FALSE STATEMENT: We need to incorporate to avoid becoming part of Houston or Conroe:
Short Answer: Houston and Conroe cannot annex us against our will. We are protected by contract until 2057 and thereafter by Texas law. No matter how often annexation is used to scare our residents, it just is no longer a threat.
Background: Houston’s 1996 annexation of Kingwood caught them by surprise and scared many in The Woodlands. Our former leaders negotiated a moratorium on annexation and then later, in 2007, entered into agreements with Houston and Conroe (Regional Participation Agreement or RPA) to defer annexation authority for 50 years. There is still 36 years left on those RPA agreements and we cannot be annexed per the RPAs though November 2057. In 2017, led by the Texas Representative (Huberty) from Kingwood, the Legislature banned forced annexations in all counties with a population greater than 500,000, including Harris County and Montgomery County. In 2019, the Legislature banned forced annexation for all other counties, thus there can be no annexation in Texas unless the voters approve the annexation. There is no threat of annexation. We cannot be annexed unless we agree to be annexed. See TheWoodlandsIncorporationFacts.com for many source documents including Rep. Huberty’s letter expressing his belief that TW cannot be forcibly annexed.
Why is there so much confusion around this issue? Simply, it benefits the anti-Township folks.
- Instead of rejoicing that forced annexation of the Woodlands was outlawed in 2017, the Board leadership hid it and even started the September 25, 2018 Town Hall meeting with a large photo of Kingwood residents protesting annexation. There was no mention of the 2017 Legislation by the Board, even though annexation was the initial reason to enter into the RPAs and explore incorporation.
- The first known public mention was at 6:15 of Public Comments at the 1/23/19 Board Meeting by longtime resident Belton Byrd. He asked about the 2017 state law eliminating the annexation threat. At 7:12, Chairman Bunch said “we” don’t believe that applies to us.
- The next month, the Board-retained attorney admitted that the 2017 law eliminated unilateral (forced) annexation by Houston and Conroe and cited his 2/22/18 Memo to the Board stating so. The Board knew of this law a year before Mr. Byrd posed his question. Then, most likely at Board request, Mr. Akers strained to find a reason why the law would not apply in 2057. He presents “an argument” that the contract nullifies state law at the conclusion of the contract and “possibly even that” the RPAs could be construed to mean that The Woodlands consented to annexation at the conclusion of the contract – even though the contract is silent on these points. Why on earth would they advance unlikely and ridiculous claims that favor Houston and Conroe? Why would they refuse to acknowledge the 2017 law? Why do they continue to withhold the 2/22/18 Memo? You know why.
- The Board leadership often does not correct people when they cite annexation as a reason to incorporate now. The ridiculous reliance on the most recent argument that “the laws might change” ignores the fact that we are 100% protected until 2057. The 2017 law protects us after 2057.
- The Township continues to ignore the 2017 legislation outlawing forced annexation. In the 2 most recent Woodlands Magazine articles on Incorporation (History and Public Education), annexation is mentioned 19 times and the ban of forced annexation is never once mentioned. They also mention a “fear” of annexation. No wonder residents believe that annexation is a threat.
There is NO threat for 36 years and, based on the consensus of two Legislatures, no threat thereafter.