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Flood Plans, Green Infrastructure Take Center Stage in Houston's Mayoral Race
Two of the leading contestants in an election to replace Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released flood plans this week. The mayor also released a plan that creates new incentives for green stormwater infrastructure.
"Mayoral candidate Bill King on Monday [August 19] laid out a seven-part plan aimed at mitigating future flooding, with proposals to push development back from bayous and have builders pay into a fund used to build detention basins," reports Jasper Scherer in an article for the Houston Chronicle.
"Under King’s plan, the detention fee in most cases would replace the city’s requirement that new construction provide a certain amount of detention capacity," adds Scherer.
King's plan also calls for the city buying land along bayous to prevent future development.
Another leading candidate, Tony Buzbee, paid to publish an announcement of his own flood plan in the conservative blog Big Jolly Times. The post calls for being aggressive and realistic action on the part of the city and business community. Specifically, the plan would reduce drainage fees for businesses that build flood mitigation infrastructure, prioritizing permitting for development projects that make a significant (15 percent of project cost) in flood mitigation, and the launch of a Beuatify Houston project that would recognize businesses that construct permeable surfaces.
On Monday, Mayor Turner also announced a new green development program that offers incentives for the installation of green infrastructure. According to a press release from the Mayor's Office, the program would provide the following incentives for green stormwater infrastructure (GSI):
- Adopt rules that harmonize parking, landscaping, open space, drainage design, detention design and stormwater quality design requirements.
- Defer or reduce property tax bills for developers who use GSI in projects.
- Recognize and award developers who use GSI.
- Provide a fee-based, more consistent and faster plan review process, with lower fees associated with projects that use GSI.