is adjacent to the land proposed for a single-family home development.  Additionally, this parcel is currently zoned Residential Estate. The developer is aware that rezoning would be required if the proposed lots sizes on this site will be less than one house per acre.  

Following approval of the Land Exchange Agreement, a supplemental Land Use Agreement was also approved. The Land Use Agreement is an agreement pertaining to the land exchanged between GMSD and the City only. The revised Land Use Agreement primarily addresses the specific details of use of shared facilities on the parcel behind Houston High School (HHS) during the term of the agreement.    

The following is a summary of the key elements of the revised Land Use Agreement.  

The City will be the primary user of the two southernmost softball fields and will work with the Germantown Municipal School District (GMSD) on a regular basis to schedule and plan for recreational programs provided and sponsored by the City. The City shall have priority over GMSD on these two fields and shall have full access to the concession/restroom building and related parking areas. The City will provide trash services for the southernmost softball fields and be responsible for regular maintenance, upkeep, repairs and lighting while the fields are in their current state.  

If the parcel is redeveloped by GMSD before the City has constructed separate softball facilities elsewhere, the reconfiguration, once completed, will include shared space for primary softball fields within the design of the new athletic field complex. Until the City has completed the construction of separate softball facilities elsewhere, the City will continue to have primary use of these softball fields. Once the fields are reconfigured and operational, GMSD will assume all responsibilities for trash, maintenance, upkeep, repairs and lighting for the new athletic field space.        

The City will have secondary use of the third softball field (the home field for HHS softball) and will work with GMSD to schedule its use accordingly. The City will also have secondary use of the batting cages.  All maintenance responsibilities for the third softball field and batting cages are the responsibility of GMSD.  

This agreement shall continue for a period of ten (10) years from the date of this agreement, or until the City has acquired and built separate softball facilities elsewhere suitable for its recreation needs and purposes, whichever is to occur first.    

For the avoidance of doubt, language is included stating that the City shall leave existing landscaping and tree buffers adjacent to any residential neighborhood on the parcel behind Forest Hill Elementary.
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