Planning Houston's Future Online

If you're wondering how decisions are made for the city of Houston — you can now explore Houston's general plan online. As Laurie Johnson reports, the city launched a new website that aggregates the various plans and regulations.
If you've ever wondered what the tree and shrub requirements are for new construction, you can now find out on the City of Houston's General Plan web page.

It covers everything from that shrubbery ordinance to annexation, capital improvement and emergency management.

Houston Mayor Bill White says there aren't any new mandates in the plan. It's just a way to make the information accessible.

"There's a lot of citizens who have encouraged us to do more planning, more thinking ahead. And some of these plans are constantly being revised. So this is a way where we can keep citizens informed. Citizens can get information and drill down into the individual plans which are digitized. It helps them see what's going on and what may affect their neighborhood."

Council member Peter Brown, who is known at City Hall for saying we need a plan, says the website serves as a level of accountability to taxpayers.

"It's the ultimate in transparent government, because you can hold the plan up and you can say to the citizens thank you for your tax money and you want to why we're spending it and where we're spending it and how we're spending it. It's based on the vision and the goals and the policies that are stated in this plan."

There is a lot of helpful information on the website. There is also an absence of information. If you want to learn more about the city's plan for mobility, you're out of luck. That plan hasn't been developed yet.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...