I heard this weekend that the Lake Highlands Public Improvement District has been approved. (EDITOR’S NOTE 4.29.08: THE PID HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE CITY BUT INSTEAD HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE CITY FOR APPROVAL, WHICH IS NOT EXPECTED TO OCCUR UNTIL LATER THIS YEAR, AT THE EARLIEST.) We touched on the district briefly in our April cover story; it basically stretches along Skillman from Northwest Highway to LBJ (see map), and properties within its boundaries will have an "additional assessment," pretty much an extra tax, on their property values. Those funds will go toward improvements in the district, both beautification and security.

Prescott Realty, which is developing the Lake Highlands Town Center, initiated the PID, and probably has the most to gain from its creation.

Prescott redrew the PID boundaries in early March after having some business owners and condominium complexes originally included in the district express opposition to the project. Target and Home Depot just north of Northwest Highway on Skillman were two of the biggest "no’s," Prescott executive Stephanie Colovas said, and other properties further north on Skillman near LBJ also had trouble with how the PID would benefit them.

The district as it stands is roughly 575 acres with an assessed value of more than $200 million. Eventually, Prescott estimates that its properties will increase in worth from $25 million to $470 million. The assessment will begin in 2009.