HCFCD Closes on First Upstream Detention Property

In 2018, Lake Houston area leaders identified a three-pronged strategy to help mitigate flooding. They dubbed it the “Plea for DDG.” Additional dredging, detention, and gates. Since then, dredging and gates have garnered the most media attention. Yesterday, however, we received some good news regarding additional upstream detention.

HCFCD Buys First Part of Raveneaux Club

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) closed on the purchase of the Raveneaux Country Club on January 30, 2020.  The final purchase price for 27.63 acres of land was $11,496,427.20 which is also the current appraised value for the property.

Cypress Creek runs through the Raveneaux Club before joining Spring Creek and the West Fork of the San Jacinto upstream from Lake Houston.

The final deal includes a leaseback allowing the Country Club to continue operating for up to one year.

The Flood Control District will begin discussions with the Cypress Forest Public Utility District in February regarding an agreement to acquire the remaining 206 acres that primarily make up the golf course. HCFCD intends to use the land for a future flood risk reduction project in the Cypress Creek watershed.

Benefit to Cypress Creek AND Lake Houston Area

That project could help the Champion Forest area where hundreds of homes flooded during Harvey and other recent storms. It could also help the Lake Houston Area. By reducing and delaying floodwaters coming down Cypress and Spring Creeks, it could help offset releases from the Lake Conroe Dam.

Funding for Acquisition

Funding for the Raveneaux acquisition will come from the 2018 HCFCD Bond. See Project F-20 Cypress Creek Right-of-Way Acquisition and Floodplain Preservation.

Community Input Sessions Planned

The Flood Control District realizes that community interest in this matter is very high. At this time, project specifics have not been determined. The Flood Control District will have community engagement meetings to solicit input and ideas about the future project.

Some feel the loss of the Club could adversely impact surrounding home values. However, the Club had reportedly been losing close to a million dollars per year for several years and was no longer financially viable.

In a special web page devoted to the acquisition, HCFCD says it cannot predict how property values will change as a result of this proposed project. However, HCFCD “knows that properties with a lower risk of flooding have a higher value than properties with a high risk of flooding.”

First Part of a Larger Solution

It is unlikely that HCFCD will find one undeveloped tract of land large enough to reduce flooding in the Lake Houston Area by itself. Acquiring a combination of smaller tracts such as Raveneaux will likely be necessary. Yesterday, HCFCD took the first step toward a larger solution.

For more details as they become available, see: https://www.hcfcd.org/Find-Your-Watershed/Cypress-Creek/Raveneaux-Acquisition-Information

Posted by Bob Rehak on January 31, 2020

885 Days since Hurricane Harvey