HOUSTON – When it rains in Houston, sometimes it pours. And when it pours, sometimes we hold our breath. And we all know why!
Thanks to Memorial Day, Tax Day and Harvey, we’ve all been schooled in hurricane hell. And when it comes to building new structures in this city, what have we learned?
“I’ve repeatedly said, ‘we cannot do the same things the same way and expect a different result,'” said Mayor Turner, a man with a plan. He hopes city council will vote on new flood ordinances next month.
“We are going to make some substantive changes and you should not be looking at the 100-year flood plain in how you develop. You need to be focusing even now on the 500-year flood plain,” Turner said.
That means, new homes would need to be built two feet higher than previously ordained. Homes being raised would have to be raised higher. And, yes, that would trigger higher housing costs.
“Oh hell no!” said Alex Rodriguez. “We can barely afford to repair what we’ve got now.”
Pam Smelley said, “We would probably sell the house and leave that to the next owner, the next property owner, and not take that on ourselves.”
“But relatively speaking,” according to the mayor. “It will be a lot less than not doing anything.”
“Given what it costs to build or rebuild a house,” said Roger Medvin. “I think you’d be out of your mind not to go the maximum you can go to raise your house.”
Eric Lipman believes, “It would kick the problem down the road a bit, perhaps but, more has to be done.”
Those residents who already have permits or new construction in the works will be grand-fathered.
“The goal is to be stronger and more resilient,” Turner said.
If city council adopts the proposed changes, the mayor hopes to implement them by the end of 2018.