Kingwood is a 14,000-acre (57 km 2 ) master-planned community located in northeast Houston, Texas, United States. The majority of the community is located in Harris County with a small portion in Montgomery County. Known as the "Livable Forest," it is the largest master-planned community in Harris County and second-largest within the 10-county Houston-The Woodlands Sugar Land metropolitan area. It was classified as a "census-designated place" during the 1990 census, when the population recorded was 37,397.
Kingwood was created in 1971 as a joint venture between the Friendswood Development Company and King Ranch. 1S1 Its name was derived as part of that partnership.
The Foster Lumber Company originally owned a portion of the tract of land that was later developed into the community of Kingwood. The Foster Family had owned the land since around 1892. On December 28, 1967, the land was sold to the joint venture between King Ranch and the Friendswood Development Company, an Exxon subsidiary. Exxon's Friendswood Development Company hired John Bruton Jr. to serve as the Operations Manager in which he was responsible for the planning, development, engineering, and construction of Kingwood . Plans for the community included greenbelts, shopping centers, schools, churches, recreational facilities, riding and hiking trails, and a boat ramp with access to Lake Houston.
The City of Houston annexed portions of what would become Kingwood in the 1960s, but it dis-
annexed those portions by the late 1970s, making them unincorporated.
Kingwood was founded in 1970, and the first village opened in 1971. Since the opening, the community had the slogan "The Livable Forest." In 1976 Kingwood had a few thousand residents] Between 1980 and 1990 the community's population increased between 40 percent and 70 percent . In 1990 the community had 19,443 residents and 204 businesses. The population increased to 37,397 in 1992. In 2005 the population was roughly 65,000, and had almost 200,000 people living within a ten-mile (16 km) radius.
In 1994, the City of Houston began the process to annex Kingwood. According to Texas state law, a home-rule city may annex an unincorporated area, without the consent of the residents, if the area is within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Bob Lanier, then the Mayor of Houston, believed that the annexation of Kingwood would result in a $4 million annual gain for the City of Houston. Lanier argued that the city needed to bring in Kingwood to add more to its tax base. On Wednesday August 21, 1996, the Houston City Council asked the Planning and Development Department to create service plans for Kingwood and Jacintoport, another area being annexed by Houston. The annexation of Kingwood and Jacintoport increased the city's population by about 43,000 people. The annexation meant that areas de-annexed by the city in the 1970s were being re-annexed.
Renée C. Lee of the Houston Chronicle said that Kingwood residents 'fought an uphill battle [against annexation] for two years." Kingwood residents offered to pay $4 million to the city in exchange for not being annexed. The residents also filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Houston, claiming that the city was taxing residents without representation. At the time, many residents believed that the City of Houston would not follow through on the state law requirement asking annexing cities to provide equal services to the annexed areas as they do to their original territory. Some residents did not like the idea of the city annexing their community without the community's consent.
Houston annexed Kingwood in 1996, adding about 15,000 acres (6, 100 ha) to the city limits. During that year, Thomas Phillips, a retired longshoreman and Bordersville resident, joined with representatives of Kingwood and sued the City of Houston in federal court arguing that the city could not legally annex areas if it did not provide certain services to some of its existing areas, including Bordersville which never had city water. Imad F. Abdullah, the President of Landmark Architects Inc., criticized the residents who fought annexation in his 1996 editorial in the Houston Business Journal, arguing that a "not in my backyard" mentality in particular communities overall negatively effects the entire metropolitan area.
Kingwood lobbied the Texas Legislature, asking for modifications to the state's annexation laws. In 1999 the legislature successfully passed amendments requiring annexing municipalities to develop plans for services provided to communities being annexed, and municipalities are required to provide a three-year planning period prior to official annexation to allow for public comment. The modified law allows for communities to use arbitration if the annexing cities fail to follow through with their service plans. The amendments do not affect prior annexations, including Kingwood's annexation. Some Kingwood residents expressed satisfaction that other suburban unincorporated areas including The Woodlands would not undergo the annexation that occurred in Kingwood.
A 1999 series of robberies were perpetrated by four teenage girls from Kingwood. The film
Sugar & Spice was loosely based on the incidents.
In 2006, Kingwood had over 65,000 residents. During that year, ten years after the annexation, Lee said that "anger and resentment that colored the early days of annexation" never dissipated and that most Kingwood residents "have settled in as Houstonians, but who still opposed annexation." Lee said that while residents sometimes complain about high rates for sewer and water services and obvious inadequacies in the fire and EMS services, those residents believe that Kingwood "has greatly suffered from being a part of the city. " Lee says that most residents "will never come to terms with Houston's hostile takeover." Lee said that "Services have deteriorated, and the community has lost its identity as a suburban haven as most people had feared" and "Many residents believe the community has not maintained its identity as the Livable Forest.
As of 1999, about 90% of children raised in Kingwood attended colleges and universities. Kingwood pupils residing in Harris County attend the Humble Independent School District.
Kingwood High School and Kingwood Park High School serve the area. All students enrolled in Humble Independent School District also have the option to attend Quest High School, a magnet high school in Atascocita.
Students residing in Montgomery County attend the New Caney Independent School District.Residents of that portion attend Porter High School. P9J Before the opening of Porter High School in 2010, students attended New Caney High School. A small portion of North Woodland Hills, as well as the Kings Manor and Oakhurst developments, are located in Montgomery County.
Kingwood is served by three Humble ISD middle schools: Kingwood Middle School, Creekwood Middle School and Riverwood Middle School. Kingwood Middle School students are zoned to Kingwood Park High School, while students attending Creekwood and Riverwood are zoned to Kingwood High School.
Middle school students in areas of Kingwood in New Caney ISD attend Woodridge Middle School Sixth graders in New Caney ISD previously attended the New Caney 6th Grade Campus. In addition to the high schools and middle schools, Kingwood is served by nine Humble ISD elementary schools. The elementary schools include:
Foster Elementary, Woodlands Hills Elementary, Deerwood Elementary, Oak Forest Elementary, Willow Creek Elementary, Bear Branch Elementary, Greentree Elementary, Shadow Forest Elementary, and Elm Grove Elementary.
Kings Manor Elementary School serves Kingwood New Caney ISD students. Private schools in Kingwood include Northeast Christian Academy (PreK- 12th).