In 2016, one of the owners of the Colony Ridge Development in Liberty County tried to sue the former Mayor of Plum Grove for defamation. The developer alleged that the mayor bad-mouthed his development while making false statements. The judge ultimately dismissed the suit.
But as part of the lawsuit, Louis W. Bergman, III, PE, provided a glowing affidavit, lauding the development. Bergman served as the County Engineer and Flood Plain Administrator at the time. He also issued licenses and permits for Liberty County. In that regard, he reviewed all plat submittals for compliance with Texas statutes and Liberty County’s subdivision rules.
What a Difference Four Years Makes
Below are some quotes from Bergman’s affidavit. I took all the pictures from a helicopter on 12/7/2020 while flying over Colony Ridge. They show how quickly conditions have deteriorated there.
“In my experience, Colony Ridge has been one of the best land developers in Liberty County.”Louis W. Bergman, III, PE in Paragraph 3
“Colony Ridge … complies with all applicable laws and regulations imposed on a land developer.”Louis W. Bergman, III, PE in Paragraph 5
“I respect Colony Ridge Development … and their business because they have earned my respect by representing themselves with integrity and working to build quality developments.”Louis W. Bergman, III, PE in Paragraph 15
“In my opinion, Colony Ridge Development has built some of the best infrastructure for residential neighborhoods in Liberty County and Colony Ridge Development’s lots do not create a health, safety, or welfare threat to Liberty County.”Louis W. Bergman, III, PE in Paragraph 11
“I have heard [the former mayor of Plum Grove] make statements that Colony Ridge Development has violated environmental laws, such as regulations by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and I disagree with these statements and believe they are false statements.”Louis W. Bergman, III, PE in Paragraph 12
The TCEQ might disagree with Bergman on that last point. The TCEQ has an enforcement action against Colony Ridge. TCEQ’s investigation alleges their development practices may jeopardize human health. The TCEQ has also cited the development’s water and sewer supplier for lead in drinking water and sewage spills.
Strategic and Mitigation Plans Back Bergman Up
Liberty County’s own Strategic Plan cites the need to improve drainage infrastructure and building codes. But it doesn’t mention Colony Ridge by name.
Likewise for Liberty County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. It discusses the need to improve a variety of safety issues such as drainage; street lighting; electrical service; communications infrastructure; high percentages of mobil and self-built homes; emergency access; and flooding … in every city in the county … all without mentioning Colony Ridge by name.
So maybe Bergman was right after all. Maybe this IS the best that Liberty County has to offer.
But I suspect the judge who dismissed the lawsuit, might take exception.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/21/2020
1211 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 459 since Imelda
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.