It’s a minor victory. And it may not actually change anything on the ground. But the City of Houston today sent a signal to developers, who now have to identify flood prone areas on their general plans.
By following all the other guidelines, developers can still get their plans approved. This change helps people seeking truth and full disclosure in the sales process.
There’s one other key change. Another new requirement is that, as each section of a general plan is platted, it has to adhere to the then current standards. That is important so that the entire development isn’t grandfathered by the approval date of the general plan.
These changes may make some developers think twice about buying and developing flood-prone property. Especially if they target unknowledgeable buyers, such as young people or foreigners, who may be unfamiliar with American flood standards.
Today’s press release by the City of Houston’s Planning and Development department says the changes will go into effect July 24, 2020.
The release is being blasted out to developers also. It’s titled “Platting Updates for Flood Prone Areas.” I have reprinted the full text verbatim below.
IDENTIFICATION OF FLOOD PRONE AREAS ON GENERAL PLAN
Effective July 24, 2020
Flooding events have been increasingly severe in the City of Houston and our region. The 2018 amendment to Chapter 19 City of Houston Code of Ordinances mandated that it was necessary to evaluate development within the 100-year and 500-year floodplains to protect investments made by residents and business owners in real property within the City. Harris County and others have developed their own needs in improving the drainage in their regions.
To mitigate and reduce the risk of flood loss for future development, the 100-year, 500-year floodplains and floodway will be required to be identified on all General Plans submitted to the Department with the Plat Tracker application. Applicants will be required to graphically depict the location of the floodplains and or floodway on their General Plans and provide related note.
This information must be provided as part of initial submittal of a General Plan for Planning Commission consideration. The General Plan application will be marked incomplete if this information is not included as part of the initial submittal.
HOW TO ILLUSTRATE
The way to depict this information correctly is to go to the FEMA website through the following link: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search#searchresultsanchor.Enter the address, place, or coordinates. The site will produce a map that will identify whether the property is located in the 100-year, 500-year flood plains or floodway. Provide a dashed line on your General Plan identifying the 100-year, 500-year flood plains or floodway as depicted on the FEMA map.
GENERAL PLAN RELATED NOTE
Also, include on the face of the General Plan the following related note as follows: Portions of the property included in this General Plan lie within the known floodway and the 100 and 500-year floodplains. As each section or parcel is platted and developed, the then-current standards of City of Houston [or if ETJ: Harris County] drainage, elevation, and building regulations must be adhered to.
For additional information contact Dipti Mathur at 832-393-6560.
Imagine how the general plan of “Orchard Seeded Ranches” would look. It would clearly show that virtually every property was subject to severe flooding. Also imagine now how those new townhomes in Kings Harbor will look to Chinese investors.
Developers who specialize these types of distress properties may have to rethink their marketing strategies.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/17/2020
1053 Days since Hurricane Harvey