Tag Archive for: Woodridge Vllage

Flood Regs: What County Wants City to Do as Part of Woodridge Village Purchase Deal

Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, ReduceFlooding.com has obtained details of Harris County’s request to the City of Houston to revise its flood regs. Complying with the request is one of two conditions the City must meet before the County will purchase Perry Homes’ Woodridge Village.


Woodridge Village twice contributed to flooding in Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest last year. Ever since, flood-weary residents have pled with Harris County and City of Houston officials to buy the property and build regional floodwater-detention facilities there that would protect them. The City initially declined. The County agreed, but with two conditions.

  • First, the County wanted the cash-poor City to pay for half the purchase through the donation of land that the County could then use to help offset costs for other HCFCD projects.
  • Second, the County wanted the City update to its stormwater and floodplain ordinances to make them consistent with the County’s.

Harmonizing the regulations would provide consistency between the three largest governmental agencies tasked with drainage projects in the our area: Harris County Engineering Department, Harris County Flood Control, and the City of Houston. 

This is the first step in getting all municipalities and County governments that drain to Harris County to adopt similar standards to help reduce flooding risks and protect the billions of dollars of drainage infrastructure investments currently being made in the area.

A Houston Chronicle article (that didn’t even mention Elm Grove) said, that in the future, the county would not share flood bond money with any of 34 different municipalities within its jurisdiction that have not updated and harmonized their regulations with Harris County’s.

So what were the requested changes?

Below are revisions needed for the City of Houston to comply with Harris County Infrastructure Regulations (2019 version) and the HCFCD Policy, Criteria and Procedures Manual.

In all cases cited below, Harris County flood regulations exceed the City of Houston’s. The County does not ask the City to relax any guidelines.

Houston Chapter 9 (Stormwater Design Requirements – July 2019)

General Note – The City updated this Chapter in late 2019 to add Atlas 14 rainfall information for use in storm sewer design. The County also added Atlas 14 to its regulations.

However, the County requests that the City make additional changes as follows:

Section 9.2 Design Requirements:

  • 9.2.01(B)(3)(a)(1) Table of Rational Method Runoff Coefficients – Must be updated for lots greater than ¼ acre to be consistent with Harris County requirements. 
  • 9.2.01(C)(7)(d) Table 9-2 – Revise inlet capacities for Type A, D, D-1, C-2, C-2A, D, D-1, and E inlets to be consistent with Harris County requirements. 
  • 9.2.01(D)(3)(c) Relationship of Structures to Street – Revise finished slab elevation criteria to be consistent with Harris County requirements of 18” above the 100-year floodplain, one foot above the maximum ponding depth within a 10’ radius of the structure or at or above the 500-year floodplain, whichever is higher.
  • 9.2.01(H)(2)(d) Waiver of Detention Requirements – Remove this section; it would allow developments to be constructed without detention. 
  • 9.2.01(H)(3)(a-e) Calculation of Detention Volume – Revise to remove detention rates based on tract size, revise detention rates to be consistent with Harris County requirements of 0.75 acre-feet/acre for storm sewer outfalls and 1.0 acre-feet/acre for roadside ditch outfalls, or HCFCD requirements if outfalling to HCFCD facility.
  • 9.2.01(H)(3)(a-e) Tracts >50 acres – Refer to HCFCD requirements if outfalling to HCFCD facility, otherwise refer to Harris County requirements if outfalling to storm sewer or roadside ditch. 
  • 9.2.01(H)(4) Calculation of Outlet Size – Revise to be consistent with Harris County requirements,  remove minimum restrictor size, remove allowable discharge rates of 0.5 cfs and 2.0 cfs per acre and include calculated allowable rates.  
  • 9.2.01(H)(5)(a) Private Facilities – Include Harris County pumped detention information including detention rate, allowable drain times, and percentage that must be drained by gravity.  Add minimum bottom slopes and pilot channel slopes from Harris County requirements. 

Houston Code of Ordinances, Chapter 19 Floodplain (September 2018)

Under Article III: Standards for Flood Hazard Reduction:

  • 19-33(a) Base Flood Elevation Requirements Must also include a provision that no fill will be allowed to elevate structures proposed for the 100-year floodplain.  These structures must be on open foundations designed by a structural engineer.
  • 19-33(c) AO Zones Revise to require finish floor elevation of three feet above the depth number noted in the specific zone, or 6 feet if no depth number is specified.   
  • 19-34(a)(4)  – Remove this item that allows fill to be placed in the 0.2% floodplain without mitigating excavation. 
  • 19-34(d) Critical Facilities Add requirement for these facilities to have the lowest floor elevated 24” above the crown of the adjacent street if that is higher than 3’ above the 0.2% elevation. 
  • 19-43 (c)&(d) Floodways – Require an engineering report for the foundation in addition to the “no-rise” analysis and mitigation requirements. Add Harris County requirements for foundation design.
  • 19-43(e) Bridges – Add requirement that all bridge construction that modifies the base flood elevation or that modifies the geometry of the bridge or channel must submit a CLOMR and LOMR.
  • 19-75 Manufactured home placement in a floodway or coastal high hazard area – Remove this section that allows for manufactured homes to be placed in these areas.

The County also recommends that the Harris County Floodplain Administrator should review Chapter 19 for additional changes to ensure consistency with Harris County floodplain regulations.

Negotiations Still Reportedly Ongoing

City of Houston did not discuss conditions of the Perry purchase in last week’s City Council session. Neither are County Commissioners scheduled to discuss them this week. However, negotiations with Perry are reportedly continuing despite the passage of Perry’s extended deadline.

Meanwhile, with hurricane season less than two weeks away, Perry Homes’ new contractors continue to put the full-court press on construction of detention ponds. They have made more progress in two months than the previous contractors did in two years.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/19/2020 with keyframe from Jim Zura, Zura Productions

994 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 243 after Imelda

One Week After Town Hall, Still No New Work on Woodridge Village Detention Ponds

A week after J. Carey Gray, a lawyer representing Perry Homes’ subsidiaries and contractors, promised the Mayor of Houston that his clients would move as quickly as possible to complete Woodridge detention ponds, there still has been no excavation activity at the job site. And in fact, according to Jeff Miller, an Elm Grove resident who visited the site today, much of the material and equipment that had been on site are now gone.

Lack of Detention Implicated in Two Floods

Twice in four months, Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest flooded severely when water from Perry Homes’ troubled Woodridge Village development overflowed into the streets of those communities immediately south and east of Woodridge. 

  • Before the May flood, Perry had clearcut virtually the entire 268 acres, but installed only 7% of the detention. 
  • Before the September flood, they had substantially completed only one more pond, bringing the total to 23% of the planned detention. 
Percentage capacity of the five planned detention ponds on the Woodridge Village construction site as measured in acre feet. To date, only S1 and S2 are substantially complete.

So it’s not too surprising that the completed detention ponds overflowed in heavy rains. 

It was like trying to store 100 gallons of water in a 23 gallon container.

Excavation Work on Detention Ponds Stopped for Two Months

Where’s Larry the Cable Guy when you need him? He could “git-r-done.” 

As the pictures below show, there’s one piece of excavation equipment on the northern portion of the site and it hasn’t moved for about a month.

Looking west at northwestern section of Woodridge Village from helicopter more than a month ago, on 9/21/2019, two days after Imelda. Note the yellow excavator with its bucket resting on the ground in the middle of the frame toward the tree line on the right.
Note the same excavator in the same place in the same position at the left of the frame. Photo taken 10/16/2019 from opposite direction, looking east.The foreground is where detention pond N1 should be. But the pond has not yet been started. According to the LJA Engineering report, it should have been excavated as part of the first phase of development.

Eight days later, you can see the same equipment still in the same place. However, it appears that two other pieces are now parked with it.

Photo taken by Jeff Miller on 10/22/2019 shows excavator in same photo it was photographed in on 9/21/2019a month earlier.

Only Modest Repair Work on Ponds Since August

Resident Jeff Miller reported that an excavator removed some eroded sediment out of one completed pond (S1) after Imelda. Below is the photo he took on 10/6/2019. However, this was repair work, not new excavation work.

Photo of S1 Repair Work taken on 10/6/2019 by Jeff Miller. S1 was the first pond completed.

Four Detention Ponds Promised as Part of Phase 1

According to the LJA Engineering Drainage Impact Analysis, Table 3, Phase 1 of this development was to have FOUR detention ponds installed: N-1 and N-2 (regraded pilot channel) on the north, S-1 and S-2 on the South. 

However, no new detention capacity exists on the northern section which has the steepest slope and the largest surface area. It was to provide 77% of the total detention.

N-1 and N-2 should provide 62% of the detention capacity. However, N-1 doesn’t exist. N-2 is not fully excavated. And N-3, which will provide another 15% is only a distant dream.

Hundreds of Families Remain at Risk

The lack of progress on detention places hundreds of families at risk as we slog our way through another 5 weeks of hurricane season. The season ends on November 30. But flood-weary residents also remain wary of non-tropical storms, such as Tax Day, Memorial Day, and May 7th this year. In the moist, Gulf-coast region, heavy storms can strike any time of year.

J. Carey Gray’s Promise

Last week, J. Carey Gray, Attorney at Law, made a promise to the City of Houston’s top lawyer, Mayor Sylvester Turner. Gray said, “To the extent possible, we will attempt to begin each project as quickly as plans can be completed and approved.”

Now, there’s an iron-clad contract if I ever saw one! However, as of October 22, 2019, no residents that I consulted around the site had seen any workers recently. Mr. J. Carey Gray, Attorney at Law, dated his letter October 17th.

According to resident Nancy Vera who lives immediately south of the construction site, there has been no recent construction activity anywhere on the site that she or her family can see.

Gretchen Smith who can see the site from her front yard in Porter has seen no workers.

Jeff Miller visits the site almost daily to check progress or non-progress of work. He had not seen any workers lately either. Moreover, he said that much of the materials and heavy equipment that had been stored on site appear to be gone.

Maybe Mr. Gray needs to consult with Larry, the Cable Guy.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/23/2019, with help from Jeff Miller, Nancy Vera, and Gretchen Dunlap-Smith

785 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 34 since Imelda

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