The City of Houston Planning Commission was to have considered plat approval on September 30th for redevelopment of the old Kingwood Cove Golf Course acquired by Ron Holley and his FLOG Partners. However, I learned late today from District E Councilman Dave Martin’s office that Planning Commission staff is recommending postponing the public hearing until at least the next regularly scheduled meeting on October 14th.
The Planning Department Staff met with Houston Public Works staff. Reportedly, the applicant has not yet provided all the information necessary for Publics Works to review the application.
Drainage Study Reportedly Not Detailed Enough
According to Martin’s office, Holley’s people submitted a drainage study for the Kingwood Cove development. However…
Therefore, Planning Department Staff will reportedly recommend to the Planning Commission that Commissioners postpone the public hearing. This will likely happen in the meeting itself when the agenda item is called. But a delay is not automatically guaranteed.
As of this afternoon, approval of the Kingwood Cove plats was still on the agenda.
If Delayed, October 14 Next Possible Date
If the applicant were to provide all required information immediately so that staff could review and provide recommendations, the earliest date for reconsideration would be October 14th (the next meeting following September 30).
The Planning Commission posted Holley’s current plans in two places:
- A 24-page abbreviated version as part of the agenda
- The 238-page full submission at a special link.
Holley’s plans are #133 on the Agenda. I’ve extracted the 24 relevant pages to make file size manageable (2.5 megs).
The full submission is much larger but I compressed the file size from 75 megs to 50 megs. It includes the drainage analysis.
I haven’t had time to review the entire set of plans yet, so I’m including them all here for you to review. However, I did note several items that may explain why Public Works raised questions.
No HCFCD Check Off Yet
Apparently, no one from Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has reviewed or signed the drainage plans yet. Note how the signature blocks are empty.
No Public Works Check Off Yet
Beat-the-Peak Method Employed in Flood Calculations
The Kingwood Cove engineers apparently used the beat-the-peak hydrologic-timing method to support their claim of “no adverse impact.” They also based their calculations on profiles developed from 2001 LIDAR data and a 2012 model of the river basin.
Harris County and City of Houston have been urging upstream counties to abandon the beat-the-peak methodology for years now, in part because it does not take into account upstream developments since the last models were developed. It also allows developers to understate the amount of runoff subject to detention requirements.
Wrong Detention Ratios Apparently Used
The project engineers say on page 52 of the 238-page PDF that they based their conclusion of “no adverse impact” on a floodwater detention ratio of .55 acre feet of detention per acre. But the City requires .65 acre feet per acre. So does HCFCD. Thus, the capacity of the detention pond appears to be understated.
Detention Pond Just 2.5 Feet Above Normal River Level
According to the Kingwood Cove plans (page 47 of full set) the water surface of the detention pond would be at 47 feet. That’s just 2.5 feet above the normal river level and six feet below the parking lot for the golf course (according to the USGS National Map elevation profiler). It’s also 2.3 feet below the level where West Fork flooding becomes likely, according to the gage data at US59.
Floodway Boundary Will Likely Soon Change
FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer indicates that the boundary of the floodway shown above dates to 2008. Harris County Flood Control’s MAAPNext effort, however, is revising the flood maps. Floodways all over the county are expanding into the 100-year floodplain. So some or all of this detention pond could soon find itself within the floodway.
No Adverse Impact?
The Kingwood Cove engineers claim the detention pond would protect downstream residents in a 500-year storm, but the Harris County Flood Warning System shows, the pond would be under 9.5 feet of water in a 10-year storm. And 22 feet of water in a 500-year storm! I fail to see how the pond would be holding anything back in such situations.
A Grandfathering Play?
Note that Halff engineers submitted their Kingwood Cove drainage analysis on March 17, 2021, and the City implemented its .65 acre feet of detention per acre on March 31, 2021. Holley is just now seeking approval.
If he’s expecting to get a pass because he submitted the plans before a change in regulations, I would submit that we saw how dangerous that can be in the case of Woodridge Village and Elm Grove. Woodridge Village engineers calculated detention requirements based on pre-Atlas 14 data and got it grandfathered by MoCo even though everyone knew the requirements were changing.
There’s certainly lots to think about in these plans. They deserve more close scrutiny.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/27/2021 based on documents downloaded from the City Planning Commission website.
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