Detention Pond Work Continues at Woodridge Village Despite Change in County Purchase Offer
Two days ago, Harris County Commissioner’s voted to heap another demand on the Perry Homes’ Woodridge Village purchase offer. Even though they had already sent a formal offer to Perry last week! Now, before Commissioners cut a check for $14 million to Perry Homes, they want the City of Houston to contribute up to half the construction costs of a regional detention basin, not just half the purchase price of the land. So the City’s costs went from half of $14 million to half of (potentially) $44 million. In other words, they tripled.
Despite the hiccup, however, construction crews at Woodridge Village are back in high gear. After a short rain delay, they continue to excavate all three detention ponds on the northern section.
Martin Provides Text of County’s Original Offer to Perry
Separately, City of Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin sent ReduceFlooding.com the County’s original offer letter on the property dated 5/14/2020. Even though the letter has been superseded by changes made in Commissioner’s Court last Tuesday, it’s interesting to note two provisions in the original purchase offer.
- “If the parties are unable to execute a mutually agreeable earnest money contract within 75 days after the date of this letter then this offer will be considered withdrawn and void.”
- “If this proposed transaction is successful, the City and District (HCFCD) will work together to secure partnership funding from others to include, but not be limited to, the state and federal government in order to build the maximum flood risk reduction benefits at this site.”
The 75-day limit may be ambitious now that the City has to come up with more land (in lieu of cash) – and transfer it to the county before the deal becomes effective. (See below.)
And if other levels of government get involved, such as the State and Federal governments, that could create more delays. It took approximately 950 days to get all levels of government to the point where preliminary engineering could begin on more gates for the Lake Houston Dam. And it will take at least another three years to complete the project, assuming FEMA approves construction.
Conditions Must be Met Before Deal
Time is crucial because Commissioners made it clear Tuesday night that they want to see the City meet conditions on the sale before writing a check. They are not taking the City’s word that the City will fulfill its end of the bargain at some unspecified point in the future. They worry that could take 20 years. This was yet another crucial change in the offer that will require more time.
The County wants the money or land upfront so that it can begin work immediately and limit its potential liability.
Martin Insists Conditions are “No Problem”
Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin insists that the City has no problem with updating drainage and floodplain regulations related to Atlas 14. Nor, he insists, will the City have a problem coming up with land in lieu of cash. However, the City Council has not yet approved either.
“It’s not necessary to take up any issue with this through a City Council vote as there is no Interlocal Agreement to vote on,” says Martin. “Until Harris County Flood Control sends us an Interlocal Agreement to vote on, we don’t take action. We understand HCFC is working on this document as we have daily communication with them.”
Perry Plows Ahead
Meanwhile, Perry contractors continue to excavate detention ponds. Here’s where things stand as of this afternoon.
- N1 Pond – Contractors are excavating in a northerly direction to connect the tail of N1 to the main body of the pond.
- N2 Pond – Contractors continue to expand and deepen it.
- N3 Pond – Contractors are extending it south to where it connects to Taylor Gully. They’re also sloping edges.
In addition, contractors are:
- Lining more of Taylor Gully with concrete
- Getting ready to connect N1 and N2
- Using dirt excavated from ponds to raise other areas.
This afternoon, Perry had approximately two dozen pieces of earth-moving equipment hard at work on the site. Perry has said that if the County and City couldn’t come up with a deal by its May 15th deadline, they would continue to try to sell the property on the private market or finish developing it themselves.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/21/2020 with thanks to Jeff Miller for reporting and photography
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