Development in the Flood Plain

Developers have the city's go-ahead to build about 900 new homes in a West Houston floodplain.  

The new homes would built on the site of the former Pine Crest Golf Course, near Gessner and Clay Roads, within two miles of the Addicks Reservoir.  

Houston City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the plan after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the developers exceeded stricter new flood prevention standards.

Turner said, "If you meet the requirements of Chapter 19, as amended and approved a couple weeks ago, then we want you to build in the city of Houston. We want you to develop." 

Meritage Homes and Developer MetroNational plan to build the homes at least 2.78 feet above the 500 year floodplain -- exceeding new Chapter 19 requirements.

Downstream residents don't like the idea, saying it could lead to more flooding. 

Environmental lawyer Jim Blackburn, co-director of the Severe Storm Center at Rice University, tells our TV Partner KPRC Channel-2:

"The developer has a right to develop property if they meet the regulations. The vote at City Council was whether we were going to allow them to take advantage of public financing to finance the cost of development in the flood plain, and we need a vision that does not include development in the floodplain." 

"Our floodplains are dangerous places. We don't treat them as dangerous places... We treat them as an impediment to development that we can just design through, and we ought to be staying out of [the floodplains]."

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