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Posts Tagged ‘flooding’

On the bayou and erosion

A portion of the work being done on Buffalo Bayou, known as the Memorial Park Demonstration Project, is drawing opposition for being too big a change to the natural state of the bayou. Borne of a 2010 workshop hosted by the Bayou Preservation Association, the project calls for reshaping the banks of the bayou that […]

Ike floodgate update

Call it Ike Dike 2.0 if you want. Five years after Hurricane Ike devastated the upper Texas coast, a group of Houston scientists presented details Tuesday about a proposed gate to protect the Houston Ship Channel and much of the Bayou City’s industrial base during another hurricane. Meeting at Rice University, the scientists generally agreed […]

Your feedback requested on Chapter 9

From the Inbox, from CM Noriega: Council Member Melissa Noriega announces a Special Called Transportation, Technology & Infrastructure Committee meeting Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. TTI committee members will review the changes to Chapter 9, Stormwater Design Requirements, Chapter 13, Stormwater Quality Design Requirements and receive public comments. The Standards Review Committee (SRC), Department of […]

So long, Skylane Apartments

This is happening in my neighborhood, and it’s already generated a lot of interest from the locals. The aging Skylane Central apartments, perched near the entrance of the Woodland Heights neighborhood, are headed for demolition as a developer makes plans to replace the building with an upscale rental complex. Charleston, S.C.-based Greystar is under contract […]

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 […]

Hear more about flooding in Houston

Ed Browne, the President of Super Neighborhood #10 and the Chair of Residents Against Flooding and the Flood and Drainage Committee of the Super Neighborhood Alliance, sent me the following announcement: Collusion or Incompetence: Flooding in West Houston On March 20th, at the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Memorial City District Drainage Coalition (dba Residents […]

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 […]

Brown v Rodriguez

I’ve been wondering how new Council Member Helena Brown’s style will play at Council meetings. I didn’t have to wait long to find out. Councilwoman Helena Brown and Councilman James Rodriguez squared off publicly Wednesday in the kind of bare-knuckled politics usually deployed in a back room. The outer layer of the onion had them […]

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 […]

Who needs flood control?

Not Harris County, apparently. Harris County, despite a history of costly floods, appears likely to scale back its flood control work in the coming years in the face of declining federal funding. In a typical year, the county gets about $30 million in flood control work from the Army Corps of Engineers, Harris County Flood […]

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 […]

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 […]

Time for the annual “Are we ready for a big storm?” story

The answer, of course, is no, not really. After Tropical Storm Allison’s devastating floods, the Houston area widened its bayous and hardened its infra­structure. After Hurricane Rita’s deadly gridlock, the state revamped storm communications and evacuation plans. Yet since Hurricane Ike’s enormous surge wiped out coastal communities and its $30 billion in damages dwarfed those […]

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 […]

I-10 service road update

From Ultimate Heights: Two of six planned detention ponds are under construction near Interstate 10 east of Patterson Street, along with new feeder roads between Shepherd and Taylor. Work on the project began in October, with the first two detention ponds scheduled for completion near the end of this year, two Texas Department of Transportation […]

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 […]

The Mayor editorializes for Prop 1

Mayor Parker lays out the case for Prop 1, the ballot referendum to establish a dedicated revenue source for street and drainage improvements. Is it necessary? Absolutely! Approximately 65 percent of our streets and drainage systems are beyond their useful life – and at current funding levels it would take 100 years to replace them. […]

HISD versus Prop 1

This would be a tough obstacle to overcome. HISD Board President Greg Meyers on Wednesday raised the specter of teacher layoffs if the school system is forced to pay an estimated $2.5 million to $3.5 million a year in drainage fees under Mayor Annise Parker’s plan to implement the ballot initiative should voters approve it […]

Endorsement watch: Chron for Prop 1

No surprise here. The city’s capital improvement program, which issues debt-incurring bonds to fund construction, is far behind the curve in dealing with the situation. According to at-large City Council member and engineer Stephen Costello, 65 percent of the city’s drainage and street infrastructure — valued at over $10 billion – is beyond its useful […]

The anti-Prop 1 factions gear up

The usual suspects have gotten the band back together to ensure that no action is taken to mitigate flooding in Houston. Former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt has teamed up with anti-tax advocate Bruce Hotze and conservative activist Norman Adams, significant players in a previously successful effort to scuttle a drainage fee during the […]

Pro-Prop 1 op-ed

Council Member Stephen Costello, the driving force behind Renew Houston, now known as Proposition 1 on the November ballot, teams up with a pair of co-authors to pen this op-ed in its favor. Proposition 1 is a sensible solution that will fill the fiscal hole and get us back on solid ground. It changes our […]

Poll shows Renew Houston with a lead

The supporters of the Renew Houston effort, now known as Proposition 1 on the ballot, have released a poll showing solid support for their proposal. The Vote FOR Proposition 1 campaign released a new poll today that shows voters approving the measure – by a margin of almost two to one – to create a […]