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"Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council, unanimously and without discussion, approved a developer’s plan to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston flood plain Wednesday," reports Mike Morris.
The approval enables the creation of a municipal utility district that can issue bonds to fund the construction of road, water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. Meritage Homes and MetroNational is planning to build 800 homes on the former site of Pine Crest Golf Course.
The companies behind the project say they will take steps to lesson flooding risk, but nearby residents are skeptical and even the city's own rules would seem to prevent the development from moving forward.
Meritage Homes is regrading the site, digging three detention ponds and a new channel to guide water through the site and into Brickhouse Gully. The excavated dirt will be piled elsewhere on the site and the new homes will sit on top of that soil, Meritage officials have said, with the lowest structure sitting 2.78 feet above the projected water level in a 500-year flood.
That would exceed the new elevation standard — two feet above the 500-year flood level — that council adopted for development in floodplains earlier this month.