On Thursday, May 16, I photographed a contractor for a subsidiary of Perry Homes dumping dirt, mulch and sticks in a neighbor’s drainage ditch.
I was investigating flooding around the edges of a new development called Woodridge Village in Montgomery County just north of the Harris County line. The developer, Figure Four Partners (a subsidiary of PSWA and Perry Homes), has hired Rebel Contractors to clear and grade approximately 268 acres of land north of Elm Grove Village in Kingwood.
Hundreds of nearby homes that never flooded before flooded during heavy rains on May 7. It appears that something happened during the clearing and grading to change drainage.
At least four lawyers have discussed filing suits on behalf of neighbors against Figure Four Partners and Rebel Contractors. The Webster and Spurlock law firms alone initially filed suits earlier this week on behalf of approximately 100 plaintiffs and added approximately 80 more by the end of the week. So you would think the defendants would be on their best behavior. But never underestimate the chutzpah of men who drive bulldozers. Here’s what happened.
Though Shalt Not Dump, Especially When Being Sued
After interviewing a Porter flood victim, I was heading north on Webb Street past the entrance to the northern portion of the Woodridge job site, when suddenly, a large piece of earthmoving equipment shot out in front of me. The operator dumped a load of sticks and mulch into the ditch of a neighbor on the far side of the street. My jaw dropped! I grabbed my camera and photographed this sequence while waiting to get through. It shows him scraping mulch into the neighbor’s drainage ditch.
When the operator saw my camera, he backed into the work site and ducked around the corner.
Later that evening, one of the neighbors took the photo below at the same location. It shows that the operator dropped much more mulch into the neighbor’s ditch after I left.
Property Owner Did Not Request Mulch
I returned Friday to talk to the owner of this property who wishes to remain anonymous. He says he did NOT ask the contractor to dump the mulch there, NOR did he give them permission to dump it. They just dumped it.
He theorized that it might be a feeble attempt to repair the road. However, to me, it looked more like an attempt to cover up road damage. But that didn’t work well either. As I photographed the pile the next morning…
By Saturday, Even More Dumping on Neighbor
Link Between Dumping and Street Flooding
During the next big rain, this mulch will likely wash away and block the neighbor’s culvert. When that happens, his property will flood AGAIN…on what will probably be a smaller rain.
The homeowner said that the contractor had “assured him” that they would fix the street before they left. However, he also assured me that they had not given him anything in writing.
You Can’t Put Lipstick on Bulldozers
In the meantime, Perry Homes (whose subsidiaries own this property and hired the contractor) has reportedly brought in a high-powered PR team to help shore up their image on this project, Jim McGrath and Chris Begala. Begala and McGrath have strong political ties that include former presidents! Interesting that Perry Homes thinks this is a PR problem and not a quality-control problem.
Suggestion: Just Widen Your Driveway
You don’t have to drive or dump on others’ property. You don’t have to destroy a public street. Just widen YOUR driveway. There’s plenty of room. You have 268 acres!
Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/19/2019
628 Days since Hurricane Harvey