Harris County Commissioner's Court moved forward with a vote to adopt interim floodplain development rules yesterday, and one of the most sweeping changes is to the stormwater detention requirements for new development county-wide. The purpose of these changes is to continue to make the region more flood-resilient in the long-run, and stormwater detention and drainage play a huge role in this. Basically, detention is any feature on a tract of land that serves to slow down the rate of drainage downstream and/or into the storm sewer system. When the rate of drainage is too fast, that puts properties which may be downstream or "lower" at greater risk of flooding, and there is obviously a chain reaction to this. While most of the current regulations at the City and County level only affect very large tracts of land, this change and potential changes to the City of Houston's drainage plan may start to affect even typical residential lots and development on them.

Obviously, all of this can be quite confusing. But when reporters come questioning for the local real estate take, we all know who to call. In his capacity as Houston Association of Realtors Board Member, Bill Baldwin explained the changes to KHOU:

Bill Baldwin, a board member with the Houston Association of Realtors, one of the groups included in the letter, spoke with KHOU 11 following Tuesday’s vote. Baldwin said HAR was not opposed to the new regulations but concerned over community involvement

“Overall, it’s a very positive step for the city and county to become more resilient,” Baldwin said. “If it makes them more resilient, that’s certainly better than flooding houses.”

Baldwin called the cost impact from Tuesday’s vote “fractional” and said the amount of land used for detention would have likely been green space anyway.

“Maybe the soccer field got two feet deeper than it was before,” Baldwin said. “Maybe the lake’s a little deeper. Maybe it’s a little wider.”

Bill covers this and other topics in his class "The Realtor's Survival Guide to Houston's Floodplain Ordinance," which is really useful info for any Houstonian to have. You can find a schedule for those classes here.

Posted by Boulevard Realty on


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