Northpark South

More West Fork Wetlands near Northpark Drive Could Soon Be Developed

Take Northpark Drive all the way west to where it ends at Sorters-McClellan and you will run into a 279-acre tract that the Houston Planning Commission will consider at its November 18th meeting. Sand mining has already destroyed most of the 279 acres. Now a developer wants to fill in the wetlands and build homes on the rest.

This is like “death by a thousand cuts.” Or the the Parable of the Rivet Poppers.

Parable of Rivet Poppers

Imagine you’re getting on an airplane and you see someone popping rivets out of the wing. You ask the pilot, “What’s that guy doing!?”

The pilot says, “Oh, he’s popping rivets. Our accountants have found that can eliminate weight and improve fuel economy.”

“But won’t that increase risk?” you ask.

The pilot replies, “Somewhat, but our engineers believe it won’t bring the plane down.”

Would you get on that airplane? Would you live in this proposed development? Or downstream from it? See details below.

Details of Northpark South

Here are the plans presented to the Planning Commission last Thursday for a plat of Northpark South. The commission deferred action on them until the next meeting. The developer is Hannover Estates, LTD. RG Miller engineered the development.

Pretty location! Just don’t let your kids go fishing there.
Of course, the homes will be built on the highest ground. But look how far the floodplain (dotted line) cuts into them.
Northpark South floodplain
Northpark South floodplains. Of course, these are based on 1980s data. Don’t be fooled by the data on the map. That’s the date of the background image. In Harris County, the new flood maps will reportedly expand the floodplains by 50% as a rule of thumb. But this is MoCo and the last update was much longer ago.
Here’s how that area looked during Harvey.
US Fish & Wildlife Service Map of wetlands (and former wetlands) on the site (center of frame).
Looking W from over end of Northpark Drive. Sorters-McClellan cuts through bottom of frame from left to right. West Fork cuts through sand mines in the background.
The barren spot just right of center is the wetland area that will be filled in to make home sites.
Meet the neighbors.
Where the subdivision drainage will go…straight into the West Fork.
Water flowed so quickly through this area during Harvey that it moved and sunk this excavator within the mine.

Another Development Targeted at the Uninitiated?

The shame of it is that if Northpark South gets built, the developer will likely build starter homes and market them to couples with young children. They’re the least knowledgeable about flood risk.

Of course, the people downstream won’t get to make a decision about this. But you can testify about it at the next Planning Commission meeting on November 18. Here are details.

Pop. There goes another rivet.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/31/2021 with thanks to Paul Ehrlich for the parable and Mai Truong for the heads up on this

1524 Days since Hurricane Harvey

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.