Some Memorial-area residents (mostly under the banner of uncontroversially-named Residents Against Flooding) filed a previously-threatened lawsuit this morning requesting that the city of Houston and TIRZ 17 be barred from using the reinvestment district’s funds for private development projects until more drainage projects have been implemented in the nearby neighborhoods. The lawsuit alleges that the Memorial City Redevelopment Authority and the city have been increasing runoff from the zone (inside Beltway 8 at I-10, shown above in green) into the nearby neighborhoods without adding enough new drainage projects to compensate for it; residential flooding in 2009, last Memorial Day, and this Tax Day are cited as the outcome.
The group filing the suit says it doesn’t want money — so what is the suit asking for?
In addition to restricting use of the TIRZ funds, the group wants the city to be barred from approving permits for large commercial developments in the area until a study proves that each project will not worsen flooding throughout the residential areas nearby; the plaintiffs also asking that a special flood-minded administrator be installed to oversee future TIRZ 17 activities.
Residents Against Flooding, which changed its name several years ago from the Memorial City District Drainage Coalition, started planning a similar lawsuit back in 2009; that suit was shelved before filing as years of statewide drought conditions caused the group’s donation-dependent revenue stream to shrivel up as well. Last year’s Memorial Day water served as new fuel on the fire, and talk of the suit was revived over that summer. Then in April, the group publicly decried the city council’s replacement of a TIRZ 17 board member whose term was ending with a not-from-the-neighborhood rep — days before Tax Day flooding inundated the area again.
- Lawsuit Filing [Residents Against Flooding]
- Previously on Swamplot: Popularizing TIRZwatching as a Houston Pastime
Map of TIRZ 17 territory: City of Houston