Houston officials are weighing a number of regulatory changes to harden the city for the next flood, one of which would extend and strengthen various rules governing development in local floodplains.
A lengthy City Council hearing Monday on the proposal featured a fair amount of testimony from developers, builders and engineers who said they are concerned the city isn’t basing its proposals on sufficient data. Some said the proposed elevation requirements, in particular, are overkill.
Mayor Sylvester Turner has proposed requiring all new buildings outside the floodplain to be elevated two feet above the ground, but that change would occur in the building code, not the floodplain ordinance now under discussion.
Within the floodplain ordinance, he also has proposed that new or rebuilt structures within the 500-year floodplain be placed two feet above the projected water level in a 500-year flood.
In the 500-year floodplain, Harvey flooded 6,896 buildings built before floodplains and another 7,460 structures built since then.
Most of the damage occurred outside any mapped floodplain, however.
An estimated 70,411 structures built before 1981 flooded and 19,066 built since then took on water, according to Public Works.
To learn more about floodplains in your area, check out thisinteractive county map.