Houston City Council will consider two items Wednesday that could ultimately pave the way for the purchase of Woodridge Village from Perry Homes. Woodridge Village twice contributed to the flooding of hundreds of homes in Kingwood’s Elm Grove Village last year. For more than a year, the City, Harris County Flood Control and Perry Homes’ subsidiary Figure Four Partners, LTD have discussed purchasing the property and turning it into a regional flood-control detention basin.
If successful, the City and HCFCD would work together to reduce the volume of water flowing out of the headwaters of Taylor Gully.
$4 Million in Cash from City Plus Land
The two agenda items are #59 and #65. They call for an interlocal agreement between the City and HCFCD to jointly purchase the property. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, the purchase price would total approximately $14 million. The City would pay approximately $4 million of that in cash. However, in the past, the City has also discussed the contribution of land to make up its 50% of the purchase price.
The City has also said in the past that it hopes to acquire a portion of the site outright in order to consolidate several wastewater treatment facilities in Kingwood outside of the San Jacinto floodplain. Presumably, the City’s cash would go toward the purchase of that part of the site. Both sides previously agreed to share equally in the purchase, operation, development, and maintenance of the rest of the 268 acres.
Requirements Imposed by Draft ILA from May
Earlier this year, I obtained a draft copy of the interlocal agreement by a FOIA request, which the State Attorney General partially redacted. In May, the City provisionally agreed to:
- Adopt Atlas-14 precipitation frequency tables
- Require a minimum detention rate of 0.55 acre-feet per acre of detention for any new development on tracts one acre or larger in size
- Prohibit the use of hydrographic timing (flood-routing studies) as a substitute for any detention requirements, unless the project emptied directly into Galveston Bay.
- Enforce these provisions both within the City and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.
The volume of detention ponds currently on Woodridge Village is about 40% short of what the new higher Atlas-14 requirements dictate. The current detention was approved and construction started before Atlas 14 became effective in Montgomery County.
The use of flood-routing studies in Montgomery County to avoid building detention ponds has long been a controversial practice that downstream residents have fought.
Next Steps in Terms of Flood Mitigation
If Council approves the money and ILA tomorrow for the Woodridge Village purchase, Harris County Commissioners would take up the issue at their next meeting on December 15. Approval by both bodies certainly would make Christmas much merrier and more hopeful for hundreds of Kingwood families devastated by flooding last year.
Kudos to Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin for pushing this forward.
The outcome of the votes could affect projects considered in the Kingwood Area Drainage Analysis. If the purchase goes through, it could reduce or eliminate the need for widening and deepening Taylor Gully itself. It is not immediately clear whether the City and County have set deadlines for the design and construction of the detention basin.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/8/2020
1197 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 446 since Imelda
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