AP NEWS

Development proceeds near creek amid resident concerns

May 5, 2019

Despite resident complaints, a developer is moving forward with plans for a new apartment complex in The Vintage, according to Matt Zeve, deputy executive director of the Harris County Flood Control District.

Residents of surrounding neighborhoods voiced concerns about adding new development in an area that has flooded during storm events such as Hurricane Harvey.

At a flood control district community engagement meeting April 29, Zeve provided updates about his efforts to purchase land on which two apartment complexes are planned.

The 51-acre site is at the southwest corner of Cutten Road and Vintage Preserve Parkway at the confluence of Cypress Creek and Pillot Gully in northwest Harris County. If the flood control district were to acquire the land, Zeve said it could instead be used for a detention basin and a possible park or trail.

Broadstone Vintage Park apartments by Alliance Residential are slated for the west section of the site. Zeve said the developer intends to move forward with construction of the apartments.

Vintage Park Senior Living apartments by Sparrow Partners, as well as a detention pond, are planned in the site’s east section. Zeve told residents at the April 29 meeting that his office’s attempts to contact Sparrow had been unsuccessful.

At a meeting April 17, Chris Doherty with BGE — an engineering company that works with The Vintage development — said that the middle section of the tract belongs to V&W Partners, a partnership of Kickerillo Companies and Mischer Investments.

To acquire land, the flood control district must order a property appraisal, which Zeve said he has requested for the middle part of the property.

Depending on the appraisal results, the flood control district may make a formal offer to purchase the land from V&W. However, Zeve said, Alliance Residential maintains the right of first refusal on that property.

“There’s basically 34 months where anybody who wants to buy this piece of land, they have the right to come in and make the same exact offer and buy it from anyone else who comes,” Zeve said.

BGE conducted a drainage impact study for the 51 acres of land. The study states that 13.8 acre-feet of fill will be placed in parts of the site that are within the current floodplain.

Doherty said at the April 17 meeting that the development would offset the additional fill by excavating approximately twice the amount of fill brought to the site. He also said the drainage study showed that the development would not affect water surface elevation during 100-year storm events, which meets a requirement for developing in a floodplain.

“The way they demonstrated that was by building this detention basin and showing that they’re going to direct the water to the basin and the basin will go into Pillot Gully,” Zeve said.

One point of resident concern is that as water spreads out of Pillot Gully’s banks during rain events, the placement of the additional fill may direct more of the excess water into surrounding neighborhoods and businesses.

Zeve said flood concerns have been voiced about planned developments in other areas of the county as well. Moving forward, Zeve said he’s asked his staff, as well as Harris County Permits, to make him aware of new proposed developments that may lead to concerns.

“That way we catch them earlier on,” Zeve said. “Before, we didn’t … But obviously, we’re in a different world and I’ve heard this in other places in Harris County too. …We’re trying to be more vigilant.”

mfeuk@hcnonline.com