Tag Archive for: protest letter

Now or Never: Friday is Last Day to Protest High-Rise Development in Floodplain Near River Grove Park

Only five more days remain to protest the proposed high-rise development near River Grove Park. The deadline for public comments? Friday, March 1.

About the High-Rise Development

Two developers from Mexico have bought up land east of Woodland Hills between Kingwood Lakes and the San Jacinto River. They hope to build 5000 condos, a retail mail, parking for 8,800 vehicles (some below ground), commercial high-rises, residential high-rises, a 50-story hotel, and a marina for 640 boats and 200 jet-skis.

Altogether, they plan to build more than 3 million square feet of residential, commercial and retail space around the Barrington. To put that in perspective, it’s roughly three times the size of Deerbrook Mall … at the end of a dead end street … four miles from the nearest highway. On the edge of the floodway. In an old meander of the San Jacinto. Without any consideration for the traffic it would add to Kingwood Drive. Or dedicating any land for additional school facilities.

What Corps and TCEQ are Considering

The Army Corps of Engineers and TCEQ are currently reviewing the developer’s proposal. The Corps is evaluating the impact of adding up to 12 feet of fill to wetlands and streams in the area against the need for the project. They also review more than a dozen other “public interest” factors, such as safety, environmental impact, navigation on the San Jacinto, sedimentation, and potential to worsen flooding. The TCEQ is evaluating water-quality issues only.

For More Information

To read more about the controversy swirling around this project, review the “High-Rises” Page of this web site. On it, you will find links to the Army Corps’ Public Notice describing the project as well as sample letters that other groups and individuals have already written. You will also find a series of posts that I have written to give you more background about the proposal and the people behind it.

The developers refused multiple requests for a public meeting to answer questions about the project, such as how they intended to get around “single family residential” deed restrictions and height requirements in Kingwood’s commercial development guidelines.

Instead, to communicate their vision, they are relying on a series of promotional websites with information that often conflicts with the Public Notice and ignore the public’s concerns. (See VTRUSA.com, RomericaGroup.com, AmericanVisionEB5.com, Torrisi-Procopio.com, YouTube, and TheHeronsKingwood.com).

If you have concerns about this development, please register them NOW with the TCEQ and Army Corps.

It May Be Now or Never!

Dave Martin, Houston City Council Member for District E, has stated that the City has no power to stop this development. In fact, the City has already issued a permit to begin excavation of the marina. So the Army Corps may be your best hope to stop this project.

Please send this post to all your friends, neighbors, relatives, kids, etc. Have them write letters, too. If you have already submitted a letter and have thought of new concerns, you may submit an additional letter.

Email Preferred to Snail Mail

Make sure you include the project number in the subject line of your email. It’s the same for either group: SWG-2016-00384.

Army Corps




As always, the thoughts in these posts represent my opinions on matters of public policy. They are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP statute of the great State of Texas.

Posted by Bob Rehak on February 25, 2019

545 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Rehak Letter about Proposed High-Rise Development Spells Out New Concerns

For the past six weeks, I’ve struggled to understand what the Army Corps considers when reviewing a new permit application. I have also struggled to organize everything I learned about the high-rise project, and the applicant. My protest letter re: Public Notice SWG-2016-00384 will be emailed today. It’s too long to include within the body of this post, so I’m going to include a summary here and a link to a PDF of the entire letter.

Water skiing, anyone? Photo by Sidney Nice of Atascocita Point after Harvey.
Imagine trying to evacuate 640 40-boats before a storm. The biggest threat to water quality is the one thing in this development that needs to be near the river: the marina.

Main Concerns

My main concerns are:

  1. This development appears to violate legally binding deed restrictions. We can find no documents registered with the county clerk that legally change allowable land use from “single family residential” to commercial, retail and hotel high rises.
  2. An article in International Appraiser lists these developers among EB-5 regional centers touting fake projects.
  3. Although the developers claim to have development experience, they have shown none. 
  4. Dunn & Bradstreet lists Romerica Investments, LLC (the applicant) as having no sales, no assets, no working phone, and being out of business. Romerica Investments also does not own the property for which it seeks the permit. 
  5. The developers many websites touting this project appear to violate rules from the SEC, FTC, FINRA, National Association of Realtors, and Texas Real Estate Commission governing real-estate investment advertising. See letter section 15 (e) XX on page 15.
  6. The developers are foreigners who operate through a maze of companies that makes it hard to understand whom the community is dealing with.
  7. The developers are being sued by investors for fraud. 
  8. They have provided no market research to demonstrate a need for this kind of development in the Kingwood area. The little market research we found raises serious concerns about their experience, due diligence, the feasibility of this project, and whether it would be economically viable.
  9. The developers propose to build high-rises in an area that will soon be reclassified as floodway. Moreover, the river is migrating toward this property at a rate that could soon destroy it. This raises significant concerns about public safety, flood risk, evacuation, and the stability of buildings.
  10. If approved, this development will destroy bald eagle habitat, impair water quality, increase erosion, and worsen flooding.
  11. Developers have not responded to multiple requests to meet to clear up questions.

Needs and Welfare of the People

Many environmental, wildlife, flooding, and conservation concerns have been expressed in previous letters by the Sierra Club, Galveston Bay Foundation, KSA and others. I recap most of those and add a few. But I also have spent much time researching a category called “Needs and Welfare of the People.”

One huge thing I believe we need: Confidence in the legitimacy of the developers.

Their refusal so far to appear at a public meeting to answer questions about their development raised red flags. I found many others. Four pages worth. See pages 16-19 in the letter. A small sampling:

The people of Kingwood don’t need another Gucci outlet as much as they need freedom from flooding. I therefore called for a moratorium on all flood plain permitting until flood mitigation measures can be put in place and safety restored.


Any one of these factors by itself might be sufficient to deny the permit request. Taken together, they leave no doubt; the negatives far outweigh any positives. According to Army Corps guidelines, the permit must therefore be denied. Too many questions remain unanswered about the developers and the development to approve this permit.

Sending Copies to Other Agencies

In addition to the Army Corps, I am copying:

  • TCEQ
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • EPA
  • Congressman Dan Crenshaw
  • Senator John Cornyn
  • Senator Ted Cruz
  • Houston City Council Member Dave Martin
  • Harris County Flood Control
  • FBI

Only 3 Weeks Left to Register Your Objections

Deadline: March 1. If you haven’t yet sent your letter, please do so right away. Only 400 letters have been received so far by the Corps. Time is running out. You can download the full text of my letter. You can review and download other sample letters here. Feel free to copy any portions of the letters that reflect your concerns.

Or send them in their entirety and say, “I agree!” Here’s a customizable word.doc that you can download and send. Remember to insert your name and contact information on the first page and your name again on the last page. You can then send it by clicking on the links in the letter.

I am sending my letter only in a digital format because of all the hyperlinks embedded in it.

Emailed Letters Preferred

The recipients have expressed a desire for electronic versions over paper copies anyway. Electronic makes it easier for them to forward and file the documents; no scanning necessary.

As always, the thoughts in the letter and this post represent my opinions on matters of public interest. They are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP statute of the Great State of Texas.

Posted on February 9, 2019 by Bob Rehak

529 Days since Hurricane Harvey