Several deadlines are converging to force a decision on whether to purchase Woodridge Village from Perry Homes and turn it into a giant regional detention pond. Every day that passes makes that deal appear more remote for reasons I will discuss below. Luckily, Elm Grove residents have an option, which I will discuss at the end of this post. But first…
Deadline #1: Detention Ponds Nearing Completion
Contractors for Perry Homes have nearly finished all detention ponds on the site. Last week, they were cementing drainage pipes and pilot channels in place.
Contractors also appeared to be building drainage swales designed to intercept runoff and channel it toward the detention ponds.
These swales were Item #6 on J. Carey Gray’s 10/17/19 letter to the City of Houston Attorney, Ronald Lewis.
Gray is the lawyer for Figure Four Partners, Perry’s development subsidiary. In the letter, Gray promised the last item would be completed in 280 days. 280 days from the date of the letter (October 17th, 2019) is July 24 – this coming Friday.
Perry has said that it would not start building homes and roads until they finished work on detention ponds. With that work done, how much longer will they delay?
Deadline #2: 75 Days from County’s Redefining of Deal
Last week, Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin addressed the Kingwood Executive Group. He said that after the May 19th Commissioners Court meeting in which Commissioners redefined the terms of the purchase, Perry sent a letter saying “you have 75 days or we will sell the property.”
75 days from May 19th is August 2nd.
The City applied for a grant from the TWDB to help pay for its half of the purchase/construction costs. However, the TDWB doesn’t expect to finalize decisions on those until this winter.
Deadline #3: Upcoming Commissioners Court Meeting
The next Harris County Commissioners Court Meeting is July 28th. They don’t meet again until August 11. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle is placing an item on the agenda for next Tuesday to discuss the status of the purchase.
Deadline #4: Perry Says It Has Offer Waiting in Wings
At the same meeting of Kingwood executives, Mr. Martin reported that Perry said it had an offer to buy the property. But he also questioned how firm the offer could be, given all the pending litigation.
Deadline #5: Peak of Storm Season Approaching
Nature always gets the last say. Nature could make everyone involved in this deal look bad if Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest flood again.
- The City for not stepping up to the plate sooner.
- The County for changing the deal.
- And Perry for not following best practices.
We’re now approaching the peak of hurricane season. Beginning in August, storms start to build rapidly. They peak on September 10. See below.
We have two storms approaching now. One south of Louisiana. The other still in the mid-Atlantic.
Overall, says the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the organization of the system off the Texas coast is increasing and it is likely that a tropical depression or storm will form in the next day or two as the system moves generally toward the WNW around 10mph.
Jeff Lindner, Harris County meteorologist predicts it “could drop 1-3 inches with isolated totals of 4-6 inches. Heaviest rains may end up close to the coast, say south of a line from High Island to Wharton. There’s still much uncertainty, although visible images this morning show a better organized system in the Gulf.”
The second storm intensified this morning and was given the name Gonzalo. According to Lindner, Gonzalo may weaken as it moves across the Caribbean Sea if it encounters wind shear. So forecasters have low confidence in intensity predictions. However, “small systems such as Gonzalo can have rapid fluctuations in intensity,” says Lindner. And most models agree on the path.”
Nature, as they say in poker, could soon call everyone’s hand.
Option if Deal Does Not Happen
The amount of detention that Perry has built is 40% short of Atlas 14 guidelines for this area. What happens if the Woodridge Village purchase falls through? Is it the end of Elm Grove? Not necessarily.
However, widening and deepening Taylor Gully could take some time. And there is intense competition for resources right now. That option could not be constructed in time to head off storms for this hurricane season. So keep your fingers crossed.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/22/2020
1058 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 307 since Imelda