HOW THEY’RE AVOIDING FLOODING FAR UPSTREAM FROM DOWNTOWN HOUSTON
How was developer Newland Communities able to lift the first cohort of 6,200 planned new homes out of the 100-year floodplain in Elyson, its Katy Prairie development just west of the Grand Pkwy. at FM 529? Easy: by raising the lots 1 ft. with dirt taken from other areas of the site. (An additional 12 to 15 in. of elevation came from the slab foundations on which the houses rest.) The fill allowed the company to obtain letters of map revision for more than 300 home lots in 2016 — and “to tell buyers, accurately, that their homes were not in the 100-year flood plain.” The results: “The company reported in September that Harvey had flooded streets in the development, but no water entered any of the 94 houses occupied at that time. The risk of flooding could increase, however, as more structures are built on the property.” [Houston Chronicle] Partial map of Elyson: Newland Communities
No longer the Eternal Food Ministry food pantry, the awninged brick building at 6801 Hwy. Blvd. is about to become Katy’s first board-game-themed brewery. The location is a short drive west from Katy High School and was abandoned when the food bank relocated to Pin Oak Rd. within the past few years. Now, the owners of the new competitive drinking venue, dubbed Wood for Sheep Brewing, are getting ready to resurface their parking lot and pipe in new plumbing for the 6,000-sq.-ft. building. Only a fifth of the space in the brewery will be devoted to its main feature: a pub and cafe area with a library of board games. The rest of it will be used for brewing, storage, offices, and other logistical functions.
Photos: Wood for Sheep Brewing
Wood for Sheep Brewing
THE KATY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WITH A FLOOD POOL SECRET Some documents related to the Katy ISD’s 1998 purchase of the 15-acre site now occupied by Creech Elementary School at 4242 S. Mason Rd. have been frozen — in an attempt to preserve them, after they got flooded when Barker Reservoir got backed up after Hurricane Harvey. What those records might show, once thawed: some explanation for why school officials at the time signed a notice indicating they did not review a map filed with the county by Westbrook Cinco East LP (the developer from whom the property was purchased) that disclosed in a note that the land came with the risk of “extended controlled inundation.” Though several Katy schools sit on land near or in the Barker reservoir flood pool — the area expected to fill up with water when the dam is closed for a major flooding event — only Creech suffered major damage. All 800 Creech students are now attending classes at the University of Houston’s nearby Cinco Ranch campus while the school undergoes an estimated $5 million worth of repairs. The school district’s superintendent tells the Chronicle‘s Lise Olsen that he and other school officials were unaware that the school was built in the flood pool until they were contacted for her story. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of flooding at Creech Elementary School, 4242 S. Mason Rd., Katy: Breta Gatlin
COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: WHAT PEOPLE IN KATY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT FLOODING “We live in a house close to 99 in Katy. We have lived in this area for most of the last 10 years — in two different houses. I can tell you that each time we bought there was no mention, that I recall, of being inside of a potential bowl of water from the Barker reservoir. Nor were we mandated by mortgage companies to require flood insurance. We are MILES from the dam itself and never considered it. None of our neighbors did. Imagine our shock to wake up days after the storm to suddenly learn we were in a mandatory evacuation zone. Fortunately our house was far enough west, and high enough, that we didn’t take any damage. Many of our friends and neighbors weren’t so lucky. As we eventually learned, hardly anyone had flood insurance. We didn’t. It’s not that we weren’t in a 100 year flood plain, I don’t think we’re in the 500 year either. I have since purchased flood insurance (Fool me once, etc).
But I do think there is a case to be made against some agencies. What we’re learning now about lack of prudence between developers, ACOE, and Fort Bend County seems to be at least a little suspect. Some of these neighborhoods perhaps should have never been built. Additionally, the flood zone maps seem woefully out of date and do not take into account the further upstream development.
I get it — many people are going to point the finger at the homeowner and either their lack of planning or insurance. Fair point. But this event caught a lot of people off guard and I believe exposed a lot of problems that still need to be addressed.” [HaventFloodedYet, commenting on Suing the Army Corps for Reservoir Releases; A City App for Debris Removal; 30 Years of the GRB] Illustration: Lulu
NEXT XSCAPE HEADING FOR THE FAR REACHES OF KATY The second of the 2 Xscape multiplexes planned for the “Houston” area will land at the far southwest corner of Katy, reports Virtual Builders Exchange — in an update to its story identifying the Kentucky-based theater chain’s Woodlands location. A 12-screen facility (marked down a couple from the typical 14 of the prototype) and accompanying 540-space parking lot will settle down at 26616 FM 1093, just east of FM 1463, in the southwest corner of the Westheimer Lakes North subdivision and across from Cross Creek Ranch — if contractors get their bids in to the company by the August 1 deadline. The plans for the 51,968-sq.-ft. Katy building appear virtually identical to those for the Woodlands theater. [Virtual Builders Exchange; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of Xscape prototype: Patoka Capital
The long-vacant lot above, near the northeast corner of I-10 and the Grand Parkway, is now being cleared and flattened to make room for the Houston area’s third Super H Mart, according to leasing materials a larger retail development being marketed as Katy Asian Town. Plans for the 16-acre site look to including a pair of smaller strip-style buildings and 2 pad sites, in addition to a long string of retail spots flanking the grocery store:
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Latest Grand Plans
The speckles above on the tile floor at 20706 Vanderwick Dr. in Katy are some of the stragglers left behind by a surprise termite swarm early this year, according to a lawyer for the new owners. Todd and Carla Greene, who bought the 1982 home in September, are currently suing Texas Certified Home Inspection, which purportedly inspected the kitchen for wood-chewing critters at the end of August prior to the sale closing. The couple alleges that Carla was using the stove in the kitchen about 6 months later (a few days after the pair’s March move-in) when thousands of insects began to emerge from multiple kitchen drawers and cabinets; the shots above were taken after the action died down.
Per the University of Kentucky’s entomology folks, the termite exodus was right on time. The couple hired an exterminator, who found several areas of extensive wood damage around the kitchen — here’s a shot inside the vent in the island stove:
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