Cape Conroe Property Owners Association:
The Cape Conroe Property Owners Association is a Texas non-profit corporation established as a property owners association to provide services and amenities, collect annual assessments, enforce the terms of the CCPOA Covenants and perform such other duties as may be permitted by the terms of the Articles of Incorporation or By-Laws of the CCPOA or the CCPOA Covenant.
The Cape Conroe Story
Written by Ken Jost (2006),
The Cape Conroe story is so unique, it needs to be preserved. I will attempt to do that having been a Cape Conroe property owner since the beginning of time, before there was water in Lake Conroe. What makes Cape Conroe so unusual? The high quality people that lived and do live here, and a dedicated Property Owners Association, an active Ladies Society, a newly organized Mens Club. And we have other important assets, a Club House for social and business functions, a Picnic and Playground Area, a Swimming Pool, a Boat dock, and a big plus, a municipality with an excellent high quality drinking water supply and waste water disposal system.
Cape Conroe, (hereafter C.C) came into being April 28, 1972 when the developers filed an engineering drawing of section I at Montgomery County Court House. This drawing shows that Section I covered 109 acres, divided into 398 lots with roadways, and had 15 acres of reserve areas. Four months later, September 1, 1972, the same type drawing for Section II was filed. It covered 150 acres, 606 lots, and 23 acres of reserve areas. The enclosures show both Sections.
Why was C.C. developed in two sections? My research brings nothing definitive. Perhaps it was for financial and or engineering reasons. In the early days of Section I, I recall that the developers used the Club House as a sales office. On weekends, prospective property owners were invited to come, browse the area, and enjoy complimentary food and beverages. As time progressed, the developers moved their sales office from the Club House into Section II and into a mobile unit located on the right side of Old River Road when coming from Hy105.
There was a proposed Section III which did not materialize because the developers reportedly experienced property acquisition problems. The Cliffs, a prestigious subdivision, developed in the 1990’s is now located where Section III was proposed.
Who were the developers? Hubert H. Vestal, president, and Charles G. Johnson, secretary of Test-Vest Land Development Incorporated, in partnership with Cape Conroe Limited. There were others such as James Bailey who manned Cape Conroe Limited’s office on Rankin Road, Houston, Texas.
C.C. and many other subdivisions resulted when a dam was being built on San Jacinto River, a major river that flows through Montgomery County. Purchase of land, the design and construction of the dam, started in January, 1970. It was completed and filled in late 1973 and named Lake Conroe. In 1972, when C.C. came into being, the only other subdivisions undergoing development west of the Lake were April Sound, Harbor Point, and Walden. All were considered retirement type communities. What is now a four and six lane highway, HWY105, was a two lane country farm road which linked the small town of Conroe with the little village of Montgomery. Montgomery Independent School District’s lone high school was located immediately south of Montgomery on HWY149. The elementary school was west of Montgomery on HWY149. Today, 2006, C.C. is surrounded by many new subdivisions the names of which will be mentioned later.
We live in a rapidly growing community. Currently, there are 650 homes in C.C. Ten years ago, there were 251, and 20 years ago less than a 100.
Lake Conroe is 21 miles long, five miles across at its widest, has an average depth of 20 feet, covers 22,000 acres, and contains 140 billion gallons of water. The City of Houston owns two-thirds of Lake Conroe. The remaining third is owned by San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), a governmental entity, which operates and regulates the flow of water from the dam, down the river, and into Lake Houston, The City of Houston uses both, surface water from Lake Houston and underground (well) water for utility purposes.
The engineering firm, employed by the developers of C.C. was Leonard Shoemaker and Associates. A primary associate was Alberto Gutierrez. The firm was responsible for the design of C.C. Also, the firm recommended to the developers that a Municipal Utility District (MUD), a governmental entity, be designed and organized. Its function was to supply potable ground water (from wells), and a waste water disposal system. Through the efforts of both, the firm and the developer, this was accomplished. It was named Stanley Lake Municipal Utility District (SLMUD). Today, we as residents of C.C. and surrounding subdivisions are fortunate to have one of the best MUDs in Texas. Why? Because the District has always had, and continues to have, a dedicated governing board made up of local residents who employ professional consultants who likewise are committed to the well being of our community.
If memory serves me correctly, a legal requirement in the formation of a MUD was that two property owners who lived in C.C. had to be involved. I think one resident resided in the Lazy Lane cul-de-sac area and the other on Cape Conroe Drive near the C.C. entrance from HWY105. Property owners who served on the first SLMUD board were: Auddy Austin, David Eggenberger, Bertram Spencer, Frank Steele, and Charlene Wright.
Why the name Stanley? Conceivably, Stanley was the name of the person who owned the land before it became C.C. There was a small pond used as a stock tank for cattle in the area. That small pond is still there in Section I; we know it as “Stanley Lake”. Except for name, it has no connection or relationship with the SLMUD. In the formation of C.C. the stock tank, now Stanley Lake, remained to serve as a designated drainage area.
Today, SLMUD serves not only C.C. and Harbor Point as it did in the beginning, but many surrounding communities. On the east side along Old River Road, it serves Strawberry Lane Estates, Riverside Pointe, the Cliffs, Harbor point, South Shores, and Snug Harbor. On the south side of HWY105, it serves Blue Heron Bay. In a westerly direction, approximately four miles along HWY105 to and including Stewart Creek elementary school road, SLMUD serves all entities. Along Walden Road, it serves Wal-Mart to and including Richie’s Pharmacy.
The development of Cape Conroe Property Owners Association (CCPOA) was another major historical event. It was established in the very early C.C. years by those who had purchased lots. My wife and I had purchased tow lots. Since we did not have access to the local Club House, we conducted our monthly and annual meetings in downtown Houston hotels. The Association became official on November 13, 1974 when it filed with The Secretary of State, State of Texas, Articles of Incorporation of Cape Conroe Property Owners Association, Incorporated. CCPOA was now an official organization. Its purpose was to provide constructive civic and social welfare and be the governing body of C.C. CCPOA initial board members were: Bertran Spencer, George H. Wood, H.D. Foitik, T.O. Gaylord, Ken R. Schoenfeld, Charles H. Dearborn, Francis G. Chadick, Harold W. Austin, and Wilbur W. Hurst who served as president.
Another significant event occurred, December 16, 1978. CCPOA, with Ed. D. Redding as its president, purchased reserve 1 block 4 (the Club House) and reserve 6 block 7 (the Boat Dock) from the developers. For these facilities, CCPOA agreed to pay $150,000 over a 20 year period, according to my recall. Also in this agreement, CCPOA assumed responsibility for collecting and managing “maintenance fees” which were $36 per lot per year.
Keeper Meyers, an early and long time CC resident was given the responsibility of maintaining the Club House and Boat Dock and mowing the many undeveloped lots. His wife, Ruth, was given the responsibility of collecting and managing maintenance fees. Both were very dedicated in doing their civic jobs; they made C.C. a desirable place to live.
The maintenance fee process was despised by some property owners; some refused to pay the annual fee. An attorney who lived in C.C. assumed responsibility for filing liens on properties that were delinquent. This greatly improved the overall collection process.
Cape Conroe Ladies Society, organized in the late 1970’s, under the guidance of Vi Steele, has been and continues to be a big contributor to the overall quality of C.C. There are many examples: preparation of the C.C. telephone directory and its many updates, the many bazaars, yard sales, money making functions all for charitable purposes, social functions such as the monthly pot luck dinners at the Club House. Not only did we enjoy excellent food, we learned to know our neighbors. The many functions did much to make C.C. a fun place to live. The Society, in cooperation with CCPOA, conducted events such as “Meet your Candidates”, candidates running for Montgomery Independent School District board positions. Such functions, especially the pot luck dinners became so popular, we outgrew the capacity of the Club House. CCPOA gave serious consideration for building a new larger club house. An architect was employed to design a new larger club house. As time progressed, C.C. began to change from a retirement community to normal working community, the need for a larger club house faded.
In the 1980’s, CCPOA took on a huge project involving the many “reserves” in both Section’s I and II. Except for reserves 1 and 6, the club house and boat dock, all were owned by developer, Cape Conroe Limited. There are about 120 reserves (see enclosed drawing). All were accruing taxes and not sale able. Most are located in back of town house lots and the waters edge of Lake Conroe. In the early 70’s when the developer sold many lots, buyers of inland lots were told they had access to the Lake via the reserves in back of townhouse lots. These reserves would serve as public beaches much like the ocean shore line in Galveston. As time progressed, these reserves were rarely if ever used as such. Taxes were accruing, the reserves had little saleability. Many townhouse lot owners were unaware that they did not own property to Lake Conroe’s water edge. Because of accruing taxes, the developer offered to CCPOA ownership of the reserves if CCPOA paid the taxes. CCPOA accepted the offer except for reserves 4 and 5, the Stanley Lake area.
Why did CCPOA reject acceptance of reserve 4, Stanley Lake? Because it was a designated drainage area. It was the opinion of CCPOA that reserve 4 would never be sold to a private individual because it was a drainage area. Also, sale of delinquent property requires the consent of all three taxing entitles, County, School District, and SLMUD. Such would not occur. There was similar debate and discussion about reserve 5; CCPOA rejected acceptance of it.
Essentially all of the other 120 reserves were sold to rightful property owners. Special warranty deeds were prepared by Stuart & Stuart, attorneys and filed at the court house. The sales price of the reserves was in the range of $150 to $200, equal to taxes, attorney and surveyor fees. The project was an amazing success.
Another major CCPOA project was the concrete paving of both the boat dock and club house parking area. When these facilities were purchased from the developer, the parking area was earthen, full of ruts and a big mess when it rained. A C.C. resident, who worked as a contractor, supervised the job at no cost to CCPOA.
The CCPOA continues to be an excellent organization dedicated to our community. Evidence of this is the new swimming pool built in 2006 to replace the old deteriorated pool. The board is composed of nine directors who serve three year terms, and three alternates who serve one year terms. The board supervises committees in charge of: Architecture, Boat Dock and Club House, Community Relations, Deed Restrictions, Insurance, Maintenance, Security, Special Projects, and Swimming pool.
The Mens Club, recently organized, meets the first Saturday of the month at 8:30 am at the Club House for purpose of fellowship and programs involving guest speakers. All men in C.C. are invited and encouraged to attend.
We live in a rapidly growing community. Currently, there are 650 homes in C.C. Ten years ago, there were 251, and 20 years ago less than a 100. Will this growth continue? It may even accelerate considering the new areas north of Montgomery, where new roads, Buffalo Springs, and Stewart Drive have been installed to serve new residential areas.
Is it possible that the City of Conroe might annex C.C. and other subdivisions in this area? Possibly! The City of Conroe, early 2000, annexed a one foot wide strip alongside Highway 105 west, past C.C. and the along Walden Rd and to Del Lago. The Exxon station at the corner of HWY105 and Walden road is in the City of Conroe, so is half of Wal-Marts property (the other half is in SLMUD property). The Del Lago hotel-conference center is in the City of Conroe.
History has always been a process of change. Whether we are annexed or not, I feel the quality of Cape Conroe people will continue to make it a great place to live.