Royal Pines

Tree Muggers for Tree Huggers: The Irony of Royal Pines

The “Tree Muggers” at the new Royal Pines subdivision in Montgomery County at the north end of West Lake Houston Parkway continue their relentless and remorseless destruction of trees. How ironic considering that the name implies the developer will market homes to Tree Huggers! Perhaps they:

  • Feel the name will blind customers to the reality.
  • Will offer to plant a ceremonial sapling at closing.

Houston Business Journal said Royal Pines will ultimately feature between 350 and 450 homes targeted at first-time home buyers.

Construction Status on 7/30/2022

Here’s what Royal Pines looked like at the end of July 2022.

Dead tree limbs stacked two stories high awaiting removal. Newly cleared area is at top of frame to the left of Country Colony in the upper right.
Higher angle shows proximity to the Triple PG sand mine in the background. White Oak Creek runs between the mine and the subdivision.
Looking NE toward Triple PG sand mine in background. The extent of clearing as of the end of July 2022.
Looking SSE across Royal Pines toward the current terminus of West Lake Houston Parkway.
Looking SW. The distant clearing is Woodridge Village where similar clearcutting contributed to the flooding of hundreds of homes in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest twice in 2019.
Same direction, but closer and higher. Note the contrast with previous development practices that tried to build homes among the trees.

Ever-Widening Clearing

Compare what the development looked like:

Tree Muggers’ Plans

The following links will show you the general plan and layouts for the first three sections:

Old Floodplain Maps Will Put Unsuspecting Buyers at Risk

Note the dotted lines that snake their way through the top of the development. Those represent the 100- and 500-year floodplains.

Notice how a large part of the development is in “Zone X (Shaded).” That’s the area between the limits of the base flood (100-year or 1% annual chance) and the 0.2-percent-annual-chance (or 500-year) flood. I counted more than 80 homes in that zone. I also see six already INSIDE the 100-year zone.

Keep in mind that these flood zones are based on PRE-Harvey estimates. FEMA shows that Montgomery County last mapped this area in 2014. When FEMA approves new POST-Harvey flood maps in the next few years, those zones will expand to take in more of the subdivision. 

In Harris County, MAAPnext is revising maps based on higher rainfall probability statistics and current changes in development. And a lot of development has occurred upstream of Royal Pines on White Oak Creek.

MAAPnext advises that, in general, new flood maps will show floodways expand into the 100-year flood zone and the 100-year expanding into 500-year by about 50%.

This is the same problem I talked about yesterday with the Kingland West development in Harris County at the Grand Parkway and the East Fork.

We won World War II in less time than it’s taking to release these new flood maps. Ironically, by the time they’re released, the Tree Muggers will have already invalidated the basis for the new maps. And thus, the cycle of flooding continues.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/30/2022

1797 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.