Port Neches Improvement District work at standstill, still eyeing riverfront development

Published 12:12 am Friday, September 27, 2019

PORT NECHES — Almost two years have passed since the legislative based creation of the Port Neches Improvement District but their job is currently at a standstill.

Governed by a seven-member board of directors, the PNID met this week, more of a housekeeping kind of meeting, approving a budget, investment policy and annual financial report before discussing the board’s role with riverfront development. The last time they met was Oct. 3, 2018.

For now, the role of the PNID is limited because there is no development on the land in the district, located on a 44-acre plot along the Neches River, at this point. The district is a governmental entity with the ability to levy a tax but has not yet done so. But construction resulting in taxable values does not automatically result in the implementation of a property tax, city manager Andre Wimer said.

PNID President Lance Bradley said the district is a tool for the city.

One of the district’s powers is improvements such as road building and bulkheads to banners, signs and sidewalks to infrastructure work to improve storm water, wastewater and water facilities, according to the legislative document that went to create the district.

Wimer said when the district was originally contemplated it was to be used fully as commercial development.

The city worked with two developers who had an eye on commercial development along the river and the city had a letter of understanding with the men for two years as they worked behind-the-scenes to bring a plan to fruition, but last year the LOU expired and the city and the developers parted ways without commercial development.

City council then moved forward to allow there to be a combination of residential and commercial development and that’s when Dinh Nguyen of LLB Construction purchased 31.9 acres of land at the corner of Block Street and Lee Avenue, where he will build high end homes in a new subdivision called Neches River Estates.

Down the road there may be the need for the district but for now there is no job for them.

The land was acquired by the city in 2005 and was previously an abandoned oil refinery, which was demolished and removed by the city, then remediated to residential standards, according to information from the city.