Tag Archive for: Signorelli

Signorelli Developing Another 3,000 Acres Near Splendora

The Signorelli Company (TSC) of The Woodlands, which developed Valley Ranch, has purchased another 3,000 acres of land near Splendora. The tract will become a master-planned community with more than 7,000 single-family homes in East Montgomery County. Located north of FM 2090 and west of Daw Collins Rd., the new development will be 15 minutes from Valley Ranch and five minutes west of Interstate 69. 

Senior VP Mike Miller said, “We planned the community to provide a unique lifestyle for residents – outside with nature. We are confident the amenities will attract a variety of homebuyers.” 

Amenities will include hundreds of acres of open space, numerous parks, miles of meandering trails, and various recreation areas.

TSC will break ground this fall, with the first phase of single-family homesites delivered by the end of 2023. Upon completion, the community will also have one million square feet of multi-family, office, medical, retail and hospitality space.

Maps of Area

According to Signorelli, new homes will range from the $250s to $700s. Signorelli did not announce a name for the development. Planning is still underway.

Location of new Signorelli development in SE Montgomery County. Map from Houston Business Journal.
Approximate area of Signorelli Development from Google Earth.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Watershed Viewer indicates that the West Fork of Spring Branch and Gully Branch drain most of this area.

Google Earth (above) shows that dense forests cover most of the area, with a few small, scattered farms and ranches. I drove there today to get a closer look. My initial impressions were correct. Gorgeous, secluded country homes on large acreage dot the areas surrounding Signorelli’s land. See below.

Looking west from Daw Collins Road and pipeline corridor. Until now, the area has been home to scattered small ranches and farms, secluded in the forest. Photo taken 6/4/2022.
Looking north from same location. Daw Collins Road on right. Sam Houston National Forest in distance. Photo taken 6/4/2022.

Virtually all of this forest is in some kind of floodplain. See FEMA map below.

Much of Land in Floodplains

FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer View shows that large parts of the Signorelli site are in the floodway (striped), 100-year floodplain (aqua) or 500-year floodplain (brown). Photo above this map was taken looking north from red dotted circle.

Keep in mind that the flood map above is based on 2014, pre-Atlas 14 data. The floodplains will expand even further when FEMA updates the flood map.

Current Residents Worry About Development’s Impact on Flooding

I talked to one lady today who lived near the clearing (shown in the first drone photo above) for 55 years. She said she never flooded in all that time. But she worries that she will now. She understood intuitively how the acceleration of runoff from developments, if not properly mitigated, can result in higher flood peaks. She also worried that changes to the slope of the land around her might funnel water toward her property, just as Valley Ranch did to some surrounding homes and businesses.

Only time will tell if her fears are founded. Based on the FEMA flood map above, it appears that Signorelli will need to move a significant amount of earth to elevate homes above floodplains. Signorelli will also likely need to create many detention ponds for an area this large.

Say Goodbye to the Era of Country Retreats

One thing is certain, however. The era of country retreats in this area is history.

The Houston Business Journal published an article on the Signorelli development last week. It listed seven new master-planned developments going in nearby. But the list didn’t even include the closest two, Townsend Reserve and Splendora Crossing on FM2090, about a mile to the southeast and immediately south of Splendora High School. Those have already consumed at least another thousand acres of forest. More on those tomorrow.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/5/2022

1741 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Developer Seeks City Approval to Expand Commons of Lake Houston into Floodplain – Without Detention Ponds

Clarification: General plans, as described below, are primarily about street layouts. However, many people have been trying to raise awareness at the Planning Commission that street patterns are affected to a significant degree by the volume and and layout of drainage and detention features. And, of course with Atlas 14 that is more true than ever. Danny Signorelli, CEO of the Signorelli Companies, took issue with this post. I offered him an opportunity to print a rebuttal verbatim. He refused the offer.

Signorelli Companies have filed a general plan with City of Houston Planning Commission for a new development on the San Jacinto East Fork. It’s called “Crossing at the Commons of Lake Houston.”

Second Time Around for Developer

According to residents in other parts of the Commons, Signorelli tried to develop this property before and reportedly wanted to add 4-6 feet of fill to the floodplain. It’s not yet clear what they have in mind for this iteration of the project. However, comparing the general plan to FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer shows that parts of the development are still in the flood plain. (See below.)

No Detention Ponds Shown on Plans

The general plan filed with the planning commission also shows that the developer shows no plans for detention ponds on the property. A best practice to reduce flooding is to “retain your rain.”

General plan filed with the City of Houston Planning Commission shows no detention ponds. For a large, high res PDF, click here.


Here are satellite and close-up views of where the new subdivision would be relative to the the surrounding area and existing parts of the development.

Crossing At the Commons of Lake Houston is in the Huffman area opposite Lake Houston Park and East End Park on the west side of the East Fork.
Crossing at the Commons of Lake Houston relative to existing streets in the Commons. From General Plan inset.

Floodplain Issues

Parts of the proposed development will be in the floodplain. And those floodplains will soon expand to include even more homes. See the two dotted lines below.

Close up of PDF above shows how 100-year floodplain (dotted line on left) and 500-year (dotted line on right) would impact proposed homesites. Note the drainage easement in the lower left.
FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer shows parts of the proposed new 75.3-acre subdivision would be in the 100- and 500-year floodplain.

Ironically, just last night, the City of Houston and its partners (Harris County Flood Control, Montgomery County and the SJRA) presented a draft of the findings of the San Jacinto River Master Drainage Plan. In it, they recommended avoiding flood plain development to keep people out of harm’s way. See slide below from their presentation.

Slide from San Jacinto River Master Drainage Plan Draft Report shows how adding fill to flood plains can affect other homes in area.

The presenter also discussed how the floodplains were expanding due to revisions of flood maps based on new hydraulic and hydrologic modeling not yet been shared with FEMA.

The 100-year flood plain in many areas will like expand well into the 500. And the 500-year flood plain will likely expand into areas previously not shown in ANY floodplain.

San Jacinto River Master Drainage Plan Draft Report 8/13/2020

Thus, the number of homes affected by floods could greatly expand beyond the number shown above.

Drainage in Commons Already a Problem

Plans also show that homes will be built very close to a drainage easement. Yet existing ditches in the Commons are eroding badly due to lack of maintenance. Below is a picture of one taken in January last year. Residents say the trees are still there and the erosion became much worse during floods in May and Imelda.

Commons drainage ditch photographed last year.

Less Than One Fourth of Property Now Under Consideration

The tract is 332 acres, but only 75.3 is proposed for development at this time.  It is entirely located within the incorporated limits of the City of Houston. The entire tract is adjacent to COH flooding easements for Lake Houston. 

How to Voice Concerns, If You Have Them

Here’s how you can voice concerns, if you have them. The City Planning Commission will hold virtual meetings until further notice. So it’s very easy to make public comments. You can sign up to speak by going to the Planning Commission Home Page.

The next Planning Commission meeting is Thursday, August 20, 2020. If you’d like to speak, you must sign up at least 24 hours before the meeting.

Use the online speaker form at https://www.tfaforms.com/4816241 or submit comments on an item via email to speakercomments.pc@houstontx.gov.

Speakers have only TWO MINUTES. Key points to consider:

  • Floodplain will officially be expanding soon.
  • Some of these homes are already in it.
  • Many more soon will be.
  • That could require fill.
  • And fill will make flooding worse for other homes near the river on both sides.
  • No detention ponds or drainage plans are shown.
  • The Planning Commission should consider these things.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/14/2020

1081 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.