preserve at woodridge

Half of Preserve at Woodridge Already Framed Out.

Less than six months ago, Guefen started clearing land for the Preserve at Woodridge. Plans showed that the Preserve would contain 131 Lilliputian-sized homes for rent, some as large as 668 square feet. Already, more than half the homes are framed out. And one fifth have roofs. I counted 73 homes either completely or mostly framed in the photos below.

Photos Taken April 30

Here are some pictures taken of the Preserve at Woodridge last week.

According to plans, the vertical wall behind the homesites will be a retaining wall. In the pond itself, contractors are to install a 2-foot thick clay liner in 8″ lifts, each compacted to 95%.
As of last Saturday, contractors were still pumping silty stormwater into this channel which empties into Bens Branch at Northpark Drive.
Looking SW across 17 acre site toward Northpark Drive and St. Martha Catholic Church.
Not much grass will grow between these homes. It will be in shade most of the day.
Looking east from over Woodridge Parkway toward Kingwood Park High School and KSA’s Northpark Recreation area.

The developer claimed 65% impervious cover. But work to date appears much denser.

Preserve at Woodridge Detention Pond Progress Much Slower

If only the pace of work on the detention pond went as fast! Instead, contractors have treated it like an afterthought. They still haven’t come close to finishing it. And grass lining? Plans don’t mention it as far as I can see.

To see the complete plans, click here. You can find the detention basin plans and calculations on pages 18-24.

It’s not clear whether the detention pond will have a grass liner to reduce erosion or simply a compacted clay liner.

The construction plans call for compacted clay. And a search for the word “grass” did not turn up any mentions in the construction docs.

MoCo Drainage Regs Murky on Grass Lining of Detention Ponds

Montgomery County Drainage regulations get murky on whether detention ponds must have a grass lining.

7.2.7 Erosion Control Measures for Detention Facilities” on Page 113 says:

“The erosion potential for a detention basin is similar to that of an open channel. For this reason the same types of erosion protection are necessary, including the use of backslope swales and drainage systems (as outlined in SECTION 6), proper revegetation, and pond surface lining where necessary.”

The wording in 7.2.7 leaves room for interpretation. It’s not clear whether engineers must specify all or one of the alternatives listed.

So I checked Section 6, which pertains to CHANNEL construction. “6.2.1 Grass Establishment” on Page 85 says:

“A good grass cover must be established on all areas within the right-of-way (except the channel bottom) disturbed by channel improvements or by any type of construction. An adequate grass stand on the banks helps stabilize the channel and minimizes erosion caused by overbank flow and high velocities in the channel.”

There’s certainly a lot of ambiguity in these specifications. Montgomery County has not yet responded to a complaint about the pumping of the silty stormwater down Ben’s Branch. And the only plans the engineering department supplied are those linked above.

Best Practices Vs. Industry Standard Vs. Minimum Requirements

A source knowledgeable about construction reminded me of the tremendous difference that exists between Best Practices, Industry Standards, and Minimum Requirements. Few companies will follow best practices if it costs them money, said the source. Even industry standard practices are optional. Most just follow the minimum requirements.

And even if the engineering plans comply with those requirements, there’s no guarantee contractors will follow the plans.

So understand your local regs. And report corner cutting when you see it.

Best practices call for detention ponds to be among the first things finished on a construction site. MoCo doesn’t mandate that, however. Grass would certainly help reduce erosion here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/4/2022

710 Days after Hurricane Harvey

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