Preserve at Woodridge

Preserve At Woodridge Claims No Flood Zone; Shades of LJA?

The Preserve at Woodridge is a novel single-family-home rental development going in off Woodridge Parkway between St. Martha Church and Kingwood Park High School. As with Woodridge Village, on the other side of the high school, the developer claimed the property was in no known flood zone. Even though it’s just outside the pre-Atlas 14 flood zones for Ben’s Branch, those zones are based on 40% less rainfall than the current standard for the Kingwood Area.

The Developer’s plans show this note about floodplains on virtually every page. Atlas 14 was implemented in 2018.

A major drainage ditch also runs along one side of the development and contributes to flooding along Northpark Drive almost annually. I owned property on the other side of that ditch for 20 years and can attest to frequent flooding.

And even though runoff calculations are based on Atlas 14 estimates, those estimates are based on Conroe’s rainfall which gets about 10% less than Kingwood (48 vs. 53 inches).

The ditch in question was developed for what is now the high school. The earliest photo of it in Google Earth dates to 1995. Around 2008, the ditch was extended to handle drainage from Woodridge Forest. The developer’s plans do not specify the capacity of the ditch as far as I can see.

LJA Parallels?

LJA, the engineer for Woodridge Village a block east also claimed “no floodplains.” That claim turned out to be tragically wrong. There were flood plains. They just hadn’t been mapped, like the ditch in question. And LJA used pre-Atlas 14 data in its calculations.

Hundreds of homeowners next to Woodridge Village in Elm Grove, North Kingwood Forest, Sherwood Trails and Porter subsequently flooded twice in May and September of 2019. They wound up suing Perry Homes, its subsidiaries and contractors, including LJA. Those cases recently settled.

The area immediately south of the Preserve at Woodridge includes approximately 40 businesses along Northpark Drive, the high school, St. Martha’s school, two churches, and dozens of homes in North Woodland Hills.

Let’s hope the engineers got this one right. Claiming “no floodplains” based on pre-Atlas 14 data and an old ditch whose level of service has diminished over time does not inspire confidence. How do they know for sure it won’t flood? But that’s not the only worry.

Rental Homes As Small as Studio Apartments

Guefen, the developer says it plans to build 131 homes on the 17 acres you see below. But the detention pond takes up five acres. That makes about 11 homes per acre of usable land with about 5 feet between many homes. You can see how close they are in the photo below.

First foundations going in (lower left). Photo taken on 12/31/2021.
Reverse angle shot shows 5 acre detention pond on 17 acre development. Ditch in foreground joins Ben’s Branch north of Northpark Drive.
Foundation forms in NW corner of subdivision along Woodridge Parkway. See corresponding plans below. Note how three of these homes could fit in the back yard of the home in the upper right corner of the photo.
Five of the eight homes above will have access only by sidewalks, not streets.
The same holds true for most of the homes in the subdivision.

In case of an emergency, that firetruck may be parking 250 feet away from some homes. That’s almost the length of a football field.

According to, the average size of an apartment in Houston is 881 square feet. These detached rental homes will range in size from 668 square feet to 1,255 square feet. At the low end of that range, the square footage is about that of most studio apartments. For those of you who have never lived in one, a studio apartment has one big common area that triples as a living room, bedroom, and kitchen. Only the bathroom has walls.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/3/22

1588 Days since Hurricane Harvey

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