Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin issued a press release today that provided additional details about the potential Harris County/City purchase of Woodridge Village.
Unanimous County Vote For Earnest Money Contract
As reported Tuesday evening, Harris County Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously to authorize the Harris County Real Property Division to negotiate an earnest money contract with Figure Four Partners, LTD. The purchase includes two tracts of land containing 267.35 acres located in Montgomery County, which could become the Woodridge Village Stormwater Basin.
The purchase price of $14,019,316.00 is about $5 million below the appraised value of the land. Martin thanks Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack, and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle for their support.
TWDB Loan Application
Said Martin, “This is the first crucial step in completing an inter-local agreement between the City of Houston and Harris County to purchase Woodridge Village.” This vote, coupled with the upcoming announcement from the Texas Water Development Board of the City’s eligibility to apply for a 0% interest loan to help develop the Woodridge Village project, will help reduce future flooding in Kingwood and the Lake Houston region.”
During May of 2019, as well as Tropical Storm Imelda almost exactly a year ago, Woodridge Village contributed to flooding and heavy sediment deposited in much of northern Kingwood. Mayor Pro Tem Martin called for the immediate stoppage of the planned development and sale of this site.
Martin says he is happy to see the execution of the earnest money contract. It will lock in the purchase price for 120 days. The purchase of the property is contingent upon Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) entering in to an interlocal agreement with the City of Houston within 120 days of signing the earnest money contract.
Last week, the City of Houston Public Works Director, Carol Haddock, submitted a letter of intent to the HCFCD Executive Director, Russ Poppe. It acknowledges the commitment by both parties, City and County, to execute a binding inter-local agreement no later than December 31, 2020.
“A binding agreement for the proposed transaction can only be evidenced by HCFCD executing a finalized inter-local agreement which will need the approval of Houston City Council” said Martin. Martin also said he “is committed to working with every council office to gain their support of this interlocal agreement, as mutual support of projects to reduce future flooding citywide are key to a successful resiliency plan.”
Consolidation of Three Wastewater Treatment Plants on Woodridge Property
“Additionally, the City has identified a need for approximately 73 acres of the total site to serve as the location for a regional wastewater treatment plant,” says Martin. “This would facilitate consolidation of three wastewater treatment plants in the Kingwood Area.”
Two of these three plants were significantly impacted by flooding during Hurricane Harvey.
The City would contribute cash for the portion of the site that would house the new wastewater treatment facility.
Land in Lieu of Cash for Floodwater Detention Portion of Property
For the floodwater-detention portion of the property, the City would contribute land in lieu of cash for Harris County Flood Control District flood-risk-reduction projects.
Construction Funding Details Still to Be Worked Out
Once purchased, the City and District will work together to find additional funding to construct additional stormwater detention on the site to maximize downstream benefits. The Perry Homes/Figure Four Partners property only contains enough detention capacity at the moment to handle about 60% of Atlas 14 requirements. Atlas 14 is NOAA’s attempt to update rainfall precipitation frequency statistics. The need for the update became apparent after four so-called 500-year rains in five years (Tax Day, Memorial Day, Harvey, Imelda).
The City has recently submitted an abridged application to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for a $30 million grant/loan to fund a flood-damage-reduction project on Taylor Gully.
TWDB manages the capital Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) created by the 86th legislature in 2019, thanks to Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton and Texas State Representative Dan Huberty. The legislature mutually seeded the FIF program with approximately $790 M, the state has received applications requesting over $2.3 billion to date. Staff recommendations for applications to advance to the formal comprehensive application submittal phase are pending.
“Ultimately, approval of this earnest money contract is a huge win for the City of Houston and Kingwood residents,” said Martin. “We hope to have more good news once the city has completed its application to the Texas Water Development Board for improvements to Taylor Gully, which will happen later this year.”
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/17/2020
1115 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 364 since Imelda