Earlier this week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted about an appearance he made on the “Houston Matters” radio program, in which he asserted that Houston MUST be smarter about development post-Harvey:
“It doesn’t make any sense to be building in areas that we know will flood,” Turner said Monday while a guest on Houston Matters and added that “in some cases, from a permitting point of view, the City is gonna have to say no.”
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) October 30, 2017
On Tuesday, Mike Morris wrote a story for the Chronicle noting a curious item on Wednesday’s City Council agenda:
Houston City Council, just two months removed from Hurricane Harvey, will consider Wednesday whether to consent to the creation of a municipal utility district on the site of the recently closed Pine Crest Golf Club for the construction of homes in a floodplain.
The entire 151-acre site is a flood plain, with its center in the Brickhouse Gully floodway and much of the tract sitting within the 100-year floodplain; the southwest corner of the tract is in the 500-year floodplain.
The proposal comes to council just one week after it approved $10 million to buy out 60 flood-prone homes, including some about three miles downstream from the proposed development, and two months after Harvey flooded thousands of homes in Houston and Harris County.
How does this make any sense, post-Harvey?
In Houston’s strong-mayor form of government, Mayor Turner sets the Council agenda of course. This agenda item does not seem to match his recent political rhetoric.
UPDATE (11-01-2017): Council referred the agenda item back to the Mayor’s office. This one will bear watching.