Friendswood Development Company has started clearing 553 acres west of Huffman-Cleveland Road. It will eventually extend from Northwood County Estates on the north to Cypress Point on the south. Plat records show that Friendswood has named the development “Sila.”
Long, Narrow, Dense Homesites
The new residential community will contain an unspecified number of homesites, most long and narrow. This will certainly increase the percentage of impervious cover relative to the surrounding area.
Existing homes sit on larger, heavily wooded lots. So, this and other new, nearby developments will change the character of the area considerably. Along with that will come more traffic and congestion.
To put that in perspective, I talked to one homeowner in nearby Northwood Country Estates who owns a five-acre lot.
Friendswood appears to be almost halfway done with clearing land for Sila. Consistent with best practices and construction plans, contractors appear to be clearing one section at a time, installing perimeter catchment ditches, erecting silt fence, and stabilizing land before moving on to the next area.
The drainage analysis also claims that the development will provide more than the minimum amount of required detention-basin capacity. The minimum required is .65 acre feet per acre. But the engineering firm BGE says it will provide .67.
The minimum requirement was established by Harris County Flood Control District in 2019 after Hurricane Harvey. So, it should accommodate 100-year rainfalls projected under Atlas 14, NOAA’s current standard for rainfall estimates.
Approximately Half of Land Cleared So Far
The pictures below, all taken on 2/3/24, show the areas cleared so far.
The yellowish runoff in the foreground of the photo above is from Saint Tropez another new, but different development seen in the background of two pictures below.
A 1.5 inch rain the night before I took these photos caused the ponding water you see.
Proposed Lake Houston Mitigation Bank
The Sila property will drain into hundreds of acres that are part of the proposed Lake Houston Mitigation Bank.
LH Ranch has proposed creation of the wetlands mitigation bank here.
The preservation of so much land will help protect homebuyers from flooding. It will also provide wildlife habitat and an exceptional recreational amenity. Here’s the prospectus for the mitigation bank presented to the Army Corps. Corps approval still appears to be pending as of this writing.
Areas of Concern
Two areas of concern, however, exist near the land most recently cleared. Contractors have not yet erected silt fence or dug protective ditches behind some of the neighboring homes on Davidson Lane in Northwood County Estates.
Neighbors in Northwood County Estates are also concerned with how existing drainage will tie into Sila’s drainage. Elevations on county drawings and Sila’s drawings differ in places. So residents are asking for confirmation that existing ditches will continue to drain properly.
For the most part, with the exceptions noted above, Friendswood seems to be responsibly navigating the perilous early phase of development between clearing and the installation of drainage.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/4/24
2250 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.