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Residents Discuss Pros And Cons Of Proposed Montrose TIRZ

Houston’s Montrose neighborhood could get a special tax reinvestment zone to help improve its infrastructure.

About 75 residents attended a meeting — hosted by City Council member Ellen Cohen — to discuss Montrose’s proposed tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ.

That’s when the City Council dedicates a portion of the property taxes for use exclusively in an area to improve the infrastructure.

Last year, residents protested when the city proposed including Montrose in the Midtown TIRZ. They cited a lack of transparency and said they weren’t given enough time to provide input.

The Houston City Council then referred the proposal back to the mayor.

At the urging of residents, the city has been looking into creating a separate TIRZ for Montrose.

At Thursday’s town hall meeting, more than a dozen residents took the opportunity to comment, and some expressed passionate opposition.

“You’re shoving this down our throat,” one speaker said. “We’re not getting to vote. This is an (abomination).”

When asked for a show of hands, supporters and opponents were about even.

David Arpin doesn’t dispute that a TIRZ can help improve an area’s infrastructure. But he has a problem with the governing board and its appointed directors.

“It’s just that, why should we be diverting that to a private government entity?” he asked.

Council member Cohen says she respects the opponents.

 “I thought the meeting was terrific,” she said.

Cohen believes a majority of Montrose residents support a TIRZ.

“I think that a lot of the people that are very much in favor of the TIRZ expressed their enthusiasm through their civic clubs,” she said.  “And their representatives are here.”

One of them is Stephen Longmire, who presides over a Montrose civic club. He hopes the TIRZ will circumvent some of the bureaucracy involved with fixing bad streets.

“So if the rules of this game are that if you have a TIRZ, you can get money and you can get your streets built, then let’s have a TIRZ and do it,” Longmire said.  

A public hearing is set for next Wednesday’s city council meeting, and a vote could take place Dec. 2.

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Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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