Cypress Creek Lakes Earns Quality Planned Development Designation from the West Houston Association
West Houston Association Awards First Quality Planned Development designations
The West Houston Association this week will award its first Quality Planned Development designations to five planned residential communities and two commercial projects in west Houston. Receiving the residential awards are Bridgeland, Cinco Ranch, Cross Creek Ranch, Cypress Creek Lakes and Wyndehaven Lake Estates, with CityCentre and The Vintage receiving the commercial awards.
The awards are not simply pats on the back for some of the most highly regarded developments in the Houston area, but rather an attempt to guide the quality of growth in what is Houston's next great boomtown. The West Houston Association expects to see its population double by 2050 from 1.4 million in 2010 to 2.8 million, with an employment base growing from 500,000 in 2010 to more than one million in 2050. That's a lot of growth in a few years, and that's not always a good thing.
Such a significant influx of people can invite pop-up retail, hastily conceived residential and generally ill-planned development that can - not always, but sometimes - result in suburban decay. Through the Quality Planned Development designation, the Association is working proactively to mitigate this possibility by shining a light on the types of responsible development that will not only help establish west Houston as a coveted area, but is actually a pathway to success in the free market.
Association members spent countless hours developing a comprehensive list of standards, including requirements for parks, sidewalks, landscape signage control, architectural guidelines and many other design elements that improve the quality, livability and sustainability of development in west Houston.
The standards have been embraced by our award winners, who are testaments to our free market system. Cinco Ranch is one of the 10 top-selling residential communities in the nation. Bridgeland and Cross Creek Ranch are among the top 20. Even smaller developments, such as Wyndehaven Lake Estates with just 79 homes, have seen the public respond to quality planning, selling out much earlier than projected. Residential developments of all sizes and smaller commercial centers, if done right, can become sustainable assets instead of blighted areas that reduce surrounding property values.
The association encourages the development of mixed-use lifestyle centers and office development in west Houston to provide more jobs, better shopping and enticing destinations for area residents. We know the west Houston area is a desirable place to live and work based on the success of the developments that now thrive in the area.
Our goal is to establish the Quality Planned Development designation as a recognizable brand and seal of approval that will attract compliance on a voluntary basis from the free market to meet the demand that is certain to come in west Houston. The design and implementation of their basic and expanded facilities add quality and aesthetic elements which translate into enhanced near term and long term value for the buyers and the surrounding community.
The Quality Planned Development (QPD) program is an instrument by which the West Houston Association can spotlight higher standards in action. Developments will be asked to apply for the QPD designation and once approved, will receive license to utilize the QPD logo in promotion of their products.
For more information on the Quality Planned Development program or the West Houston Association, visit www.westhouston.org.
Story By Peter Houghton, Chairman of the Board, West Houston Association
Opinion Editorial Appearing in the Houston Chronicle February 17, 2013