Tag Archive for: Forest Cove townhomes

Last Forest Cove Townhome Now Down

Today, the last townhome in Forest Cove was demolished – 1799 days after Hurricane Harvey, the storm that left them uninhabitable.

As of 3PM today, only one small portion of one wall remained and the demolition crew was busy loading up the last debris into waiting trucks. I may take another day or two to remove foundations and concrete driveways. But this show is over.

All that remained as of 3PM 8/2/22
Excavator loads debris into waiting truck.

Before Demolition

How last complex looked on 2/24/22, before demolition.

The last complex was situated across from the Forest Cove pool on Marina Drive. 240,000 cubic feet per second coming down the West Fork during Harvey blew out doors, windows, stairs and portions of balconies. The homes became uninhabitable for structural reasons.

Photo taken on July 22, 2022 shows location of last complex relative to Forest Cove pool.

You would think that in such cases, buyouts would take little time. But some people reportedly fled mortgage obligations to avoid payments on homes they could no longer live in. Without forwarding addresses, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) had no choice but to go through lengthy condemnation proceedings in several cases. And until every unit in a complex like the one above had been bought, HCFCD could not tear down the complex.

The buyout and demolition process lasted four years. It began in 2018 and the first complex came down in 2019. Two complexes burned down.

While the legal system sputtered through Covid, drug dealers, illegal dumpers, arsonists, and graffiti artists took over these buildings. But now the area can return to nature. HCFCD will use this area to help preserve the floodplain.

Thank You, HCFCD!

Thanks to the women and men of the Harris County Flood Control District and their contractors for their diligence. Today’s demolition will make a huge difference in the quality of life for everyone in Forest Cove. Residents’ pool, athletic fields and community room were in the middle of this area. Perhaps now it can be restored to a productive, recreational purpose.

There is still no word on plans for the area. The only thing we know is that the FEMA money used to buy out the Forest Cove townhomes came with strings attached. Specifically, no other “insurable structures” can every be built on the purchased property.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/2/2022

1799 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Forest Cove Townhomes: One More Gone, One to Go

Earlier this week, I photographed the collapse of one of the two last townhome complexes in Forest Cove on Marina Drive. Today, I flew over the demolition site and photographed contractors removing the last of the debris and cleaning up the site.

The images also show the extent of buyouts in the area as well as the last remaining townhome complex opposite the Forest Cove pool. One down. One to go!

Photos Taken on 7/22/22

Looking south toward San Jacinto West Fork. Site of recently demolished complex in foreground. Last complex at top of frame, left of pool.
The demolition contractor has removed everything, including foundations and driveways – down to the dirt.
This entire area was once filled with townhome complexes, owned or rented by people who loved the river lifestyle.
Now only one remains. Harris County Flood Control has bought out the last owner and is doing final inspections before scheduling demolition sometime in August.
From dust to dust. All that remains of this address is memories. The excavator is using an I-Beam to level the dirt.

Vast Improvement

Compare the image below with the one above.

forest cove townhomes
After Harvey. Before demolition. This picture was taken in April, 2022.

Harvey was the final insult to these townhomes. These and neighboring properties became uninhabitable because of flooding. 240,000 cubic feet per second made them structurally unsound.

Since Harvey, all the derelict buildings drew drug dealers, graffiti artists and illegal dumpers. Now, the area will revert to nature and become, once again, a haven for eagles and other wildlife that still roam this area.

One down. One to go.

No More Insurable Structures

Many people have asked about the long range plans for this area. Harris County Flood Control now owns the property. It will never be developed. Under the terms of the FEMA grant used to finance the buyouts, “no insurable structures” can ever be placed on this land again. That severely limits possibilities.

So What Comes Next?

However, the land could still be used for parks and trails. Beth Walters, a spokesperson for HCFCD confirmed this afternoon that Harris County and the Houston Parks Board have been in talks about this property. However, she was not aware of any decisions that have been made at this point. Creating something beautiful on this property will likely take fund raising, long-term budgeting, and the cooperation of multiple entities.

The Value of Park Land

In my humble opinion, a long linear park stretching from here to US 59 might be the highest and best use for this land. It would turn a negative into a positive. If a deal can be worked out, it would help restore nearby property values in Forest Cove. These derelict townhomes certainly did not help them.

Many studies point to an increase in home values near parks. This one suggests an 8% to 20% bump. I hope the community can come together around the idea of turning this area into a park.

Meanwhile…a couple miles downstream, developers are busy building even more condos and apartments…even closer to the river. And they say that one of the hallmarks of human intelligence is that we can learn from each other’s mistakesI

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/22/2022

1788 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Caught on Camera: Moment Forest Cove Townhome Toppled

This morning at 10:34 AM, the last remains of another Forest Cove townhome complex toppled to the ground. The HCFCD demolition contractor nibbled away at it last week and earlier this morning. Eventually, all but a narrow strip of the last townhome in the complex had turned into a pile of rubble.

That strip started to lean. Then, suddenly, one more touch from the excavator, and the building collapsed on itself with a billowing cloud of dust and a thunderous boom. When the dust cleared, only one last complex remained standing.

We are nearing the end of a process that started in 2018.

Sequence of Photos

As of Saturday, 7/16/22, one of the last three buildings was completely gone along with half of the second.
Early Monday, 7/18/22, demolition of the remaining portion of the second building started again.
As the excavator clawed away at the building, it started to lean.
Periodically, the excavator would pile more rubble under itself so it could then reach higher. Note falling doors, walls and floors, frozen in space by the camera’s fast shutter speed.
What took months to build came down in seconds. Note the severe bowing of the wall on the right.

Final Collapse Caught on Camera

At this point, I sensed the building would soon collapse. So, I switched from the drone to my Nikon which can shoot many more frames per second. And then it started…

With parts of the second and third floors removed, along with most of the truss structure in the attic, the remainder of the building started to collapse in on itself.
A chimney came tumbling forward.
The final collapse took less than 10 seconds.
Three minutes later, the dust had cleared.

Next Steps

Contractors will extract any recyclable waste from the rubble. Then, they will crush what remains so that it takes less space in a landfill. Finally, they will remove the concrete from the foundation and likely recycle that, too.

Eventually, this area will return to nature. However, what form that takes has not yet been determined. Typically, HCFCD partners with other organizations such as the Houston Parks Board to create and maintain improvements such as trails, parks or recreational space. In fact, the Houston Parks Board West Fork Trail currently ends behind the rubble in the photo above. The Parks Board plans to extend it to Edgewater Park at US59, so hikers and bikers can connect from the Kingwood Trail System to the Spring Creek Greenway.

Demo Date for Last Building

After this morning, only one Forest Cove townhome complex remains standing. That’s at 1020 Marina Drive near the community swimming pool. According to Amy Stone, a Flood Control District spokesperson, HCFCD will demolish that building starting August 1, 2022. More news to follow.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/18/2022

1784 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Forest Cove Townhomes: One Down, Two to Go

On 7/5/2022, demolition began on the first of three townhome complexes remaining on Marina Drive in Forest Cove. The complexes had been damaged beyond repair when 240,000 cubic feet per second of stormwater roared through them during Hurricane Harvey.

Since then, the abandoned properties had become magnets for drug dealing, arsonists, and illegal dumping. But the buyout process stalled when owners of some of the units could not be found. The county had to exercise its powers of eminent domain on those by declaring the purchase of several units a “public necessity.”

Now, with legalities out of the way, demolition began at 4:45 Tuesday afternoon. You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from Forest Cove residents. Removal of the eyesores will restore the community’s image while eliminating a public safety hazard.

Photos of Demolition

Here are some pictures taken between 7/5 and 7/9/22. All that’s left of the first complex is a shrinking pile of rubble, some twisted girders, and some driveway.

Forest Cove Townhome Demolition
Beginning of Forest Cove Townhome Demolition on 7/5/22
By end of second day, 7/6/2022, half of first complex was down, but most of rubble remained.
By end of third day, 7/7/2022, entire first complex was down. Contractors compacted rubble to make it easier to haul it away.
They also separated girders from the rubble. This EPA article describes recycling opportunities for demolition waste.
End of fourth day, 7/9/22. Most of waste was hauled away. Practically nothing remains of first building. Second complex in background will come down next week.
Pile of twisted girders. Remnants of a once proud townhome complex and a laid-back river lifestyle. Next up for demo: the building in background.

Next Steps

The next steps:

  • Demolish building in photo above 7/14/22.
  • Schedule demo of third building as soon as last buyout is completed.

Kudos to Harris County Flood Control and its contractors. This is not easy work when the temperature soars into triple digits. Their efforts will make a huge difference to the community.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/10/2022

1776 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Beginning of End for Last of Forest Cove Townhomes

Today, 7/5/22, marked the beginning of the end for the last of the three remaining townhome complexes on Marina Drive in Forest Cove. Demolition began at 4:45 this afternoon on the complex nearest the Forest Cove community center. The job foreman estimates that removal of the two complexes shown below could take a week or more. By then, the third complex nearest the Forest Cove swimming pool should also be ready for demolition. Back in mid-June, Harris County Flood Control scheduled it for demolition on 7/14/22. So by the end of this month, Forest Cove could look very different.

Pictures Taken 7/5/22

The two complexes that started undergoing demolition today. These back up to the new Houston Parks Board Trail that will connect Kingwood with Precinct 3’s Edgewater Park at the NE corner of 59 and the West Fork.

Hurricane Harvey destroyed the townhomes almost five years ago, when approximately 240,000 cubic feet per second of stormwater inundated the homes to the third floors.

The homes became structurally unsound as you can see below.

Destruction wrought by Harvey.

HCFCD began buyouts of the 14 townhome complexes in this area back in 2019. The District completed 80% of the buyouts by February 2020. They expected to complete the remainder by the end of that year. But completing the buyouts took much longer than expected. This story explains why. Basically, HCFCD cannot tear town a complex until it has bought out all units within the complex. And some owners had left the area without forwarding addresses.

First bite into the first of three remaining complexes late this afternoon.
The second bite took out the corner of the structure.
Demolition will resume in the morning.

Harvey destroyed these townhomes so thoroughly that FEMA chose to film a video about the power of Harvey here.

Once prized for their river views, seclusion, and laid-back lifestyle, the remaining townhomes will come down this month and then HCFCD will let the area return to nature. It’s not clear at this time whether the county has plans to extend Edgewater Park this far.

More pictures and news to follow as the project progresses.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/5/22

1771 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Demolition Dates Set for Forest Cove Townhomes

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has set the demolition dates for two of the three remaining Forest Cove Townhome complexes. The two farthest from the river will be torn down on 7/5/22 and 7/14/22. See image below.

On 6/17/22, HCFCD also deposited the check for the buyout of the last unit in the last complex. So, according to HCFCD spokesperson, Amy Stone, “The final demolition should be scheduled soon!”

Demolition dates for the three remaining Forest Cove Townhome complexes. San Jacinto West Fork at top of frame. Forest Cove Community Center and swimming pool on right.

Reason for Delays

Buying out close to 100 units destroyed by Harvey has been a tortuous and time-consuming process. Several of the owners, unable to live in the townhomes, reportedly walked away from their properties, leaving them in limbo. In the process, they created a blight on the community that became a magnet for drug dealing, illegal dumping, vandalism, arson, and graffiti.

I talked to an angry Forest Cove resident this morning who can’t wait for the last remaining units to be demolished.

Photos Taken on 6/18/22

Here are some photos taken this morning from ground and air showing the condition of the last units still standing.

Two complexes scheduled for demolition on 7/5 and 7/14.
Same complexes from the ground.
Last complex, not yet scheduled for demolition
Same complex from ground level.

Back to Green Space

HCFCD usually lets such buyout areas return to green space and has announced its intention to do the same here. However, it’s not yet clear exactly what that means. Flood Control has not yet responded to a request for specific plans.

Nevertheless, the Houston Parks Board has already begun a trail along the West Fork. It currently reaches from the Kingwood trail system at River Grove Park to Marina Drive in Forest Cove, shown below. It now terminates behind the two complexes already scheduled for demolition in July.

Terminus of Houston Parks Board San Jacinto Greenway at Marina Drive, approximately 2.6 miles from River Grove Park as the crow flies.

The Parks Board has plans to take this trail all the way to US59 eventually.

Planned route of trail connecting Woodland Hills Drive to 59 and Spring Creek Trail. Green = completed. Purple = planned.

Someday soon, this area could become a huge asset to the Kingwood/Forest Cove/Lakewood Cove community again.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/18/22

1754 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Dust to Dust: Another Forest Cove Townhome Complex Coming Down

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) started tearing down the townhomes at 960 Marina Drive in Forest Cove this morning at 7:45 a.m. What took years to build will only take hours to destroy. Of course, nature began destroying these townhomes years before today. In Hurricane Harvey, 240,000 cubic feet per second of floodwater rampaged through them. That’s because these townhomes were built in the floodway and floodplain of the San Jacinto West Fork.

As I reviewed the photos I shot this morning, I saw massive piles of dried dirt tumbling from third floor apartments and even attics. That’s a testament to how high the water reached. And how foolish it is to build structures this close to the river. See below.

Demolition began at 7:45.
A few minutes later, note the dirt tumbling down from the attic space above the claw.
More dirt coming from another third-floor living space.
And if you thought the dirt might have been coming from the machine’s claw, see this shower of dirt tumbling to the left.

There’s only one way the dirt could get that high. Harvey deposited it.

Hopes and Dreams Bite the Dust

People built their hopes and dreams here. Invested their life savings here. Got married here under the shade of trees by the river.

But Mother Nature always gets the last word. And in this case, she reclaimed her territory.

Harris County Flood Control is buying out these townhomes and taking down each building as soon as every unit within them has been purchased.

Several more units remain. In the meantime, other builders are building more condos even closer to the river in Kings Harbor.

Hope springs eternal. New condos in Kings Harbor, a little more than a mile downstream from those being torn down in Forest Cove, and even closer to the West Fork.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/26/2021

1366 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.

Last Remaining Townhomes on Timberline Drive in Forest Cove Demolished

Late yesterday (1.22.21), Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) contractors scraped the last remains of the townhomes on Timberline Drive in Forest Cove off the ground. Harvey destroyed the townhomes when more than 20 feet of water rushed through them. It rendered them structurally unfit for habitation. Since then, they have been an eyesore and the gathering place for drug dealers, arsonists, graffiti artists and illegal dumpers.

Cleanup Just in Time for New Projects

The demolition is welcome and will open the door to reclaiming the area as park and green space. Last month, both Harris County Precinct 4 announced plans to begin construction of its new Edgewater park and boat launch on the West Fork just east of US59. And the Houston Parks board announced plans to begin building a hike-and-bike trail connecting the new park with KSA’s River Grove Park and the Kingwood trail network.

The Texas Railroad Commission also cleaned up the first portion of the Noxxe Oil & Gas lease near the townhomes this week.

Removing the remains of the townhomes and oil-production assets will help restore the natural beauty of area. The added recreational amenities will also help attract new residents.

The townhomes demolished this week include those in the large red circle. The flood-damaged oil storage tanks in the small circle were also removed this week by the Texas Railroad Commission. They also plan to plug the two remaining wells in this area within weeks.
Site of the now-gone townhomes at 4PM on 1.22.21.
Before demolition in February 2020. Note: buildings in background had burned in 2019 and building in foreground had been partially demolished by Harvey.
After the first building to burn had been demolished, the second one burned, too, in September 2020. This is the area that HCFCD cleaned up this week.

Status of Remaining Townhomes

Beth Walters, a spokesperson for HCFCD, said, “All remaining townhomes have been assigned to the agent to be appraised. The timeframe to purchase depends on the owners’ willingness to sell. If the owners refuse to sell and take the case to litigation, it is possible for the acquisition to take a year or more. If the owners are willing to sell, we could purchase by the end of February.”

On January 5, 2021, Harris County Commissioners Court approved a declaration deeming the acquisition of the remaining townhomes a public necessity. This is the first step in possible condemnation of the any remaining properties. Here is the a document by the Texas Attorney General that explains a landowner’s bill of rights.

The Problem with Building Multi-Owner Units near Rivers

Multi-owner units, such as the Forest Cove townhomes, present special challenges for buyouts. Before a building with eight townhomes, for instance, can be torn down, HCFCD must buy out every unit in the complex. But many owners simply abandoned their properties after Harvey. Locating them became a time consuming task. Some cannot be found. For instance, a company in the Bahamas owned one unit. The company has gone bankrupt since Harvey, leaving the ownership in limbo. Hence, the demolition delays.

As you can see in the Google Earth image above, four structures remain to be demolished. The one closed to the river appears to have collapsed already on its own, but the debris remains.

The two structures removed on Timberline Drive had previously burned: one on the 4th of July in 2019 and the other last year. So the HCFCD work this week was really more rubble removal than demolition. Regardless of what you call it, it’s an improvement.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1.23.21 with thanks to Harris County Flood Control and Beth Walters

1123 Days after Hurricane Harvey

January Digest of Flood-Related News in Lake Houston Area

From construction developments to political developments, here’s your January digest of ten stories that could affect flooding or flood mitigation in the Lake Houston Area.

1. New Caney ISD High School #3

This site is located between Sorters-McClellan Road and US59 south of the HCA Kingwood Medical Center. New Caney ISD is building a new high school on the site of the old par 3 golf course behind the car dealerships that front US59. Construction crews are still pouring concrete for foundations and parking lots. Not much happened between flyovers on December 7 and January 1. But then, not much happens anywhere during the holidays. The two photos below show the progress. Construction of the detention pond is nearing completion. However, contractors still need to plant grass to reduce erosion before spring rains arrive.

New Caney ISD High School #3 site as of December 7, 2020
As of January 1, 2021.

New Caney ISD has not posted a project update since last September. Projected occupancy for the building is still Fall 2022.

2. Kingwood Cove Golf Course Redevelopment

I first talked about Ron Holley’s redevelopment of the Kingwood Cove (formerly Forest Cove) Golf Course in April last year. Since then Holley says he has been working with engineers, community groups and regulators to accommodate different interests.

Now, the development is back on the planning commission agenda for this Thursday. Holley is seeking approval of his latest General Plan and Plat. Neither show any detention ponds. The only place they could go would be in “Reserve C.” The General Plan shows that to be in the floodway and 100-year floodplain. Both could soon expand.

The West Fork floodway cuts through the southern part of Holley’s property.

The City raised an issue regarding compliance with regulations governing the re-plat of golf courses at the 12/17/2020 Planning Commission meeting. The City requested information relating to Local Government Code 212.0155.

That regulation requires, among other things, that:

  • Public notice of the re-plat be printed in newspapers
  • The Forest Cove Property Owners Association is notified
  • Residents have an opportunity to voice their opinions at public hearings
  • Owners of all properties within 200 feet of the new plat be notified in writing via US Mail.
  • If 20% of the owners object, the re-plat must win the approval of 3/5ths of the planning commission.
  • The developer proves there is adequate existing or planned infrastructure to support the new development.
  • The new subdivision will not adversely affect health, safety traffic, parking, drainage, water, sewer, or other utilities
  • The development will not have a materially adverse effect on existing single-family property values.
  • The new plat complies with all applicable land-use regulations and restrictive covenants and the City’s land-use policies.

That’s a lot to do over the holidays. So the general plan may need to be withdrawn and resubmitted after all the information has been produced. We should know more by Wednesday afternoon.

3. Dredging

Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin’s January newsletter stated that Disaster Recover Corporation has removed 385,000 cubic yards from the West Fork Mouth Bar out of an estimated total of 400,000 cubic yards.

Then he alluded to dredging another 260,000 cubic yards from the area north of the mouth bar.

He also alluded to a Second Phase: dredging the San Jacinto East Fork and other locations in Lake Houston.

Finally, Martin discussed maintenance dredging. “Additionally,” he says, “during Phase Two of the project, City of Houston, Harris County, HCFCD, SJRA, and Coastal Water Authority (CWA) will develop and execute a plan for the City of Houston or CWA to assume long-term dredging operations on Lake Houston. This effort will include determining funding for dredging operations in perpetuity.”

4. Appointments to SJRA Board

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Wil Faubel and Rick Mora, M.D. and reappointed Kaaren Cambio to the San Jacinto River Authority Board of Directors. Their terms will expire on October 16, 2025. 

Kaaren Cambio of Kingwood is a field representative for United States Congressman Dan Crenshaw. She is a former member of Women’s Business Enterprise National Investment Recovery Association, Pipeline Contractors Association, and the Houston Pipeliners Association. Cambio received a Bachelor of Business Administration from San Diego State University.

Wil Faubel of Montgomery is President of Borets US Inc. He is a veteran and senior executive in the Oilfield Services industry with more than forty years of service. He has both domestic and international experience and is a lifelong member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and a former board member of the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association. Faubel received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Methodist University.

Rick Mora, M.D. of The Woodlands is a partner at US Anesthesia Partners and Chief of Anesthesiology for Memorial Hermann Pinecoft Surgery Center. He has served as chair of the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is a founding Board member of the non-profit, Los Doctores de The Woodlands. Mora received his MD from the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine.

5. Forest Cove Townhome Buyouts

Harris County Commissioner’s Court will vote today on an item to exercise eminent domain on seven townhomes in the Forest Cove complex. The entire complex was destroyed after Harvey and many owners simply walked away from their properties without leaving forwarding addresses. Flood Control has been unable to find the owners after years of trying. Several may have moved out of the country. Eminent domain on these last few properties will clear the way for demolition of the entire complex and restoration of the area to nature or park land.

The once proud and idyllic townhomes in Forest Cove next to West Fork.

6. Woodridge Village

The purchase of Woodridge Village from Perry Homes is not on today’s Commissioner’s Court Agenda. However, all energies are reportedly still positive. It’s just taking time to work out the complex three-way purchase arrangements.

7. Romerica

Houston PlatTracker shows that the Romerica people may have acquired more land. But so far, they have not returned to the planning commission for approval on the latest iteration of the developer’s plans. No news is good news in this case.

8. Lake Houston Spillway Improvement Project

The City is close to finalizing the Preliminary Engineering Plan. Sources say the benefit/cost ratio looks very positive. We may see the final recommendations this month.

Engineers have examined several alternatives to add more gates to the Lake Houston dam or to increase its spillway capacity.

9. Noxxe Cleanup

The Railroad Commission could start plugging wells, removing storage tanks, and cleaning up the abandoned Noxxe lease in Forest Cove soon. The project manager has submitted work orders for final approval.

Small part of Noxxe lease next to Forest Cove baseball fields.

10. Kings Harbor New Construction

New condos are going up in Kings Harbor faster than Flood Control can tear down the ones in Forest Cove down. And they’re even closer to the river!

See new concrete pads (left center) and new construction (right foreground).

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/5/2020

1125 Days after 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.

Last Townhomes on Timberline Drive in Forest Cove Burned to Ground

On September 24th, I noted some chatter online about another fire in the Forest Cove townhome complex between Hamblen Road and the West Fork. I went there last night to see what had happened. It was very disheartening. Five more townhomes had burned to the ground. Nothing remained but ashes.

Why We Should Not Build So Close to Rivers

Not long ago, dozens of families lived in this complex. They had hopes and dreams. Children played in the street. Neighbors looked after each other. Couples got married by the river. Everyone shared a love a nature. Sure, they had frequent floods. But the homes were designed around that. Then came Harvey.

Water reached 17 to 23 feet into the third floors of townhomes. After a night of terror in which 240,000 cubic feet per second literally swept some structures off their foundations, residents returned to a wasteland. It was so bad, that FEMA even came here to film a video about the ravages of Harvey. Now, it’s even worse.

Many people who once lived here, like Jennifer Parks, won’t even venture into the neighborhood. They find the memories too traumatic. Here’s what her once-proud townhome looks like today. This was the fourth fire in that neighborhood since the start of 2019.

Photos of Latest Fire

Five more units burned. Not one still stands west of Timberline Drive.
The fire scorched surrounding trees and left nothing but ashes.
The bottom floors were garages.
Townhomes between Timberline Dr., Timberline Court and Aqua Vista St. have all burned.

The northern half of the complex in the red rectangle burned last year on July 4. The southern half burned the day after Tropical Storm Beta on September 24 when weather was cloudy but calm.

Complex on left burned. Photo taken two weeks after Harvey.
Close up of the complex that burned. On September 2, 2020, it still looked much like it did after Harvey.

Four More Buildings Remain

Five other buildings remain on the eastern side of Marina Drive. View this post for an explanation of why buyouts take so long.

Two years ago, the County and City Parks Board announced plans to turn the area south of Hamblen into a park and trails. But so far…nothing.

Time for Plan B

It’s time to go to Plan B. Frankly, in my opinion, this latest fire underscores the need to condemn these properties as a public-safety hazard. We need to demolish them and get on with life for the good of the community and the safety of firefighters. Let’s turn these eyesores into assets. Return the area to green space NOW.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/6/2020

1134 Days after 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.