Colony Ridge Developer Invites State Lawmakers To Tour Neighborhood
Bethany Blankley | The Center Square
September 30, 2023
(The Center Square) – In response to numerous claims about a neighborhood located north of Houston, the property developer has invited state lawmakers for a visit.
On Friday, Colony Ridge CEO John Harris sent a letter to all state lawmakers and Attorney General Ken Paxton inviting them to visit the community. He sent a copy of the letter to The Center Square.
The invitation was sent to lawmakers “in response to ongoing false media narratives and false statements being perpetrated by out-of-state media outlets, politicians, and special interest groups.”
These entities have claimed the neighborhood is a “colonia,” an “illegal alien settlement,” a haven for drug cartels and crime, among other accusations. The Republican Party of Texas and others have alleged illegal activity is occurring at Colony Ridge and called on the lawmakers to act. The governor and lieutenant governor have said the legislature would look into allegations about the community.
“In order to refute these false accusations, we are inviting all legislators to tour and visit our community on October 5 at 11 AM. We will provide you a tour of the community, an overview of our operation and allow you to interact with our employees and customers,” Harris said. Legislators are required to RSVP.
The letter also reiterates a claim first reported by The Center Square that the neighborhood is not a “colonia” and the company is in compliance with all laws.
“We have followed the law fully, including: screening all customers for potential terrorism/narcotics trafficking, following anti-discrimination laws, and adhering to all county ordinances, environmental regulations, and Model Subdivision rules,” Harris says.
“Our development is not a ‘colonia.’ Colonias are not legally permitted subdivisions with fully engineered water, sewer, power, and road infrastructure. We do all of the above and describing our community as a colonia is disingenuous. Further, allegations of drug cartel connections to Colony Ridge are preposterous and unfounded.”
He made the invitation after Hispanic Americans spoke out about the allegations, explaining that they moved to Colony Ridge because it was safer than the Houston area where they previously lived. It also comes as local news reports refute allegations about crimes perpetrated attributed to Colony Ridge.
Since Colony Ridge was founded in 2011, Harris’ company has “provided homeownership to thousands, … donated land for new schools including, three trilingual charter schools.
“Our development has added billions in additional tax base to Liberty County. In fact, we’ve provided so much in new tax revenue that Liberty County’s Commissioners’ Court was able to lower its citizens’ tax burden a few weeks ago,” Harris said.