06/06/16 5:30pm

Flooding along FM 521, Brazoria County, TX 77515

Fort Bend County Boil Notice Area, June 6Residents of the Rio Brazos area near Cumings Rd. north of Rosharon are being advised as of this afternoon to boil their tap water until further notice, while the Fort Bend County Fresh Water Supply District 2 sorts out possible problems stemming from a flood-related loss of water pressure in the network. (The map included here has been added to the Fort Bend County emergency office’s Facebook page following a brief online outpouring of confusion as to what neighborhoods the warning was actually targeting.)

Meanwhile, TXDOT is still listing dozens of miles of roadways as covered by to high water as of this morning, with more closures expected as Brazos floodwaters drain southwest toward Angleton and Freeport. Here’s Brazoria County’s latest worst case scenario potential floodmap, with the county’s mandatory evacuation zones now stretching across more than 15 miles from roughly Brazos Bend State Park to the outskirts of Angleton:


Water, Water Everywhere
03/23/16 1:45pm

Shadow Creek Ranch aerial photo, Pearland, TX, 77584

What could be causing the mysterious unpleasant odor Pearland residents have been reporting through TCEQ complaint channels since August of last year — primarily from the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision (shown above) between 288 and FM 521 south of Clear Creek? TCEQ’s Andrew Keese spoke with the Houston Chronicle recently about the 26 previous and ongoing investigations, which are triggered whenever a finger is pointed at a new possible emitter of the smell. So far, Keese says, no odors have been officially detected that qualify as a ‘nuisance condition’, but he encourages residents to use the TCEQ’s odor log form to help the search effort by describing “the precise character of the odor, [relevant] weather conditions, and times” when the smell is noted.

Before you ask, yes: TCEQ knows about the 60-ft tall mounds of garbage right across FM 521 from the subdivision, at Republic Waste Service’s Blue Ridge Landfill (visible in the bottom left corner of the above photo as a pinkish blob).  Pearland residents previously sought to keep the landfill from more than doubling in acreage and nearly tripling in height (and blocking the operation of several Doppler Radar stations in the process). The landfill (which started accepting garbage several years before Shadow Creek Ranch’s developers broke ground nearby) will eventually get to pile as high as the 170 ft. allowed by its expanded TCEQ permit — but per a 2009 settlement agreement with the city of Pearland it will have to wait until 2021 before rising to only 130 ft., and wait another 8 years after that to reach for its full vertical potential.


Sniffing Out the Culprits in Pearland
10/23/13 10:00am

A developer out of California plans to begin building a 100-acre beachfront community along the Bluewater Highway on Follet’s Island, southwest of Galveston Island, next month. Developed by Salt Water Resorts, the so-called Seahorse Beach Club and Residences will sit across Christmas Bay from the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. A rendering of the 9,000-sq.-ft. eponymous beach club, above, shows a few of the planned amenities: pools, fitness center, spa, a bar, and 2 restaurants.


08/23/13 3:45pm

To see the Mods of the Month this time, you’ll have to head out to Lake Jackson. One of the 3 featured homes has already gone Option Pending, but this one, a few miles off the Nolan Ryan Expressway at 530 Circle Way St., is still available at $179,900. Designed by Houston architect Allen R. Williams, who began his career working with John Staub, the 1954 3-bedroom, 2-bath mod sits on a creek-edged property near the Lake Jackson Intermediate School.


06/23/10 12:34pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FOR THOSE OF YOU UNDER THE MISTAKEN IMPRESSION THAT PEARLAND IS FULL OF ZOMBIES “Ok, I’ll spill the beans, we don’t have REAL zombies in Southern Trails. What people have seen are the fake ones we put out at night. It’s a scheme dreamed up by our Neighhborhood Watch program that works on the scarecrow principle. We set them up around the neighborhood after dark, then before the next morning we rush out and pick them up. We take turns hiding them in different garages.” [Tim, commenting on Pearland Home of the Bloggess Is Guaranteed Zombie-Free. Sort Of]

08/19/09 5:02pm

PEARLAND MANSION MYSTERY — UNREVEALED! Having been indoctrinated into the bizarre cult of the 64,000-sq.-ft. unfinished residence-like warehouse she calls the Pearland Mystery Mansion, Katharine Shilcutt appears dedicated to keeping its secret: “What became of the house after Dr. Watkins abandoned it and went on to build the halfling mansion next door isn’t a matter of public record, suffice to say it’s a bizarre story of its own that deserves to be told one day. What will happen to the houses is anyone’s guess. The bank that owns both houses has had a feasibility study performed to determine whether or not they would be appropriate for group homes or assisted living facilities. Having been inside, it seems like the most fitting application for at least the larger of the two, if not both. It’s difficult to imagine why someone in their right mind would build what is — essentially — the world’s largest shotgun shack (or, more to the point, what architect conceived of this monstrosity as a residence). But it’s not at all difficult to picture these two buildings on this serene piece of land housing elderly or assisted care patients one day.” [Hair Balls; the house next door, featured on the Neighborhood Guessing Game]

06/12/09 1:59pm

Brazoria County correspondent Banjo Jones documents the local construction boom from his front porch:

I give them credit for their engineering skills, not to mention their “work ethic” to use a cliché from the tiresome sports parlance of our times.

They started by building a thin ledge composed of moist red dirt. That base went up an inch or so, then they started bringing in black moist soil to continue building upward. Mixed into this, of course, is the re bar — yellowing dead grasses.

They’re at it all day from sunup to sundown.

Who’s using yellowing dead grasses for rebar?


08/07/08 2:25pm

Neighborhood Guessing Game 19: Parlor

Looks like this week’s game was a bust. Did we even get any real guesses?

Oh, a few. Your comments mentioned Beaumont, River Oaks, the Westside Tennis Club, Hooks Airport, Waller County, Riverside (Terrace?), the Third Ward, Sharpstown, Fondren, Harwin, and Downtown.

No bluffers showed up.

So no winner this time. But a bunch of you sure had some fun with it! An honorable mention goes to Brad, for this first-rate snark:

The drop ceilings, the steel beam kickouts on the walls, the plastic chandeliers, the ‘media’ room with microwave stand and cafe-style seating, the fantasy executive boardroom with ‘conference’ table, and the executive exercise pool…

This is the Corporate Crimes wing of the Federal Prison near Beaumont where they sent Andy Fastow. The drapes and mini-blinds are covering the bars.

Bravo. And thanks again to the tipster who provided this ripe subject. What are its actual coordinates?


07/09/08 12:39pm

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6btY7WqNBM 400 330]

Frustrated that his occasional reports on area petrochemical-plant emissions events haven’t received more attention, Banjo Jones of the Brazosport News (aka former Chronicle reporter Steve Olafson) resorts to video. His first feature: the odorous results of a power outage this past Sunday at the Chevron Phillips chemical plant in Old Ocean. That’s in Brazoria County, about an hour’s drive southwest of Houston.

11/06/07 10:48am

Map of Proposed Aperion Communities Developments

Why do we need the Grand Parkway? To connect all those new green-living communities spreading way out into the Texas prairie!

An Arizona development company is master-planning a master-planned community for a tiny 4,000-plus-acre plot in Alvin, linking the Grand Parkway, FM 1462, and highway 288. Yes, that’s bigger than Shadow Creek Ranch.

It’s called Inspiration at Alvin, if you believe the mayor, or Inspiration @ Chocolate Bayou if you believe the Aperion Communities website.

Alvin mayor Gary Appelt announced that the expected population when the project is built out — in 30 years — is 25,000 people. That’s just over six people per acre. No wonder they’re calling it green!

Inspiration is the first lifestyle enhanced sustainable community model ever created. It’s where Aperion’s programs for energy, health, business and transportation are connected directly to your home.

The company website lists the development at a just-slightly larger 5,500 acres, which means residents will have even more room to spread their windmills. Aperion is also threatening a 6,000-acre development called Inspiration @ Lake Houston. All in all, there are five Inspiration communities proposed for Texas and two for New Mexico. That’s more than 36,434 acres of currently wasted farms and ranchland transformed into sustainable, productive living spaces. Go green!