Mayor Sylvester Turner has temporarily stopped a development project in Timbergrove Manor after an outcry from citizens concerned about impacts on flooding.
The Stanley Park subdivision, along with Palisades Park and a City Side Homes Urban Living project, were all under way when residents spoke out on social media and in The Leader about how those developments were inside the flood plain and could cause further flooding issues, not just on the newly developed properties, but also for current homeowners dealing with displaced water.
One of the projects, the Stanley Park subdivision, was red-tagged by Turner earlier this week.
“This Project is on hold,” Turner said at the June 26 Houston City Council Meeting. “I know Harris County Flood Control District has put a hold on it. We have also put a hold on it to take a look at it and evaluate and access it now. There are a lot of eyes on this project.”
However, residents say the developer continued to pile dirt on the site, resulting in several concerned neighbors reaching out to HCFCD and the city’s Floodplain Management Office. That’s what sparked Turner’s public statements.
As reported last month, the city of Houston has granted dozens of permits since Harvey, and Timbergrove Manor – whose southernmost street Queenswood Lane (and others) flooded heavily in Harvey – is now home to at least three of them. Of concern to residents is that the potential sites are not only within the flood plain – in some cases lower than the neighborhood homes which flooded – but also appear to be presenting water displacement concerns for those in the immediate vicinity.
Palisades Park homes, Stanley Park subdivision (a property which lies entirely within White Oak Bayou’s 100-year floodplain and has never before been built on), and City Side Homes Urban Living project all appear to be underway.
Requests for comment from site developers previously went unreturned.
Timbergrove residents near Shirkmere Road realized structures being built up for the City Side Homes Urban Living project had a two-foot high concrete wall with drains sloping towards their side, and contractors filled that concrete wall with dirt.
On the upper side of Shirkmere Road (between Hurst and 11th Street, where much of the activity is concentrated), residents can see the dirt from the property behind existing homes already draining to the front of those properties.
“I’ve never seen street flooding on Shirkmere and Hurst in 28 years, but now even a brief rain covered up the curb and several feet onto a property,” concerned resident Donna Christoffel said.
Since receiving a commercial fill permit from the city in April, residents say the Stanley Park subdivision developer has stacked soil across the site. Dirt spreads across the land west of T.C. Jester Boulevard – which has not previously been built on – adjacent to the train tracks near the end of Shirkmere Drive.
On the southernmost edge of the neighborhood, the Stanley Park project – which would contain 83 homes on seven acres directly behind Queenswood Lane and lies entirely within White Oak Bayou’s floodplain – came as a minor shock to residents.
A new street, named Stanley Park Drive, with accompanying similarly named stub streets, is planned to connect what are now dead ends at Shirkmere and Shelterwood Drive.
“The homes they’re building there would be a good 10-15 feet lower than Queenswood – I don’t understand how it could work for them,” Christoffel said. “…they’re using us as their flood plain.”