February 17, 2018



Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Revised Timeline to Comment on Proposed Revisions to Chapter 19 Floodplain Management Regulations

As we reported on February 14, the Administration originally had given constituents less than a week to provide comments to the proposed revisions to Chapter 19.  Council Member Travis urged the Mayor to provide additional time.  While Council Member Travis believes even more time is necessary to fully vet the proposed revisions and verify there are no unintended consequences, the Administration has now agreed to provide two additional weeks for you to provide your comments.

Council Member Travis is still reviewing these proposed revisions and will make his own comments by the extended deadline.

The administration has approved the following revised timeline for comments to the proposed revisions to Chapter 19: 
  1. The Comment Period has been extended to Monday, March 5.
  2. Public Works will post and publish the final proposed revisions on Thursday, March 15, (allowing staff 1½ weeks to consider and incorporate any revisions).
  3. The item will be on the Agenda for consideration by City Council on Wednesday, March 21.
Link to the proposed revisions to Chapter 19:  View Proposed Revisions 
The public comment period will run through 5:00 P.M. Monday, March 5, 2018.   Please make your comments via the survey at Survey Monkey  or you can email your comments to pwe.director@houstontx.gov
For background information, please refer to our February 14 email: 

Additional Information Received from the Administration:
  • The heart of the changes mean that we would no longer use the "100-year flood plain" as our guide. The 100-year flood plain is land that would flood in a storm that brings 13-14 inches of rain in 24 hours - an occurrence that was expected once every hundred years. 
  • Instead the City would use the "500-year flooding plain" as the new standard. The 500-year flood plain is land that would flood in a storm that brings 17-19 inches of rain in 24 hours -- an occurrence that was expected once every five hundred years. 
  • Houston regulated to the 100-year floodplain since the flood plain was officially mapped in 1981. Thousands of homes that were built before 1981 have flooded and may flood again. But another 4,808 homes that were built to 100-year standards flooded during Harvey. 
  • Future homes and buildings would have to be built 2 feet above the 500-year flood level. Building homes higher can help save lives and belongings. The construction may cost more, but the cost of death and destruction in the next storm would be much higher. 
  • There are 640 square miles within the Houston city limits. Nearly 30% of the City is in the 100-year floodplain. Expanding to include the 500-year would cover another 7% of the city with these regulations. 
  • In addition to the elevation requirements applying to this additional area, we would require construction techniques that do not bring in "fill" (such as soil) to elevate property out of the floodplain. In some cases, the changes will also affect the largest additions and expansions of existing homes.  
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Greg Travis
Houston City Council Member, District G
900 Bagby, 1st Floor
Houston, TX 77002
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251-1562
Phone: 832-393-3007
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