THE ENTIRE CITY COUNCIL MEETING VIDEO IS BELOW
Plum Grove is located East of Splendora just inside the Liberty County line. In the 2000 census, there were 284 households. The city sits 95 feet above sea level and the East Fork of the San Jacinto River borders the west side of the city limits. It was a small quiet community where most of the residents had been there most of their entire lives.
Several timber companies owned hundreds of acres around it and were a deer hunters paradise. In 2012 a man named Dennis Rogers went for a walk and never returned. For weeks volunteers searched the woods, Most of the time on 4-wheelers or in deep mud and water walking those woods. Rogers was never found. In recent years a Houston Developer came in and started building subdivisions. At present, it is estimated to have close to 10,000 families living there with thousands more purchasing land and moving in daily. The developer forced Plum Grove to back their city limits up several years ago as the city, with no tax base at the time had no means for a legal battle. The subdivisions started coming in, Grand San Jacinto, Montebello, Camino Real, Rancho San Jacinto, and Bella Vista. The main road going into Plum Grove was a winding and narrow asphalt road. The road connected FM 1010 which was the main artery from Cleveland and Huffman-Cleveland Road which originated at FM 2100 in Harris County. In addition on the very south end, SH 99 goes over FM 1010.The subdivisions started popping up in late 2014, the land was clear cut of thousands of trees. The developer Trey Harris built concrete roads in the subdivisions but never made any upgrades to the access roads. The cost to improve the access roads was astronomical, the city at the time without a tax base had and interlocal agreement with Liberty County to foot half the bill. Liberty County never came through. When Hurricane Harvey hit the bridge on Plum Grove Road was washed out. To this date, it ha not been repaired. A concrete wall blocks traffic from entering the area of the bridge.
Hundreds of cars traveled that road daily going to the new subdivisions. The road had never been upgraded to handle the heavy loads of traffic let alone the construction equipment, concrete trucks, and dump trucks. Late last summer after the City Council denied a permit for the developer to build another road known as County Road 5000. This was due to no engineering studies or evaluations. The new road was built anyhow and on December 24, 2019, a day Council Members saw no attorneys or courts were available, the road was opened. Since that time the area has turned to a traffic nightmare. In addition, the road is marked with a private sign on each end and no trespassing without the written consent of the owner. Last week the owner cut off access to a property owner that adjoins the road by removing the culvert pipes. Law Enforcement was called, but the developer removed them anyhow.
With growth comes the need for schools in which Cleveland ISD has already built one, stores, restaurants, and other businesses. With schools comes bus traffic and student traffic. With the new school, several busses need to be brought in. The issue now is that the new road comes in very close to where FM 2090 and FM 1010 meet Plum Grove Road. Going onto the new road or coming off the new road vehicles at times must wait due to the condition of the intersection.
In the early morning and late afternoon hours, the traffic backs up onto FM 1010/FM 2090. The highway intersection is in a blind curve. Several crashes have already happened as vehicle are stuck in line going onto Plum Grove Road large trucks and other vehicles come around the curve at highway speed. With no time to stop the result is a crash. The City Council worries this could be one of the long thirty-some busses which may be at that point as a truck rounds the corner. At last night’s city council meeting Don Enloe was authorized to purchase ten loads of rock to try to repair some of the potholes in the roadway and attempt to fix an area of the road which is washing out. At that point, a school bus could easily roll over and drop into the ravine.
The subdivisions are not like most would think of a subdivision. It is broken in lots, there is a property owners association in some of them which partially funds contract law enforcement from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. Ambulance service is almost unheard of as there are approximately four ambulances for the entire county. The Plum Grove Fire Department, which is 100% Volunteer sits at the intersection of FM 1010 and FM 2090. They also have issues getting in and out of the station with the traffic and the curves. In addition it there is a crash at th intersection, the road is usually blocked with fire trucks. Motorists totally ignore it and drive across the grass of the fire station to go around. The city council has decided to place boulders along the road preventing traffic across the Fire Department grass.
After much public debate Monday night the City Council decided on the following measures.
Close County Road 5000 (the one deemed illegal) This will be done with a gate which will be monitored with security cameras.
Close County Road 3479 From 347 South (also known as Paul Campbell Loop)
Close 347 North at County Road 5017
No Turn Signs will be installed on FM 1010 and FM 2090 which will stop cross-traffic from being involved in a crash. Northbound on Plum Grove you will not be able to turn left at 1010 to go back to Splendora
South on FM 1010, you will not be able to turn left the cut thru
Cut thru you cannot turn right to go to Cleveland.
Stop signs are also being ordered for those intersections.
They also decided to start accepting bids to clear and redo the bridge that was washed out. Those monies have finally been allocated by the Federal Government.