Tag Archive for: N2

Contractors Now Working Seven Days Per Week, Dawn to Dusk, on Woodridge Village Detention Ponds

Sunday morning at 8 a.m., Perry contractors we’re busy working on Woodridge Village detention ponds. This came after a Saturday when they stopped working after 6 p.m. Surprisingly, this came even as the threat from Tropical Storm Cristobal moved farther east.

Woodridge Village was implicated in flooding Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest twice last year. Lack of functional detention ponds was one of the key contributors.

Before/After Shots of N2 Channel

After months of relative inactivity, construction has kicked into high gear. Elm Grove resident Jeff Miller took the two shots below from near Mace Street in Porter.

N2 Channel as of 6/4/2020 in afternoon around 5 p.m.
Same channel on 6/6 around 10 a.m.

That’s a lot of dirt to move in a little more than a day! Below is how the same channel looked from the air on Sunday morning.

Looking north along western perimeter of Woodridge Village at channel that connects detention pond N1 with N2.

Below, you can see the general layout of Woodridge Village detention ponds.

Other Sunday Morning Photos

Since the last update, the focus of most construction activity seems to be on two detention ponds along the development’s western border – N1 and N2. As the photos below show, contractors have expanded both ponds as well as the ditches connecting them.

Expansion of the Woodridge Village N1 Pond
Workers are also deepening and widening N2 toward the left above.

Contractors use dirt from the ponds to raise the areas where homes may be built some day.

Dirt from N1 is moving east toward the new Ford Road entrance.

See new Ford Road Entrance through trees at upper right.
Dirt excavated from N2 in the background is also moving east toward the foreground, which is the base of N3. Note also how the grass planted last winter in the souther section (upper left) has all turned brown. This could present an erosion problem in the future.
Grass in the overflow spillway between the concrete-lined portion of Taylor Gully (left) and detention pond S2 has also died.
Looking NE from over S2. Taylor Gully cuts diagonally through the frame from upper left to lower right. Note the vast expanse of treeless, grassless development on the southwest half of the northern section.

End Game Still Not Settled

The fate of Woodridge Village, which is still mired in lawsuits, has not been settled. Practically speaking, Perry Homes has said it could/would:

  1. Sell the land to Harris County Flood Control District to create a regional floodwater detention facility
  2. Develop the property itself
  3. Sell the property to another developer
Regarding Option 1

At the last Harris County Commissioner’s Court meeting, commissioners heaped new demands on the City of Houston. They want the City to actually implement a series of changes related to Atlas-14 in its building codes and ETJ (extra territorial jurisdiction. A mere promise to implement them via an inter-local agreement seems insufficient for the commissioners.

The City must also come up with cash (or land in lieu of cash) to cover half of the construction costs of developing the regional detention basin (not just half of the purchase price of the land). Russ Poppe, Director of Harris County Flood Control estimated the construction costs could total $20 to $30 million, although flood control has reportedly not yet started planning the project.

Regarding Option 2

A web search this morning turned up no new bidding documents for any construction beyond the detention ponds. Previously, Perry Homes and LJA have advertised bid opportunities.

Regarding Option 3

Perry still has a for-sale sign at the Woodland Hills entrance to the property. However, the chances of a third party purchase while lawsuits are pending is remote. Still, the completion of detention ponds makes the property more attractive to another developer with an appetite for risk.

The big problem with Options 2 and 3: Perry Homes rushed to get the plans permitted before Atlas-14. That means, even with detention ponds completed, the detention may not be adequate. Estimates of the shortfall range from 30% to 40%.

As a result, Option 1 provides, by far, the highest margin of safety for flood-weary residents.

Unfortunately, the wheels of government move slowly. Neither the County, nor the City has made a public comment about a possible purchase deal since the last commissioner’s court meeting on May 19. The purchase is not listed on the agenda for the June 9, 2020, meeting.

Posted by Bob Rehak with with thanks to Jeff Miller for photos

1013 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 262 since Imelda

Woodridge Village Pre-Cristobal Detention Pond Update

Perry Home’s new contractors have excavated the vast majority of virtually all three detention ponds on the north section of Woodridge Village. That means they have almost completed 77% of the detention pond capacity for the whole site in two months. The previous contractors completed only 23% in approximately twenty months.

That represents approximately a 30x increase in productivity.

Overview of Woodridge Village Detention Pond Capacity

The pie chart below shows how that capacity breaks down. And the map shows where it is.

Percentage of detention pond capacity in acre feet for each of the five Woodridge Village ponds. Source: LJA Drainage Addendum.
General layout of detention ponds on Perry Homes’ property.

Contractors Scurry as Cristobal Churns in Gulf

Tropical Storm Cristobal could be a game changer next week if it hits Houston. It’s track is far from certain at this point, but the National Hurricane Center still puts Houston within the cone of uncertainty.

Cristobal has the potential to create massive erosion and set the work schedule back. The aerial photos below taken on 6/2/2020 show the current “pre-storm” status of construction for the three northern detention ponds. The two southern detention ponds were completed earlier this year.

N1 Nearing Completion of Excavation

N1 Starts at the northern boundary of the site and runs halfway down the western edge to Mace Street.

Looking north at N1 from Mace Street in Porter to the northern boundary.
The area between the culverts will eventually become an extension of Mace Street (top of photo) which will traverse the entire subdivision to Ford Road on the eastern side.
While some contractors continue excavating, others work on installing concrete pilot channels. Shown here, the pilot channel near Ivy Ridge in Porter.
The northern part of N1 is not yet complete. Contractors still use the Webb Street entrance (upper left as their main access point to the site. Note how height of road dwarfs excavator in pit.

Still Widening and Deepening N2 Pond

The area left of the diagonal road is the expansion of N2. The area near the diagonal embankment is deep enough to conceal trucks and excavators. However, the grassy triangle in the middle left was a previous detention pond constructed my Montgomery County in the early 2000s.
Contractors are deepening the MoCo pond a small amount to create additional storage capacity. The dirt is being used to build up other portions of the site.
Looking north along the western boundary from the southern part of the grassy triangle. Much work remains to extend the N1 channel south to N2. Jeff Miller reported today that contractors started working on this this morning.
On 6.3.20, contractors were removing dirt from the northward extention of N2 with three dump trucks running in a relay fashion. Photo courtesy of Jeff Miller.
Twin culverts installed in Taylor Gully will control outflow rates from N1 and N2.

N3 All Excavated

N3 cuts down the eastern side of Woodridge Village and joins Taylor Gully right above S2.

Looking north. Excavation of N3 appears complete although few of the finishing touches have yet been installed.
Looking south at the main body of N3.
N3 widens out about halfway down the eastern border.
Then it narrows down again to help control outflow speed as it approaches the junction with Taylor Gully.
Water from the entire site converges here. Erosion patterns, fence damage and grass matting show this is where the overflow started that contributed to the flooding of Elm Grove (right) and North Kingwood Forest (left) twice last year.

The pile of dirt in the picture above could be shoved into the connecting channel in the event that Cristobal should strike Houston. That would then help retain water in N3 until after the storm.

All the runoff from the approximately 200-acre northern portion of the site converges here and tries to make its way through a 3-foot culvert at the end of the concrete channel.

Uncertain Still Surrounds Corner of Chaos

Some Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest residents have called the complex flow patterns in the photo above “The Corner of Chaos.”

Overflow from the concrete lined channel is supposed to go into the kite-shaped S2 pond, and then through the twin culverts into Taylor Gully. However, a hydrology consultant for the plaintiffs in flooding lawsuits contends that floodwaters went the other way. They escaped out of the inflow channel, he says. He further claims that LJA Engineering failed to model the performance of that connecting channel.

Diagram from consultant’s report.

If the design of the flow at this “Corner of Chaos” is flawed, there’s little contractors can do to fix that at this point without some major re-engineering.

In that regard, we should also remember that LJA designed these ponds before Atlas 14, so they will only hold approximately 60% of a 100-year rainfall as defined by Atlas 14 standards adopted in Harris County.

How Contractors are Temporarily Funneling Water into Ponds

Because storm drains are not yet installed, contractors are relying on temporary channels to intercept runoff and direct it to detention ponds.

Small ditches like one on right catch runoff and direct it to ponds for the time being.

Next Steps in Completing Detention Ponds

A modest amount of excavation remains to complete the full detention pond capacity.

But the capacity already in place should reduce flood risk compared to last year by more than 3X for storms equivalent to May 7 and September 19, 2019.

As some crews focus on completing excavation, others are putting the finishing touches on ponds. Those include concrete pilot channels, backslope interceptor swales, drain pipes, and culverts to control the rate of outflow.

Racing Against Hurricane Season

At this point, contractors are racing against time and the hurricane season. Cristobal underscores the risk of having waited for months to begin the three northern detention ponds in April. Had they begun them immediately after J. Carey Gray’s letter to Mayor Turn in October, they could easily have finished by now.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/4/2020 with thanks to Jeff Miller

1010 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 258 since Imelda

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.

Update on Woodridge Village Detention Ponds After Recent Heavy Rains

After six months of virtual inactivity, Perry Homes’ new Woodridge Village contractors have significantly stepped up work on three detention ponds. All detention ponds are on the northern section of the development. However, recent heavy rains have saturated the soil. The rain also filled two of the three ponds one-third to one-half full. The result: a big muddy mess.

Tuesday, according to Elm Grove resident Jeff Miller, only one excavator was moving. It was trying to let water out of the N1 pond so that work could continue.

Twelve Aerial Photos Taken on Memorial Day

Below are 12 aerial photos of the site taken on Memorial Day, 5/25/2020.

Looking north along the western boundary of Woodridge at the tail of the N1 Pond.
Further north, you can see where work has stopped on the tail of N1 (foreground), the Webb Street Entrance in Porter (left), and the N1 pond itself are at the top.

The N1 pond has the least development. Most work to date has focused on the tail. That’s presumably so contractors can keep the entrance to the site open. N1 will probably be the last pond they finish. And they will probably complete it only after they develop a second entrance to the site off Ford Road (see below).

Only Work Tuesday Was Trying To Drain N1

Looking south along the western boundary from over N1, you can see where the tail ends. The tiny trench letting water out of the tail slows down water. It will eventually be replaced by the four-foot culverts you see on the left.

That tiny trench is where the excavator was working today.

Site Holds More Water than N2 Detention Pond

Still looking south, but further down the western boundary, we can see the old and new portions of the N2 detention pond. It is not currently holding much water because contractors have already opened up the sides. That allows water to escape into Taylor Gully (top center).

Note how there’s more water on the site than in N2.
Closer shot shows how workers opened up N2 to Taylor Gully (left of top center). They also continue to widen and deepen the pond toward the upper right corner.
Rotating about 90 degrees, we can see how saturated the soil is. The northern portion of the site contains an amazing amount of standing water that isn’t yet able to reach the detention ponds.

The northern portion of the site is roughly 200 acres. Assuming an average of three inches of standing water (one quarter foot), that means the northern portion may contain 50 acre-feet of standing water!

Taylor Gully Did Not Appear to Overflow

Looking southeast at North Kingwood Forest (left) and Elm Grove Village (right), areas where hundreds of homes flooded twice last year.
A closer shot shows where water in Taylor Gully, when high, is forced to make multiple turns within a few hundred yards to bypass a 3 foot pipe that connects the channel on either side of the county line. Luckily, water did not reach the overflow spillway from the concrete-lined channel during recent heavy rains, according to Jeff Miller.

N3 Pond Greatly Reduced Flow in Taylor Gully

The pond below (N3) sits directly above the portion of Taylor Gully that flooded Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest twice last year. The vast majority of this excavation took place earlier this month.

Rotating to the northeast, you can see the N3 detention pond, now mostly excavated. Miller estimates it’s still one half to one third full.
Traveling up the eastern side of Woodridge, we can see tremendous erosion along the banks of N3. Those parallel stripes running down the sides of the pond are called rilling, shallow channels cut in the surface of soil by running water.

Simply Excavating Ponds Does Not Mean They Are Complete

Above, you can see that contractors did not yet have backslope interceptor swales in place. Nor did they have the pipes installed to channel intercepted runoff to the detention pond. Accordingly, runoff went over the edges of the pond and washed sediment into it.

The ponds will not be complete until backslope interceptor swales and pipes have been installed and grass planted along the edges of the ponds to prevent future rilling. The ponds also need concrete pilot channels to prevent erosion in the areas of constant use.

New Entrance on East

The new entrance to the subdivision (background below) will be an extension of Mace Street in Porter on the West. It will connect to Ford Road on the East.

Looking straight east from the top of N3. Note two things: a channel designed to funnel standing water to N3 and the new entrance to the subdivision cut into the woods in the distance.

Mace enters the western side of the subdivision just to the left of that silver roof in the distance of the shot below.

Looking directly west across Woodridge Village while hovering over N3 on the eastern border.

Why You Don’t Build On Wetlands

The last image above shows why you don’t buy homes built over wetlands, even if the Army Corps ruled that the wetlands weren’t jurisdictional. Any homes built here would likely have foundation problems from shifting soils. Of course, by then, the builder would be long gone.

In reviewing the complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau against Perry Homes, most of them had to do with failure to honor warranties. Digging deeper, you can see many of the underlying complaints had to do with drainage, flooding, mold, and mildew.

There may be a connection between the type of property Perry develops and the problems that customers later develop. If Perry builds on this property, I pity any poor unsuspecting customers who fail to research its history.

No New Statements on Potential County Buyout

To my knowledge, neither Harris County, the City of Houston, nor Perry Homes have issued any public statements about the status of a buyout of this property. Harris County Flood Control District was considering using it to build a regional flood-detention facility. But County Commissioners added new conditions on any buyout in their last meeting.

Twice-flooded residents in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest eagerly await new details on the deal. Even if Perry completes work on all the ponds, it will likely not be enough to handle a true hundred-year rainfall event.

Ponds Still Would Not Likely Detain Hundred-Year Rain

Perry rushed to get plans permitted before new Atlas-14 rainfall standards went into effect. They would have required 30% to 40% more detention than the plans that the City and Montgomery County approved.

In the meantime, though, the new detention ponds will greatly reduce the risk of flooding from lesser storms. Also, the National Weather Service has reduced the risk of rain in the next several days. That may give Woodridge Village time to dry out and downstream residents time to catch up on their sleep.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/27/2020 with reporting from Jeff Miller

1002 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.

Perry Homes Extends Deadline for Woodridge Purchase as Construction Ratchets Up

J. Carey Gray, lawyer for Figure Four Partners, a Perry Homes subsidiary, sent a letter to Harris County, City of Houston and State officials on April 15th. The letter extends to May 15th the County’s deadline for pulling a deal together to purchase Woodridge Village.

Conditions for a Deal

At the last Commissioner’s Court meeting, Harris County requested two things before consummating a deal in addition to a deadline extension from Perry Homes:

  • Land in lieu of a cash contribution from the City to help complete HCFCD projects and offset part of the County’s purchase price
  • Changes in the Montgomery County Drainage Criteria Manual, including Atlas-14 compliance. Closing the detention pond loophole was also mentioned.

See Russ Poppe, Executive Director of Harris County Flood Control District at approximately 7:33:45 in this video of the Harris County Commissioner’s Court meeting.

Construction Resumed Day after Meeting

The day after the commissioners’ meeting, Perry resumed construction on the Woodridge Village site.

A flyover of the site Tuesday, 4/21/2020, revealed that Perry contractors now have at least 30 pieces of earth-moving equipment at Woodridge Village. That’s compared to about 20 a week ago. Contractors are:

  • Expanding the N2 Detention pond and taking dirt to fill in low areas elsewhere around the site.
  • Blocking out new roads
  • Pouring concrete
  • Installing culverts.

Construction Pictures from Tuesday, 4/21/2020

The pictures below show the activity.

Looking south across Woodridge Village from northern boundary along western boundary at Webb Street Entrance in Porter.
Looking SE. Closer shot of work on N2 detention pond. Dirt from pond is filling former wetlands on left.
Grassy area in bottom right is portion of N2 pond built by MoCo in 2005 for another project.
Some excavated dirt from N2 is being used to fill the bog along Woodland Hills Drive near Kingwood Park High School
New section of concrete poured this morning north of Sherwood Trails
More concrete poured this morning north of Fair Grove in Elm Grove Village. Note: still no berm between S1 pond (center bottom) and S2 pond (upper right).
Culverts being installed along Taylor Gully where it cuts through Woodridge Village
Outlines of roads taking shape.
Dirt from pond is filling in wetlands, left.
Culverts about to be set in concrete.
Workers appear to be building a concrete pilot channel in the middle of the expanded N2 pond.
An assembly line of trucks carried more dirt away from N2, which is relentlessly expanding.

Text of Letter from Perry Lawyer

Despite all this activity, Lawyer Gray promises that if Harris County can pull together a deal, the additional costs will not affect Perry’s purchase price.

Gray also says that Perry continues to seek a private buyer. And that it hopes to have detention ponds completed by summer of 2020 (presumably if the purchase does not go through). See the full text of Gray’s letter below or download this printable PDF.

Page 1
Page 2

Draw your own conclusions from the letter and the construction, and keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/22/2020

967 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 216 since Imelda

Perry Homes Expanding N2 Detention Pond on Woodridge Village Site; Also Building Up Low Areas

On Wednesday, Perry Homes resumed construction on the Woodridge Village Site in two areas: adjacent to the N2 detention pond and along Woodland Hills Drive. Today, we know more about the nature of the construction activity next to N2 thanks to receipt of construction plans from Montgomery County on Thursday morning. The plans were part of a Freedom of Information Act Request.

N2 Detention Pond Expanding North and East

The new plans show an expansion of the N2 pond to the north and the east. In the satellite image below, “A” represents the original N2 pond which Montgomery County built 15 years ago. “B” represents the approximate expansion area which will be about 8 to 10 feet deep.

A = Original N2 Pond. B = Expansion Area.

City of Houston approved the plans on 3/17/2020, according to this inspection report dated 3/30. Montgomery County approved them the same day according to the County Engineer’s stamp on the plans. Below, see what the same area looked like from a helicopter before construction started.

“Work” indicates where excavation started on Wednesday. Excavation in the area labeled “N2” pre-dates Perry’s ownership of the land.

See below what the N2 area area looked like on Good Friday morning, two days AFTER construction started. Compared to the photo above, contractors took out the crescent shaped row of trees on Thursday. They also started excavating the expansion area.

Looking south at N2. Note: trees are gone. Expansion area is about one-quarter to one-third excavated in two days. See pond in upper left. Photo courtesy Matt Swint.

Part of the dirt from this excavation work went to fill in former wetland areas in the foreground of the image above.

Here’s the same area looking west from a vantage point farther south over Taylor Gully. The area between the old pond and the expansion area still needs excavation. Photo courtesy Matt Swint.
Height of excavator is about equal to depth of pond. Water in pond is due to a one-inch rain late yesterday. Photo looking west courtesy of Matt Swint.
Layout of subdivision immediately north and south of triangular-shaped N2.

Also Filling Low Area Along Woodland Hills

A” represents N2 and the expansion area. “B” is the area along Woodland Hills where other contractors used part of the excavated dirt to fill in boggy areas.
This shows new fill in Area B from photo above.

Two reports (Wednesday and yesterday) from other sources suggested that Harris County was responsible for this work. However, a call to Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle’s assistant this morning indicated the County is NOT involved in this construction activity.

New Contractors On Job

Note filled area in background adjacent to Woodland Hills Drive. Logo on truck and other equipment parked there today reads “D&J Construction.”
Logo on equipment parked today at the northern Webb Street entrance indicates that Allgood Construction is working on the excavation, one of their specialties.

Plans show that detention pond N1 will eventually go where these trucks are now parked.

I counted six pieces of equipment on the southern section of Woodridge and at least 12 on the northern section, including those above. By my count, that’s a record. I’ve never seen so much earth-moving equipment on this site at one time.

Listing Sign Still Up

A sign at the Woodland Hills entrance today indicated that the Perry property is still listed for sale.

Sign adjacent to Woodland Hills entrance to Perry property indicates that Land Advisors is acting as property broker. Photographed Friday, 4/10/2020.

Due to the Easter weekend, with most staff off, Commissioner Cagle’s office could not reply today about the status of negotiations with Montgomery County, the City of Houston, and Perry Homes to purchase the property.

In their meeting Tuesday, Harris County commissioners discussed trying to negotiate Atlas-14 compliance and closure of the “beat the peak” loophole with Montgomery County. As a contribution from the City, they also requested land in lieu of cash to help defray costs on other Flood Control projects.

Two More Detention Ponds Planned But Not Started

The City and MoCo previously approved plans for N1 and N3, two other detention ponds on the northern section of Woodridge Village. Contractors have not yet started excavating those.

Looking south on eastern boundary toward Elm Grove, where the N3 detention pond will go. Work has not yet started here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/10/2020 with help from Matt Swint

955 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 204 after Imelda

Perry Homes Resumes Construction of Woodridge Village Day After County Commissioners Fail to Reach Deal

In March, the City of Houston publicly refused to participate financially in any purchase of Perry Homes’ Woodridge Village property. Perry Homes then gave other parties still negotiating (i.e., Harris County) an end-of-month deadline. Perry extended that a week when it appeared that Harris County Commissioners might come up with the cash. However, when the Commissioners failed to reach agreement late last night, Perry resumed construction Wednesday morning.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle and HCFCD had hoped to create a large scale detention basin to reduce Elm Grove and East Fork flooding. The resumption of construction makes that less likely now.

Reports Start Flowing In of Massive Construction Activity

All morning, I received reports of construction activity on the site. Near Woodland Hills. Near the N2 detention pond. Near the Webb Street entrance in Porter.

It’s hard to imagine how Perry could react so fast. Then it occurred to me. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe this was in response to promises they made to Mayor Turner last October.

Perry’s Promise to the City

It took Perry four months to finish Item 2, not 30-45 days. They haven’t started on Item 3 yet.

In February, I reported that LJA Engineering was soliciting bids to build the additional detention ponds for Perry mentioned in the letter above. Here is the invitation to bidders.

I also found this record of a City of Houston inspection dated 3/9/2020. It stated that work on the additional detention ponds was supposed to start on 3/16. It didn’t.

But Elm Grove resident Jeff Miller informed me today that Perry had started mobilizing construction equipment last week (see below) near the N1 pond. Thus, all the evidence started to support the theory that Perry was just executing the next phase of its promise to the Mayor when Commissioners failed to reach agreement last night.

Equipment staged near site of N1 Detention Pond on Perry Homes’ Woodridge Village. Photo taken 4/6/2020 by Jeff Miller.

Promises and Construction Activity Not Adding Up

One thing doesn’t quite add up, however – where the contractor started working today.

If Perry was fulfilling its promises to Turner, workers should have been excavating detention ponds. But they worked elsewhere, in planned residential areas near Woodland Hills Drive and adjacent to, but not in, the N2 detention pond.

N2 Detention Pond is second pond in northern section at SW corner. See triangular area in center and compare to photo below.

Here are the approved plans for the N2 Detention Pond.

If Perry intended to work on the N2 Detention pond, they were in the wrong place. What were they doing?

The area labeled N2 in the photo above looks as though it has already been excavated. It was. By Montgomery County 15 years ago. Most likely as offsite detention for another project. According to plans, Perry was supposed to deepen this area to increase detention capacity. It has not yet done so. And that may have contributed to Elm Grove flooding.

However, instead of starting to deepen the pond today, or excavate N1 as Perry’s letter suggested they would, workers appeared to focus elsewhere. They worked on the other side of the tree line that separates N2 from the residential area. See above and below.

Shooting in a southerly direction toward the end of the crescent-shaped line of trees above. Note how excavation is taking place in front of the trees, not behind them. This work is not in the planned N2 pond, it’s in an area that was planned for residential.
As I left the area, more equipment arrived at Webb Street entrance.
Construction activity was also evident near Woodland Hills Drive opposite Kingwood Park High School.

More Theories Than Answers At This Point

There’s no telling what’s going on. LJA, Perry and the City have not returned calls. The County was strangely silent today when notified of the construction activity.

  • Is Perry expanding the detention pond to comply with Atlas-14 standards? That would be a pleasant surprise!
  • If Perry planned to extend the N2 pond behind the trees all along, why did they leave the trees when they cleared and grubbed the rest of the site?
  • Why are they working by Woodland Hills?
  • Did Perry skip to Item #6 (swales) on their lawyer’s letter to the City?
  • Why did they not start with Pond N1 as their letter suggested?
  • Have they given up on a deal with the county or a sale to private interests?
  • Have they abandoned their promises to the Mayor?
  • Are they forging ahead with construction of their development?
  • Are they playing poker with the County?
  • Or are they just trying to get more detention capacity in before the rainy season starts?

Actions Reveal Intent More than Words

Regardless of the answers, there’s a truth to actions that’s often obscured by words.

The location of construction activity makes it appear that Perry has decided to forge ahead with the development of Woodridge Village.

Unfortunately, that could make a potential deal more remote. That will add to cost that Perry likely demands for a deal. Perhaps millions. And cost formed the primary barrier to consummating a deal last night.

Worse yet, there’s no assurance that anything Perry is currently doing to the site will further HCFCD’s goals for the property.

If there was an innocent explanation for all this, no one volunteered it Wednesday.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/8/2020 with help from Jeff Miller

953 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 202 since Imelda

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.

Only 23% of Woodridge Village Detention Ponds Now Functional

One month into the 2019 hurricane season, only about 23 percent of the Woodridge Village Detention Ponds have been substantially excavated and have outflow control devices installed. At the time of the May 7th Elm Grove flood, that percentage was only 9 percent. So in a little less than 2 months, Rebel Contractors has more than doubled the percentage completed. However, as we head toward the peak of hurricane season, approximately three quarters of the detention capacity remains unexcavated, dysfunctional, or both.

Contractors also have yet to finish grading, planting, and cementing portions of the ponds that they have excavated.

Only 2 of 5 Detention Ponds Substantially Excavated

The first phase of the 268-acre Woodridge Village shows a total of 4 detention ponds. But Rebel Contractors has excavated only two on the southern end so far: S1 and S2.

Together they provide a total of 49 acre-feet of storage. Pond N1 has not yet been excavated and Pond N2 does not yet have an outflow control device that will retain the water upstream from Elm Grove.

Detention for Phase 1 of Woodridge Village

In Phase 1, Pond N2, has no additional excavation. Existing excavation was done by Montgomery County starting in 2006. The county removed approximately 3-4 feet of dirt in a 20 acre area. Ultimately, N2 will be the largest pond in the development with 154.7 acre feet of detention. Note: the figures quoted below differ slightly from those I quoted earlier because LJA Engineers presents conflicting data in its Drainage Impact Analysis for Montgomery County. See pages 7 and 54.

Ultimate Detention for Woodridge Village from Page 7 of the document titled Report Addendum-2027-1002. N2 currently covers about 10 acres to a depth of 6-8 feet. However, it will be enlarged and deepened so that it holds 154.7 acre feet. That’s more than half of all the detention on the property.

Ultimately, the 5 ponds will have a total of 271 acre feet of storage. An acre foot covers one acre to a depth of one foot. So the five ponds will hold a little more than one foot of rainfall per acre of development.

Woodridge Village Detention by Pond in Ultimate Phase

That means, 12 inches of water should be able to fall on the entire development without flooding any adjoining properties. But with only 23% of detention functional (S2 – green, and S1 – blue), that 12 inches of detention is effectively reduced to 3 inches right now.

How Much is Functional and Where?

The bullet points and pie chart below summarize the total storage and current status of each pond as of July 1, 2019. The figures for acre-feet are taken from the map above representing the ultimate phase of development.

  • N1 = 13.2 acre feet (not started)
  • N2 = 154.7 acre feet (started by Montgomery County circa 2002, but is not fully excavated, nor is there any outflow control device installed to detain water upstream of Elm Grove)
  • N3 = 42 acre feet (does not appear to be started)
  • S1 = 18.6 acre feet (mostly functioning, but not fully finished)
  • S2 = 42.5 acre feet (mostly functioning, but not fully finished)
  • Total detention when complete = 271 acre feet
  • Total detention not functional as of July 1, 2019 = 77%

Photos and Video of S2 as of End of June 2019

Jeff Miller shot his video of S2, the pond immediately north of Village Springs in Elm Grove. It shows what progress looked like at the end of June. The pond has been widened by sloping the sides even more since the last update.

Video of Woodridge Village Detention Pond S2 shot from north of Village Springs in Elm Grove at end of June. Courtesy of Jeff Miller.
This shot, also by Jeff Miller, gives you a sense of the scale of the S2 detention pond. Remember, as large as it looks, it’s only designed to hold 16% of the runoff above it.
Taylor Gulley below the concrete box culvert that controls the outflow from S2 is becoming badly silted. Those openings are each supposed to be 10′ x 6′. They look far less than that right now because of the sediment.

N2 Will Contain More than Half of All Detention

Google Earth image showing the triangular shaped N2 detention area in March of 2011. This land was partially excavated by Montgomery County circa 2006-2012. The developer plans to widen and deepen it, but has not done so yet.
Google Earth image showing same area in February of 2019. According to MCAD-tx.org, Montgomery County still owns the triangular area that will become Detention Pond N2.
This is what N2 looked like at the end of May. It had not changed since the May 7th flood.
N2 from the reverse angle looking south on 7/1/19. Still no appreciable change.

N1 – Still No Excavation

This is where the N1 detention pond should be on the north section near the Webb Street entrance. No excavation in sight.

N3 – Still No Excavation Visible

Likewise, no excavation is visible near where the N3 pond should be.

Much More to Come Per Hydrologist’s Report

In Phase 1, Figure Four, a subsidiary of PSWA and Perry Homes, will develop 30 acres in the northern section and 58 acres in southern section. Ponds N1, S1 and S2 are to be built during this phase.

The hydrologist notes that a portion of N2 is already in place (although there is nothing there yet to detain the water upstream from Elm Grove). She also notes that:

  • N2 will be widened during the Ultimate phase
  • A pilot channel within N2 and  the E-W channel immediately downstream will be graded during Phase 1 to provide flow-line continuity with other proposed structures.
  • A concrete lined channel on the eastern side of the subdivision will be extended 150′ between the E-W junction and a 36″ plastic pipe.

Much work remains before their tables and charts on water flow can be used.

Remember, per their own report, the larger portion of Woodridge Village is in the north. It comprises two thirds of the development and the ground there slopes 10 times greater than the southern portion. (1 degree vs.  0.1 degrees).

The Woods are Gone, But We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet

As Elm Grove resident Jeff Miller said, “It sure seems to me that once they clear cut the north, that the potential for flooding rose exponentially.”

Let’s see!

  • More clear-cut area.
  • No functional detention.
  • Sloping toward Elm Grove.
  • And only one fourth of the total detention installed on the southern section.

I would agree.

As we approach the second anniversary of Harvey in 7 weeks, everybody on the periphery of this development is on edge…no pun intended.

Montgomery County needs development rules that protect neighbors from such development practices.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/1/19 with help from Jeff Miller

671 Days since Hurricane Harvey

All thoughts expressed in this post are matters of opinion and safety involving public policy. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.