Developers have virtually finished clearing approximately 70 acres on Townsend Blvd. West in Humble. The land is immediately north of Sam’s Club and east of Walmart and Aldine ISD’s Jones Middle School. The image below from Google Earth shows the location of the land and the extent of clearing as of last April. At that time, about a quarter of the property had not been cleared. See red oval.
The two photos below show the land in the red oval as of 9/24/22.
Two Large Detention Basins Already Built
Since my original post on this property, the developers have also built two large stormwater detention basins that comprise most of the eastern boundary.
The basins are a bit hard to see in photograph above because everything is so monochromatic. But if you look closely, you can see backslope interceptor swales around them and drainpipes that lead down to the bottom of the basins. The purpose: to prevent erosion on the sides of the basins that could accelerate siltation in drainage ditches and reduce their conveyance. Such swales represent a best practice.
Leaving the stand of trees on the left above also represents a best practice. Why? The land slopes toward the trees. Had a heavy rain hit the site before the basins were built, the trees would have intercepted runoff and prevented silt from entering the ditch in the background by the power lines.
Three residential developers appear to own all parcels that comprise this cleared area. They include Hannover Estates, Townsen Landing LLC, and Headway Estates LTD. A three-year-old article in Community Impact quoting Saratoga Homes suggests that 357 single-family homes and townhomes are planned for this location.
The site is near the commercial center of northeast Harris County. But unfortunately, it’s also near the floodplain of the San Jacinto West Fork and Spring Creek. So flood risk is high. And will be going higher.
Note the dates on the map above. One portion is 2014 and the other 2007. Both predate Harvey and NOAA’s new Atlas 14 rainfall statistics. These floodplains could soon expand and take in portions of the new development.
Harris County Flood Control (HCFCD) has submitted preliminary flood maps to FEMA for review. FEMA could release the preliminary maps as early as next year. Preliminary guidance from HCFCD is that floodplains will likely expand by 50%.
If that happens, these developers could be caught between rising interest rates and widening floodplains. That will squeeze profits. I talked to one developer last week who is choosing to retire now rather than ride out another recession.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/24/22
1852 Days since Hurricane Harvey