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Posts Tagged ‘drainage’

ReBuild re-vote?

It could come to that, but it’s not clear to me that it has to. The funding scheme for ReBuild Houston, the city’s street and drainage repair initiative, remains in limbo after a state appeals court agreed Thursday that the 2010 charter referendum creating the program is void. The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ruling […]

Be careful what you flush

Yeesh. Grease blockages are the main cause of Houston’s epidemic of sewer overflows, a problem so widespread that it has drawn the city into negotiations with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The multibillion-dollar enforcement action that could result – likely increasing residents’ water bills – would be aimed at limiting raw sewage spills by replacing […]

Memorial residents file lawsuit over flooding

This ought to be interesting. A group of residents sued the city of Houston and one of its local redevelopment authorities Wednesday, alleging that they approved commercial development in the Memorial City area without requiring adequate storm water mitigation, resulting in increased flooding in residential neighborhoods. Claiming federal and state constitutional violations, the west Houston […]

The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund

From the inbox: After receiving calls from corporations and others who want to help financially, Mayor Sylvester Turner is establishing The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund, to accept flood relief donations. “We’ve been hearing from residents who are confused about where they should donate to get assistance directly to the residents of our city who […]

On drainage and flooding

Two items of interest from Gray Matters, both on the subject of the week. First, from Cynthia Hand Neely and Ed Browne of Residents Against Flooding: Man-made, preventable flooding has surged dirty, sewage-ridden water through Houston living rooms three times now in seven years, yet city government fails to prevent these recurring emergencies. Really? If […]

Back to square one for ReBuild Houston

Here we go again. A state district judge on Thursday voided the 2010 charter referendum that enabled the city to create the ReBuild Houston program, muddying the fate of the multi-billion-dollar funding scheme to dramatically improve Houston’s streets and drainage. Visiting Judge Buddie Hahn ordered the city to hold a new election on the drainage […]

What now for road projects?

What do we do with road projects that were going to use ReBuild Houston funds now that the Supreme Court has ruled the 2010 referendum to have been illegal? A necklace of neighborhood streets encircling Hudnell’s home is among the ReBuild projects, deemed beyond “economical repair” and originally scheduled for work late next fiscal year, […]

ReBuild Houston and the Mayor’s race

It’s all about the conservative voters, because no one cares what anyone else thinks. When the most conservative candidate in the Houston mayor’s race dropped out two months ago, the battle to win over right-leaning voters became a two-man show: former Kemah Mayor Bill King versus City Councilman Stephen Costello. Both candidates bill themselves as […]

ReVote Houston?

Mayoral candidate Bill King calls for a do-over on Renew/ReBuild Houston. Houston mayoral candidate Bill King wants to put ReBuild Houston, the city’s controversial streetand drainage program, back up for a vote. […] King, the most vocal opponent of ReBuild Houston in the race, has seized the moment to attack ReBuild. “I only see one […]

New litigation against ReBuild Houston

To be expected at this point. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the city, seeking to reimburse residents who pay the drainage fee that helps fund ReBuild Houston, the multibillion-dollar streets and drainage improvement program that voters narrowly approved in 2010. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a Texas Supreme Court ruling […]

Supreme Court deals a blow to ReBuild Houston

Ugh. Houston’s divisive, multibillion-dollar effort to fund two decades of street and drainage improvements faces an uncertain future after the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the ballot measure voters narrowly approved in 2010 obscured the nature and cost of the drainage fee at the heart of the ReBuild Houston program. The case now returns […]

Holmes Road

It kind of blows my mind that something like this could be the case in 2014 in Houston. Holmes Road in south Houston, for a stretch, feels less like a city street and more like a weathered country road in Central Texas, even though NRG Stadium and the Texas Medical Center shimmer in the distance. […]

Revamped Chapter 42 ordinance finally passes

Strangely enough, in the end it was not very contentious. Houston City Council on Wednesday voted 14-3 to allow greater single-family home density outside Loop 610, while also strengthening the proposal’s already robust protections for neighborhoods concerned about unwelcome development. Council voted to drop the threshold of support needed to impose a minimum lot size […]

Developer impact fee approved by Council

I did not know that this hadn’t been done yet. Developers will join property owners in paying drainage fees following City Council’s approval Wednesday. The developer impact fee was included in the voter-approved 2010 city charter amendment now known as Rebuild Houston, but city officials said the unwieldy process of setting the fee under state […]

Reliant drainage deal?

Will wonders never cease? There may be a resolution to the spat over whether the county has to pay the city drainage fee imposed on Reliant Park – an annual bill of $353,000. Tuesday’s Commissioners Court agenda includes an item that authorizes the Public Infrastructure Department to negotiate with the city on the Reliant Park […]

When the landed gentry squabble

Am I a bad person for thinking this is funny? Was it sewer sabotage or self-defense? That was the question hanging in the genteel air of two of Houston’s toniest suburbs [last] Thursday after Hunters Creek Village city officials verbally opened fire on their Piney Point Village neighbors for bricking up a storm sewer, leading […]

CM Costello on fixing water leaks

CM Stephen Costello writes a letter in response to the Chron story about leaks in the city’s water pipes. The article “City lost millions to water leaks” (Page A1, Dec. 30) was a timely discussion of our aging water/sewer system. One question in the article jumped out: “We have to ask why we have so […]

New drainage fee structure announced

From the Mayor’s office. Mayor Annise Parker today instructed the director of the Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering to adjust drainage fees for every property owner required to pay the fee. The adjustment will be accomplished by reducing the amount of impervious surface used to calculate the fee for each property by 1,000 […]

Since we’ve been speaking of drainage

Meanwhile, over in Washington Heights, Ainbinder is doing a commissioning a study of streets and drainage. It’s their second study, as apparently they didn’t like what the first one told them. Go read They Are Building A Wal-Mart On My Street for the details.

Eight, not five

Mayor Parker says that initial estimates of how much the average homeowner would pay for the new drainage fee were understated. Mayor Annise Parker acknowledged Tuesday that her administration erred in telling voters that the average homeowner’s monthly Proposition 1 drainage fee would be $5. It is actually closer to $8.25, she said. Parker said […]

Patrick’s blackmail bill goes to the House

The assault on the will of the voters takes another step forward. The Texas Senate voted 30-1 for Sen. Dan Patrick’s bill to broaden the exemption from Houston’s drainage fee to cover non-profit groups and expansion by churches and schools. The City Council on Wednesday agreed to exempt existing church and school facilities, and most […]

Drainage fee passes with exemptions

Council has passed the drainage fee ordinance required by Renew Rebuild Houston, with exemptions for existing church and school properties. The fee will apply to all future “impervious cover” at church and school buildings, such as roofs and parking lots. Council members C.O. Bradford, Mike Sullivan and Jarvis Johnson voted against the measure. “As we […]

Costello opposes exempting the churches

From the inbox: Houston City Council Member Stephen Costello asks the Mayor and Council to exempt only state-mandated property from the drainage fee. Costello, the At Large Position 1 Council Member, offered an amendment Wednesday to the Municipal Drainage Utility ordinance that would limit exemptions to those under the state’s Local Government Code Section 552.053. […]

“Nobody likes a sore winner”

Mayor Parker’s updated drainage fee proposal, which would allow for exemptions to schools and churches, was introduced to City Council amid a torrent of whining from the pro-exemption forces. Church and school leaders testified at a special council meeting that it still was not good enough. For one thing, critics said, the exemptions cover only […]

More on the drainage fee exemptions

Here’s the Chron story about the Mayor’s change in direction to exempt churches and schools from the new drainage fee. Under previous numbers published by the administration, exempting those institutions would raise the monthly fee on other property owners by about 7.6 percent. But on Friday, Parker said city officials had “refined our estimates” and […]

City caves on drainage fee for churches

From the inbox: Mayor Parker Announces New Rebuild Houston Funding Plan with Exemptions and Assistance for Low Income Mayor Annise Parker today announced that she will ask City Council next week to approve a new Rebuild Houston funding plan that includes exemptions for churches and schools. In addition to the exemptions, the City will set […]

The “Dan Patrick thinks you’re too stupid to know what you’re voting for” bill

Ugh. A bill that would remove churches and schools from the drainage fee Houston voters narrowly approved last November as part of Proposition 1 is scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday before the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Dubbed Rebuild Houston, the measure amends the city charter to provide for the improvement and renewal of Houston’s […]

More drainage fee details

Things are moving right along on the implementation of Renew Rebuild Houston. Senior Parker administration officials Wednesday revealed the remaining elements of the plan, which would charge an owner of an average-sized Houston home between $5 and $5.31 monthly, depending on whether council decides to exempt churches, schools and other local governmental entities, such as […]

Effect of exempting schools and churches on drainage fee would be small

As we know, the drainage fee that will be collected to fund street and sewage repairs through the project formerly known as Renew Houston is intended to apply to all property that isn’t specifically exempted by state law, such as state buildings and public universities. Various entities like churches and schools and Harris County have […]

County asks about exemption from drainage fee

Interesting. County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez has asked County Attorney Vince Ryan for an opinion on whether the county has to pay the city of Houston’s new drainage fee. Sanchez already has his own opinion. “You’re getting a government, the city of Houston, starting to dip into multiple jurisdictions’ pots,” Sanchez said. “At some point, you just have […]

Preparing to implement Prop 1

Proposition 1, originally known as Renew Houston but now apparently dubbed “Rebuilding Houston”, was passed by voters last month, which means that the Mayor and City Council must come up with a way to raise the $125 million per year for the dedicated fund. Mayor Parker has laid out the basic steps for making this […]

Who cares about the will of the voters?

Prop 1 opponents don’t. Opponents of Proposition 1 are planning to lobby the state legislature to strike down the controversial drainage fee, even after voters narrowly approved it earlier this month. Don Hooper, who organized a political action committee blasting Prop 1, said the effort is underway. Last week, a group that included real estate […]

What now for Renew Houston?

In addition to the disposal of the red light cameras and the associated costs of their removal, Mayor Parker and City Council now need to work out the details for Prop 1, which created the dedicated fund for streets and drainage and will impose a fee on property owners to pay for it. How much, […]

The Mayor’s email to Council regarding drainage and street repair

This email from Mayor Parker to City Council members about the estimated costs of street and drainage repairs found its way into my Inbox, and I’m sharing it with you because it’s something you should know about, too. Any long-term street and drainage plan for Houston must include: bringing substandard storm drains and streets up […]