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County approves floodplain regulation change

Five hundred is the new one hundred.

The Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously on Tuesday to make significant changes to the way the county regulates new development, including a slew of new restrictions in Hurricane Harvey’s wake that officials say are necessary to prepare the Houston area for future flooding events.

The regulations will, for the first time in two decades, increase the amount new homes must be elevated to avoid floodwaters, up to 8 feet higher than previously required in some flood-prone parts of the county.

The new rules also would, for the first time, impose regulations in a 500-year floodplain instead of a 100-year floodplain.

See here for the background. This would take effect on January 1, and the idea has support from developers’ groups. A lot more than this will be needed, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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  1. neither here nor there says:

    Only seems to help new owners in flood plain. The water will be diverted down stream, thanks Ed Emmett. No increase in detention, but truck loads of dirt brought in to get in out of the possible flood plain.

  2. Bill Daniels says:


    Any new development is going to exacerbate flooding elsewhere. Even if you bring zero truckloads of dirt to a construction site, the mere act of building roads and houses decreases the available ground to soak up rain. It’s always been this way, and it’s not fair for you to tell vacant property owners that they can’t build on their own land.

    I think most of the dirt used for elevation on a build site comes from the site itself, from cutting out roads, digging the sewer system, and these days, digging out the mandatory storm water retention pond on site. Fill sand for leveling and the cement for roads and foundations are probably the only thing actually trucked in to building sites these days.

  3. neither here nor there says:

    Don’t think Bill, state facts. The other option is they don’t get to build which does help more than building.

    It is not okay to tell vacancy owners they can’t build but it is okay to tell them they can’t fix their homes?

    Bill it is raining today, are you going to argue that it is not raining in Houston today?

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    OK, Neither, what’s you solution to Houston’s flooding woes? Are you announcing a moratorium on new building in our region? For what it’s worth, I disagree with government telling private property owners they can’t rebuild their own houses or businesses. Having said that, I do agree with government telling those people that FEMA won’t insure their properties for future floods based on past history, and to rebuild at their own risk.

    If you don’t like the requirement for new structures to be built up, what is YOUR solution, one that would be fair to both existing property owners and owners of vacant land who want to build?

  5. Bill Daniels says:


    Perhaps one thing we all can agree on is the need for an edit feature for this blog.

  6. neither here nor there says:

    Bill it is up to FEMA to decide, not the local governments. I used to have flood insurance through State Farm, until FEMA basically took it all over.

    FEMA could raise the rates, it would hurt coastal communities more that is the reason rates are low comparatively speaking.

    For every part of impervious surface an equal amount of detention should occur, I believe it is at 50% but then you have so many entities that don’t have to provide detention. The City and the County for two.

    Take the Hike and Bike Trail that will run from one end of Brays to the other, over 12 acres of concrete will be poured adjacent to the bayou and not a single hole for detention.

    Many of those people that will not be allowed to rebuild do not have flood insurance. When they give grants out to raise homes, they give then to people with million dollar homes. Do you think Ed Wolff really needs a $30,000 small business loan to raise his home?

    When they widen highways, very seldom do they provide for detention and if they do it is a small detention, but they tend to channel the water directly to the bayous.

    Do I have the solution, no, but pushing people out of the property is not right. Just like the developers have a right to vacant property so do the people that have flooded. Property rights does not stop at developers property lines.