Tickets for Floodplain Violations Could Be in Harris County’s Future

TICKETS FOR FLOODPLAIN VIOLATIONS COULD BE IN HARRIS COUNTY’S FUTURE Harris County is looking for the state’s permission to make floodplain violations a criminal offense — reports the Chronicle’s Mihir Zaveri — arguing that “issuing a Class C misdemeanor to violators would increase the county’s ability to enforce its rules because it is quicker, less costly for the violator and the county and has the potential to increase compliance.” Right now, the worst the county can do to developers who break the rules and don’t respond to citations or other violation notices is to take them to civil court, which it has been reluctant to do. Case in point: 2 years ago, Zaveri and Mike Morris reported that despite issuing 324 floodplain regulation violations to developers in 2015, the county only had 25 civil lawsuits pending against builders who broke the rules. Gov. Abbott vetoed a bill similar to what’s on the table now last year, saying criminalizing violations would stretch the definition of criminal offense too thin. But according to Harris County’s chief administrative officer for public infrastructure coordination Josh Stuckey, there’s already a precedent for this type of hardline drainage enforcement: “The county uses a similar method for violations of regulations for private septic tanks, which has worked ‘very well,'” he tells Zaveri. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of red tag at Bourbon on Bagby, 2708 Bagby St.: Swamplot inbox

3 Comment

  • Only a bureaucrat could conflate septic systems and floodplain thoughts.

  • There is a huge difference between unpermitted work to a septic, and unpermitted work on a house….A septic can cause damage to neighboring properties, ground water contamination, and a host of other issues.

    I’ve never seen a new window, installed without a permit, spread raw sewage across a neighborhood.

    This is nothing more than another way to extract fees and strong-arm citiizens who are already suffering.

  • Marksmu: You’re exactly right. I remember the early days of my investing. I bought an old 1940’s fourplex in Montrose to upgrade. A while later, one of the old original windows literally fell out. So I had my guys go to home depot, buy a new window, install it, everyone was happy.
    A few days later I get a red tag for “unpermitted work” and had to pay a $250 fine. I guess if I just had the old shitty inefficient window slapped back in the city would have been fine.
    Go see how many of those 1940’s fourplexes are on W Main now. There used to be tons. They’re getting knocked down as dealing with the city is a pain. Easier and more profitable to just sell to a dev to knock down