Homebuilder considers residential project in Houston floodplain

by Rincey Abraham

In the months following Hurricane Harvey, it looks like Houston is slowly recovering from the storm’s damage. However, some builders could be becoming too confident moving forward with new construction.

According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, Meritage Homes – one of the nation’s largest homebuilders – is seeking approvals to put a 151-acre project on a former golf course that is in a floodway, an area where waters rise fastest during a 100-year storm.

This is an area where local officials previously spent millions of dollars to buy out homeowners whose properties were damaged by flooding in the past.

The original plan was approved in September 2016, but the city council held off approval of a municipal utility district for the subdivision last month.

Matthew Zeve, director of operations for the flood control district, told the Chronicle that homeowners near the new site complained about the project but the district had to evaluate it based on current requirements, which were in place before Harvey.

The Chronicle has been investigating residential home construction throughout the city following Hurricane Harvey and found that Harris County and city of Houston allowed 20,000 parcels worth $13.5 billion to be developed in or along floodways where, “structures cause water to pile up behind them, raise the overall height of floodwaters after major rains and push water across more land.”

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