Woodridge Problems Still Piling Up for Porter Resident Chris Yates

Photo looking west toward Yates property just out of frame on right. Developer continues to build site up relative to neighbors – before installing drainage. This has created problems for Chris Yates and his neighbors in Porter.

Some more bad news surfaced today for the people whose drainage has been affected by Woodridge Village construction activity. Rebel Contractors has built up the level of Woodridge before installing drainage between Woodridge and neighbors. As a result, water has ponded in Porter yards for months and damaged their property. Then, to add insult to injury, about a week after finally erecting a long-awaited silt fence, Rebel Contractors covered it with dirt.

Woodridge: The Yates Family Curse

Chris Yates, who lives at 25395 Needham Road in Porter, sent me these pictures today. They show how construction activity has affected his property. First up: two BEFORE shots showing his happy family in front of the Woodridge site.

Yates’ daughter Amber in back yard before clearcutting began. Looking east. A small ditch ran through the tree line which forms the property line between Yates and Woodridge. Note the telephone lines at the top of the picture for reference in subsequent photos.
Yates with family in happier times. This was taken after construction began but before water started piling up. Note piles of dirt being stacked up on Woodridge property in background.
After clearcutting and grading of the Woodridge property in the background, water started collecting in Yates’ yard. This rain fell in March and remained there until Friday, May 31, when Yates pumped it out.

Contractor Should Have Maintained Positive Drainage at All Times

Page 6/Point 12 of the Woodridge Village Detention Plan states that, “Contractor shall maintain positive drainage from construction site at all times. Any damage to existing ditch system as the result of the contractor’s activities shall be repaired to existing or better conditions.” Oops! Neighbors up and down the western border of Woodridge have experienced stagnant water. Some have even experienced flooding.

Almost 4 Feet of Standing Water Before Any Drains Away

The Yates back yard on May 7. Their four-foot fence is barely visible in these two shots taken as water built up. It could not drain away according to Yates until the stormwater crested at a high point to the south between his home and Sherwood Trails..
This recent shot shows how the standing water killed Yates’ grass. Silty runoff ponded for two months.
Today, Yates pumped the water out to his street drain. It took him eight hours, pumping at 3,700 gallons per hour. While this kind of damage does not compare to the loss of a home, I’m sharing this story because it seems to illustrate the contractor’s disregard for the problems it causes neighbors.
Yates raises several animals on his property but has had to keep them caged for months because of the standing water.
Detention plans show that developer knew runoff was moving west to east toward development.
Page 12 of the Water, Sanigtary Sewer and Drainage Facilities & Paving Appurtenances Plan shows that developer was expecting to compensate for 10-aces of offside drainage from the Yates neighborhood, but didn’t start installing the storm drains for months, until well after three heavy May rains.
Looking north from Yates back yard along western boundary of Woodridge. Note the standing water between development and neighbors. The Woodridge side of the property (right) was elevated approximately 3 feet before drainage was installed. Photo taken 5/31/2019.
Plans show that this drain should eventually handle water that collects between Yates’ property and Woodridge. Question: Why wasn’t this installed before the Woodridge property was elevated? Said Yates who has years of construction experience, “Drainage is put in by elevation so this could have been put in before building up.” Photo taken 5/31/2019.

More Out-of-Sequence Construction?

Yates, whose father owned a clearing/grading business, worked in the family business when younger and said that on a site like this, they typically installed drainage first thing. The reason: ponding water slows down construction. “Even though it takes time, it saves time,” said Yates. “You can’t work when the site is wet. Construction on this site seems to be out of sequence.”

Yates also said that he had talked to the developer and learned they were six months behind schedule. One can only wonder whether the delayed installation of drainage had anything to do with the construction delays.

This sequencing complaint echoed the concerns of Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest residents. They flooded, in part, because the developer clear cut the entire 268 acres before installing critical detention ponds.

The Silt Fence Saga: Part 2

This and detention ponds were not the only out-of-sequence construction that neighbors have suffered through. Silt fences should have been installed before clear cutting started. Instead, they were put up almost a year later.

Additionally, the developer finally installed silt fences last week. The developer was supposed to install them before clearcutting began. For months, residents complained about sand, silt and clay pouring out of the construction site into streets and storm drains. Then about a week or so ago, after a complaint to the TCEQ triggered an investigation, silt fences finally appeared. Now they are buried under dirt again.

1-2 Week old silt fence … buried under silt. Said Yates, “What’s the point of silt fences if you are piling dirt on top of them an on the other side of them?” Photo taken 5/31/2019.

Chris Yates must feel at this point as though he’s Rodney Dangerfield. “Can’t get no respect.” Let’s hope he and the hundreds of other families affected by Woodridge construction find some before this is all over.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/1/2019 with images courtesy of Chris and Tammy Yates of Porter

641 Days since Hurricane Harvey

All thoughts expressed in this post are my opinions on matters of public policy and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP statute of the Great State of Texas.