High-Rise Development Overview

This page is dedicated to raising awareness of issues surrounding the proposed high-rise development in Kingwood’s floodplain and floodway.

Where It Started

The Army Corps’ Public Notice, contains a good description, maps and plans of the proposed development. It contains multiple high rises in the 25 to 50 story range.

Developer’s Vision

This link contains conceptual drawings by the architect.

YouTube offers several videos of the project also.

An article in SwampPlot contains a good description of it.

Community Concerns

This post contains a discussion of how the Army Corps and TCEQ will decide whether to approve the permits.

The developers plan to build the high-rises in an old meander of the San Jacinto West Fork. Harris County Flood Control found during Harvey that locating development in old stream beds typically leads to flooding.

The developers also plan to build the high rises with underground parking even though they are just a few feet from the floodway which carried 250,000 CFS during Harvey.

The Romerica Group’s American Vision company is seeking to raise money from foreign investors to help fund this project though EB-5 visas. Those who wish to learn about the EB-5 visas can see find more information on this US Government web site.

The high-rise development would wrap around the Barrington, fill in wetlands (which would be mitigated elsewhere), block natural drainage features, and add 12 feet of fill to the flood plain. The engineering studies were completed before Harvey and are based on old data and flood maps that are no longer valid.

NOAA and USGS are revising all the flood maps. The area now considered floodplain (where they plan to build many of the high rises) could soon be reclassified as floodway.

River Grove Park (shown above) has seen a 12X increase in the frequency of flooding since Harvey. Instead of flooding once every other year as it did, on average, for the previous 80 years, River Grove flooded six times in one twelve month period starting in February of 2018. Three of those floods happened in one 12-month period starting in December of 2018. The proposed high-rise marina resort is immediately adjacent to River Grove Park.

Deadline for filing objections Extended to March 1, 2019

If the Corps and TCEQ receive no objections, they will assume that the community supports the development. To file objections, write or email to:

US Army Corps of Engineers

Comments and requests for additional information should reference USACE file number, SWG-2016-00384, and should be submitted to:

Evaluation Branch, North Unit
Regulatory Division, CESWG-RD-E
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 1229
Galveston, Texas 77553-1229
409-766-3869 Phone
409-766-6301 Fax
swg_public_notice@usace.army.mil

TCEQ

Comments can be sent to the Corps (which will forward them) or to our certification email box at 401certs@tceq.texas.gov.  Please ensure that all comments reference USACE permit application no. SWG-2016-00384.

Sample Letters for Adaptation

Several sample letters from various sources are posted at right. Feel free to cut and paste from them if they capture your concerns. You may also copy an entire letter and put your own name on it.

Photos by Emily Murphy For Illustrating Letters

Kingwood photographer Emily Murphy often canoes the river. The images opposite belong to her. She has kindly shared them with the community. Please feel free to use them or any other images that you see in this web site to help illustrate your letters to the Army Corps and TCEQ. She took all of these images within a short distance of the proposed high-rise development.

Summary of Community Meeting
and How to Focus Comments

Here is a text-based summary of the presentation given at the community center that describes how the Corps and TCEQ will evaluate permits and how to focus your comments for maximum impact.

Two-page flier that summarizes the issues and who to contact about concerns you have. Thanks to Rebecca Rucka for compiling this! Print it out for your neighbors.

Sample Letters

In responding to the Army Corps’ and TCEQ’s requests for public comments, please feel free to adapt any of the following letter in whole or in part. Don’t forget to request a PUBLIC HEARING.

Groups

Galveston Bay Foundation An in-depth look at problems with the high-rise proposal by one of the most influential environmental groups in the region. They raise very compelling objections to the project.

Kingwood Lakes – Threatens legal action over drainage and deed restriction issues.

Kingwood Service Association (KSA) – Represents more than 30 community associations and approximately 70,000 people. This letter is an excellent overview of many different concerns  that both the Army Corps and TCEQ should address. KSA also voted to request a public meeting with the developer and a public hearing with the Corps.

Sierra Club Letter – 3000 words, very technical, includes content for both Corps and TCEQ.

Lake Houston Area Grass Roots Flood Prevention Initiative Letter requesting a public hearing.

Barrington Letter – by the community association most affected.

Trailwood Letter – by an adjacent community association that also had many flooded homes.

Individuals

Aldridge Letter – from a very knowledgeable Forest Cove resident who works in construction litigation.

Blackburn Letter – from a Barrington resident

Coulter Letter – by a City planner

Eisenach Letter – by a project manager familiar with Corps permit requirements for building in floodplains

Kissling, Garfield Letter – technical perspective from two top geologists, recently retired from one of the world’s largest oil companies.

Rehak Letter (PDF) – Website host’s take on this whole controversy. 40 pages long and filled with hyperlinks that help document points. To download a Word Doc that you can customize and email, click here. Remember to put your name and contact info on the first page and your name on the last.

Teague Letter – by someone who worked at the EPA for almost three decades.

Vogl Letter – by the Barrington’s KSA rep

See Related Blog Posts
And Photos