The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District announced today that it has withdrawn Romerica’s permit application. Romerica had applied to deposit fill in the floodplain of the San Jacinto River for their proposed high-rise development in Kingwood.
Romerica Could Not Meet Deadline
In a letter dated April 24, SWCA, Romerica’s environmental consultant, requested a “suspension” of the permit application. They said they needed more time to answer issues raised in 727 letters of protest. SWCA also said they would have to conduct additional surveys and field work requiring more than the 30 days allowed for them to respond. The official deadline for filing responses was April 27.
Withdrawal “Without Prejudice”
Instead of suspending the permit, the Corps “withdrew it without prejudice.” The Corps invited SWCA and Romerica to reapply at some future time when they had completed answers to the issues raised by concerned residents and environmental groups.
The Corps’ letter is dated today, April 30. For the full text, click here.
Romerica Not Available for Comment
Leah Howard of Manlove Marketing and Communications, Romerica’s official point of contact for the application, was not available for comment at press time. However, a third party who talked to her earlier in the day said that their team wanted “to do a good and complete job with citizens’ questions, and that 30 days just wasn’t enough time.”
Another third party source quoted her as saying, “Due to Harvey, Romerica will complete several new studies and surveys for due diligence which will shed more light on the larger issue Lake Houston faces. After completion of the necessary work, Romerica and the USACE will reactivate the permit and more information will be provided at that time.”
Issues Still to Be Clarified
It is unclear at this time whether a new application would obligate Romerica to go through an additional public comment period. However the letter sent from the Corps to the developer states, “Resultant project modifications may require additional coordination.”
While many questions remain, today’s letter DOES answer one. Romerica did NOT meet the Corps’ deadline for filing responses to citizen complaints. For a history of the controversy surrounding this development, see the High Rises page.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/30/2019
609 Days since Hurricane Harvey