Over the weekend Surge Homes removed the sign promising “future development” along the Heights Hike-and-Bike Trail. Workers took the recently-installed bike-scaled billboard Saturday morning. It appears that the sign had been squatting on a public right-of-way.
Around the same time, the newly-created Surge Homes released lots of new information for the trailside colony. Surge is run by the same principals involved with Canada’s Group LSR who closed on the property in 2004. Sporadic attempts to develop the site have so far borne no fruit.
Aerial views show that the project would take quite a bite out of the pocket forest currently on the site; access would come via a lengthened E. 5th St., not a trail-crossing extension of Frasier St., as in an earlier proposal.
Where 2 years ago the Canadian developers intended to slot in 84 condos, the new site plan shows 7 townhomes, some with yards “partly” in the 100-year flood plain.
Asking prices range from $631K to $1.465 million.
- Houston Heights – 150 Frasier St. [Surge Homes]
- Previously on Swamplot: A New Sign of Future Development Appears on Heights Hike-and-Bike Trail Site; An End-Around at Emes Place; Viewpoint at the Heights: Back from the Dead?
Photo: Meme Bag via Swamplot Inbox; Map, Rendering and Aerial Photo, Surge Homes.
“Partly in the floodplain” usually means “entirely in the floodplain.” I learned that when I bought land in Brenham awhile back. When White Oak bayou jumps its banks in the next big flood, I doubt it will stop at the floodplain line. Those houses will be vulnerable as hell and possibly a bitch to insure.
Wow, that would have made a nice woodland park. Lots of song bird and other bayou wildlife habitat will be lost. I would love a nice little trail through there. The st. augustine grass and twiggy trees that will replace all that won’t even compare. And I bet they will use lots of fertilizer to keep that yard looking nice and green to all the runners and during storms that runoff will end up in the bayou, contributing to more habitat degradation downstream. Alas, habitat for humans has value and since wildlife don’t have jobs they can’t afford their own habitat unless we decide to buy it for them.
I suspect the floodplain is what probably changed the deal from 64 condos to 7 townhomes. Good luck with that. I am sure they will probably need to get their own study done. There is a nice little drainage ditch there and with a nice wooded area removed it is just gonna be worse. A mud pit at best, flooded garages at worst.
The condos would have been much better for the neighborhood long-term. You can pretty much ignore anybody who whines about density–it’s nearly always a positive inside the loop.
I run the hike/bike trail frequently and this is one of the few stretches of solid green space. I’m all for urban density and development but if they destroy the existing trees/foliage (between the structures and the trail) it will remove value. With proper planning they should be able to avoid this.
@ roadchick: Assessing flood risk, insurance coverage, and what can be permitted through the City can be tricky. It takes a fair bit of research to understand all that is going on. However, the thing that matters most for insurance purposes is the difference between the base flood elevation (BFE) and the first floor elevation (FFE), so that if your living area — not your garage — is above BFE then your insurance rates usually decline precipitously with each additional foot of elevation difference. This calculation and the permitting rules tend not to favor traditional single-family homes, but townhomes and mid-rise condos would be much easier to develop, sell, and own. It could actually be construed as irresponsible to try and fit in with the rest of the neighborhood on this sort of site.
That being said, the reality is that official estimates of flood risk are dated from the day that they’re released and that their assumptions may not be realistic. All it takes is for some debris to clog storm drains or an outflow and then all the upstream dynamics worsen. On this stretch of the bayou, though, the local drainage situation seems pretty favorable.
@TheNiche The FFE might be the garage especially with the way most of those townhomes are built. There can not be any living space, utilities, among other things on that garage first floor. There also could be requirements for deeper/reinforced footings and/or hydrostatic vents. As you touched on there are a lot of different variables that could be tweaked and get a lower foot or so in BFE which for regulation purposes gets them out of the floodplain.