Happy Halloween Elm Grove and Kingwood!
I wanted to give you my update from this week. And I think this update may affect much of the NorthPark Flooding long-term.
This week we have been in contact with Harris County Flood and with the TCEQ and have movement on both. Additionally, I submitted a request for a congressional inquiry to the Army Corp for a wetland’s violation. And all of this is in process.
I have had several of you come to me and ask questions on things that have been evaluated, so I want to give a bulleted history and recap as well as a report of where we are today, and if you will indulge me, I feel we are on the edge of good news, but some of our helpers are facing an election and I think that may screw us if the wrong people win. In fact, I’m very worried about it. I really don’t think it’s in our best interest to start from scratch with our councilman and I don’t think it’s in our best interest to have a mayor that has not been working and researching this problem from day one.
- On 5/5 (Sunday) I emailed Dave Martin regarding the situation in Elm Grove on behalf of the Elm Grove HOA. Because of this letter I had both the City of Houston and Harris County Flood Control District at my house on the morning of 5/8. I think they would have come sooner but we flooded on Tuesday and it delayed them. I was very impressed with how seriously Dave Martin’s office took my email and how quickly they responded.
- On 5/11 I met Bill King and he as well as Julie Green, Ladd Bremer, myself and all Elm Grove HOA members walked Taylor Gully. I explained the issues I had learned about the ownership issues and pointed out some of the issues with the gully.
Dave Martin and Bill King have not left Elm Grove’s side since this started in May. Now many of you keep saying, “What are we doing?” I want everyone to understand this, in as much as I have had to learn how all of this works, so have Dave and Bill because this situation has never existed. And although it has illuminated many deficiencies in the law, it didn’t change the fact that residents of Elm Grove and Kingwood at large were in grave danger. We all had to find ways to combat the big bully, Perry Homes.
Since May, Dave, Clarissa and Jessica, as well as Judge Hidalgo and Harris County Flood, have taken every one of my calls and emails with every one of my ideas of how to fix this.
I admit that in May, I thought we highlighted this and Perry Homes would surely take this seriously and fix it. Dave was not so hopeful and went on to talk to James Metts and Matt Keough, trying to get them on board with this. And, he was trying to figure out where the cracks were so that we could make inroads to a resolution. And as for me, I just kept pushing to get the ditches turned over to HCFCD. In my naiveté of the situation, I figured get the ditches cleared out and bammo, problem solved. Yeah, not so much.
Then in Sept we had Imelda and it showed that not only had Perry Homes not fixed this, they made it worse, and I started to explore every avenue that we could to fix this problem permanently. I asked Bill King, Tony Buzzbee’s surrogate and Derrick Bronze how they would fix this problem, and only Bill King had an actual plan, which with some help from one of my residents that was at that meeting, started to help me see what we could do. This involved the ETJ. The city’s 5-mile border that reaches into MoCo, which is where this Perry Homes Woodridge Forest Property sits. Again, with Dave and Dave’s office, we figured out that this was not a route we could take because of the changes that were made to the annexation laws. Like Jessica told me, this path would take too long because it needed a vote.
At the same time, I started to evaluate if we can build a wall in Elm Grove. I had said to Edyth Cogdill right after Imelda that I would be putting cinder blocks along her property line to slow the water. And thus, my idea to build a wall was born. Build a wall in Elm Grove.
I had also heard the idea to file the cease for dumping as a way to leverage the laws in place to bring about a change, and although Dave is an accountant and not a lawyer, I applaud him for getting a democrat CoH on Kingwood’s side to even make the move to do this. As one person said to me, this is pretty unprecedented. Really, this whole thing is pretty unprecedented. And to his credit, Dave found a way to start some sort of legal action.
At the town hall, I was early and had a minute to talk to Dave and share with him that I had talked to KSA and we had punted around some ideas on what could be done. And one thing is to have the property donated. And as a wetland, there was a steep tax deduction that went along with that. East End Park was given to us the same way many years ago, and I let Dave know that KSA would be amenable because as it was pointed out to me, although Elm Grove was at the headwater, this was affecting all of Kingwood.
So, this is a very long way to say from the point I met with KSA and the possibility of that property being donated was put on the table, I have been forming a circle around that property that I hoped was putting pressure to resolve this by making it very expensive to continue.
I put out that list last week.
- TQEC Complaints for air and water
- USACE complaints for disturbed wetlands with an adjoined congressional inquiry through Dan Crenshaw’s office regarding the wetlands
- HCFCD for continued dumping into Taylor Gully
- Ongoing posts, videos, and pictures of Woodridge Forest and how undesirable it would be to buy a home
And then we have the City with the C/D
In the end, I would like to see one of two things happen, either the land be donated to KSA or sold to HCFCD, or a wall built along Elm Grove to protect it from the massive floodwaters that are inundating it. The plans that LJA signed off on do not include what is best for Elm Grove, and in my opinion, we were never considered. In talking with MoCo, they said the same; it was not required and therefore it was not done (even though it seems like common sense). Their only responsibility to us was to make sure the flow rate did not exceed the flow rate from the forest, and as we can see this is not happening. I think they have hit the water table and can’t make those ponds deep enough and the only solution is to give this back to Harris county/KSA and be done with it. Katie Britton says she wants her company to have integrity and to be a community leader which requires acting responsibly. If I was Katie Britton, I would put my money where my mouth was and donate this property, acting with the integrity she espouses in her PR videos. I would applaud her for making the right choice and feel it would be something that they could point to for years to come as doing business the right way. They could be the hero here and not the villain.
In the wind, I’ve got a feeling this is being considered. However, I worry that a change in leadership in the wrong direction will see all our hard work stall. I need people like Dave Martin, Bill King and even Sylvester Turner on my team; on Elm Groves team and on Kingwood’s Team. They have demonstrated their commitment to fixing the flooding in Kingwood. For me, who has been out talking to people, these are the people that have come to our aid and not given me lip service. So, for whatever it’s worth, I’m asking Kingwood to vote and to vote for Martin and vote for King or Turner. Anything less and I’m afraid we will have to start over, and I’m here to tell you, folks, we cannot afford to start over.
I will admit I’m excited that my two solutions, a wall or a buyout may be closer and closer to reality.