Members of Houston’s City Council are calling for more time to debate flood control plans proposed by Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office released just late last month. Some council members are also suggesting public input should be included before the council votes on the plan’s implementation.
Turner’s proposed plan would require all buildings be elevated at least two feet above the ground, while those within the “500 year” flood plain be elevated at least two feet above the projected flood level. The current standard is for buildings to be elevated one foot above the “100 year” flood plain level.
District A Council Member Brenda Stardig spoke out against the alleged haste in moving forward with the plans. Her district includes the Addicks Reservoir, which released thousands of gallons of water during Hurricane Harvey and flooded more than a hundred homes.
“If there’s anyone on this council who believes that’s acceptable, I’d be shocked. Less than a week? This is too important to our city,” she said. “I won’t be bullied into it and I won’t be shamed into it.”
District E Council Member Dave Martin, who represents flood-stricken portions of northeast and southeast Houston, also called for opening up the plan to public comments.
“Why not have a community input meeting in arguably some of the hardest-hit areas?” said Martin. “We always do it. Let’s be transparent. I would charge us with making sure that transparency is number one in our mode of thinking.”
In a press statement, Turner spoke out on the need for Council to pass the ordinances and enact flood control plans as soon as possible.
“We have had three ‘500-year floods’ in the last 3 years. To continue as if nothing has changed is unrealistic and to delay action is irresponsible….In the end, the Council should enact the ordinances. It would be a serious mistake to not make significant changes that mitigate the risk of flooding.”
The additional debate and discussions would delay putting the plan into action until at least the spring, and possibly into the 2018 hurricane season.