Last Christmas, the Army Corps issued a public notice about Romerica Investment’s permit application to build a high rise development in the floodplain and floodway of the San Jacinto West Fork. Almost immediately, people and groups began writing protest letters. By the end of the public comment period, the Army Corps had received 727. That didn’t include letters from other government agencies such as the TCEQ and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Record Number of Protest Letters
The number of protest letters set an Army Corps record. Due to the large number of responses, SWCA, Romerica’s environmental consultant, requested a suspension of the permit. Instead, the Army Corps withdrew the application without prejudice and invited Romerica to resubmit a new application at a later date.
Status: Start Over
SWCA expressed concern about starting the process over again. But according to Janet Botello, because of the large number of comments and the fact that much of the survey work will need to be redone, a new public notice and another public review are almost a certainty.
I finally received a return phone call from Leah Manlove Howard of Manlove Marketing and Communications. Ms. Howard acts as Romerica’s spokesperson. She said that Romerica and its team of consultants were meeting this week to determine whether they wanted to climb that mountain again. I do not yet have an answer to that question.
Full Text of Letters
People familiar with Corps processes tell me that the Corps rarely rejects an application outright. However, regulations can and do occasionally make it so hard to receive approval that applicants give up. Romerica is the fourth or fifth developer to try to develop this land. It has been sold and resold numerous times, but never developed, in part, because of the history of flooding and difficulty of permitting.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/16/2019
626 Days since Hurricane Harvey