February 14, 2018

 

 


  
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
 
Redevelopment & Drainage Task Force Final Report
 
The Redevelopment and Drainage Task Force (the "Task Force"), headed by Stephen C. Costello, the City of Houston's Chief Resilience Officer, recently issued its final report. View Final Report  The Task Force was formed to address three redevelopment issues: detention, fill, and encroachments in the city's right-of-way. The goals of the Task Force are to ensure that the city's design standards are conducive to responsible development which does not have a negative impact on drainage, and to empower the city to effectively and consistently apply and enforce drainage-related development rules. We have included a summary of its final recommendations below.
 
Final List of Recommendations:
 
Detention Recommendations
 
Require payment of a fee in lieu of detention for lot sizes under 15,000 square feet.
 
Caveats:
  1. Place collected funds in a dedicated fund to be only used in specific service area where funds are collected (similar to the park dedication fund)
  2. Ensure amounts collected are sufficient to be effective
Provide detention credit for broad range of (green) low-impact development techniques (to mirror county criteria).
 
Caveat:
  1. Ensure proper inspection and maintenance of green infrastructure
Eliminate detention credit for existing impervious cover when redeveloping site. Require mitigating detention for entire redeveloped site.
 
Caveats:
  1. Implement phasing strategy
  2. Clearly define what constitutes redevelopment
Allow for the sale of excess detention capacity within the same hydraulic service area (i.e., "detention volume banking").
 
Encourage private sector involvement in creating regional detention in parks or other public lands.
 
Fill Recommendations:

Remove the one-acre threshold in Infrastructure Design Manual ("IDM") Chapter 9 Section 9.02(C). View IDM

Clarify contradictory language in IDM Chapter 9 Section 9.02(C) and specify need for flexibility to accommodate natural drainage patterns.

Clearly define "engineered grading" in Houston Amendments to the 2012 International Building Code Section 106.3. View Houston Amendments

Change threshold amount in Houston Amendments to the 2012 International Building Code Section 106.3 (no permit required for <50 cubic yards; engineered grading required for 1000 cubic yards).
 
Encroachments in City Right-of-Way Recommendations:
  
Initiate a widespread public education campaign to inform citizens of their responsibilities regarding roadside drainage.

Fully enforce all applicable rules to re-establish drainage in the public right-of-way.


Proposed Revisions to Chapter 19 Floodplain Management Regulations

Yesterday, Houston Public Works presented information relating to proposed revisions to Chapter 19 of the Houston Code of Ordinances, which are the regulations governing development in the floodplain.  View Presentation.
 
The proposed revisions include:
  • Applying the floodplain management regulations contained in Chapter 19 to the 500-year floodplain (currently they only apply to the 100-year floodplain)
  • Requires freeboard above the 500-year flood elevation (currently described as "x" feet; the administration recommends 2 feet, but this is specifically open to public comment).  This would require any addition to the property to be elevated to the 500-year flood elevation plus two feet
  • Prohibits any net fill in the 500-year floodplain

A few statistics: 

  • There are currently 117,240 acres located in Houston in the 100-year floodplain (3,544 acres in District G)
  • The proposed revisions to Chapter 19 would add 33,615 acres located in Houston in the 500-year floodplain (1,677 acres in District G)
  • There are currently 101,246 parcels of land located in Houston in the 100-year floodplain
  • The proposed revisions to Chapter 19 would add 85,985 parcels of land located in Houston in the 500-year floodplain. 

To see the 100-year and 500-year floodplains, please visit the Harris County Flood Education Mapping Tool: Flood Education Mapping Tool The light blue area represents the 100-year floodplain.  The green area represents the 500-year floodplain that would now be regulated by Chapter 19.  This includes areas in many District G neighborhoods. View the 100-year and 500-year floodplains in District G: District G 100-year vs. 500-year Floodplains

 

View Current Chapter 19 Here

 

We are including a link to the proposed revisions to Chapter 19 here: View Proposed Revisions.  
 
The public comment period started today and will run through 5:00 P.M. Monday, February 19, 2018.  Please make comments via the survey at Survey Monkey or you can email your comments to pwe.director@houstontx.gov
 
Council Member Travis feels that providing six days for the public to read, understand and comment on these proposed revisions is completely inadequate and is currently working with other Council Members to attempt to extend the comment period.
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____________________________________________________________
  
Greg Travis
Houston City Council Member, District G
900 Bagby, 1st Floor
Houston, TX 77002
  
Mailing:
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251-1562
  
Phone: 832-393-3007
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