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Market Value. Appraised Value. Property Tax. Tax per Square Foot. Interactive Map: Tax per Square Foot Quickly identify tax rates in your area and see how much your neighbors are paying in property taxes. The companies had spent money on infrastructure and would have been unable to sell homes. Pat Brown's firm continued to provide engineering services for more than a dozen subdivisions that soon sprouted near Barker in both counties, records show.
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During the Kelliwood and Cinco Ranch building boom, Brown also served as vice chair of the Houston planning commission, which approved many more developments in the flood pool. Katz, who served with Brown as chairman, signed dozens of subdivision maps with the inundation warnings in the s; he said he never noticed them. Houston's two reservoirs are inside city limits, and the flood pools are in its extended planning areas. So planning commission members, such as Brown and later Kilkenny, reviewed and approved others' flood pool subdivisions in both Harris and Fort Bend counties.
In the early s, Brown's firm also worked briefly as a paid consultant for Harris County studying reservoir flooding. After Brown's retirement, his former firm continued to consult for Cinco Ranch municipal utility districts. Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack told the Chronicle he didn't think warnings were necessary for properties in his county.
He says flood pool risks have long been discussed in community meetings and that he gave speeches about them. Larry Dunbar, a lawyer and an engineer who is involved in flood pool litigation, questions why for decades both Harris County and Houston relied on insiders with an "essential bias" as consultants and as city decision-makers. James said she is disturbed by the idea that planning commissioners involved as businessmen in developing her subdivision never discussed reservoir risks. During Harvey, James waded out of her house through hip-deep water to escape with her husband, her neighbors and 20 dogs inside a military-style troop-transport truck.
James' house was paid for, and the couple planned to retire there. Now they're renting an apartment and trying to decide whether to take out another mortgage to reinvest in an area that the reservoir could claim again. Residents of the Cinco Ranch and Kelliwood areas of Ft.
In the s, the building boom west of Barker Reservoir accelerated under the leadership of Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, a multimillionaire developer-turned-politician. Lanier, along with other builders, donated land to speed the construction of the Grand Parkway.
As mayor, he also moved money intended for a monorail to help build the Westpark Tollway. Both roads made the former rice farms and ranches attractive to commuters. The area known as Cinco Ranch soon became one of the nation's fastest-growing developments.
As a developer, Kilkenny's firm was involved in Kelliwood and Cinco Ranch subdivision deals. On behalf of Wheatstone Development, he personally signed a subdivision map for the Kelliwood Pointe subdivision with the inundation warning in Lanier, who's now deceased, in appointed Kilkenny to the Houston planning commission. As a commissioner, Kilkenny voted to approve many more subdivisions with reservoir warnings in the Cinco Ranch area, though he said his firm didn't own land there at the time of those votes.
Fort Bend officials say their warnings generated controversy among West Houston developers.
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Kilkenny said he never noticed. Kilkenny said he first became aware of the potential dangers of the reservoir flood pools in , when the Corps of Engineers announced that it had rated Houston's earthen dams as "extremely high risk" — in part because of all the homes and businesses around them. A report issued the same year warned that private properties upstream from the dams could be flooded for as long as days if it rained long enough and if the floodgates were closed to protect Houston.
Kilkenny served as planning commission vice chairman from and as chairman from During those years, the commission didn't discuss reservoir flood pool risks when it approved plans for an Alzheimer's home, a nonprofit shelter for the families of the terminally ill and for Kelliwood Park subdivision, all near the boundaries of Barker Reservoir, according to Kilkenny and commission minutes. All were approved without any discussion, records show. Harris and Fort Bend county representatives attended those meetings and also didn't speak up. The threat of the flood pools seemed hypothetical and outside the planning commission's scope until 50 inches of rain fell in a few days, Kilkenny said.
During Harvey, water spilled out of Barker Reservoir and consumed the streets of the surrounding subdivisions. It lingered for days.
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The water got so deep that, after the rain finally stopped, Fernando Roca drove a Jet Ski more than a mile down roads that looked like part of a lake to reach his home. Inside, the floodwaters had risen nearly a foot, damaging built-in bookshelves, the custom fireplace and a central stairway — details that had attracted Roca and his wife to buy their home new in March They have no idea what it's worth now. Fernando and his wife, Melissa, are involved in the lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers for using their property to store reservoir water. But the Rocas also want answers from government officials and developers about why there was no disclosure of flood-pool risks in the huge stockpile of title insurance, mortgage papers and legal documents that Melissa managed to save.
Roca, who has an MBA, and his wife and daughter are now bunking with his parents. After a recent family dinner, they stayed at the table to pore through papers that they received at closing. Their fat file contains no reference to the Kelliwood Park subdivision's warning about "extended controlled inundation.
The sunset is reflected in a drainage canal connected to Buffalo Bayou, near the Kelliwood and Cinco Ranch areas, in Katy.
Houston's earthen dams were erected to protect downtown Houston from the kind of catastrophe that wrecked the city during the Great Flood of Back in the s, it didn't matter if flood pools formed west of the dam across a vast Katy prairie filled with rice farms that attracted huge flocks of snow geese. But most of the time, the reservoir lake beds are deceptively dry — city and county parks inside the federal lands today offer trails, soccer fields, baseball stadiums and even a zoo.
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For three decades, civil engineers working for developers, for counties and for the Corps of Engineers have carefully calculated the size and shapes of the flood pools — the ones that would form in a year flood as well as the largest or "maximum" flood pools. They produced maps based on factors such as the height of the dams, the elevation of surrounding subdivisions, estimated rainfall and the density of concrete and rooftops.
But flood pool maps are hard to find.
One version appears in green on the wall inside the city planning commission office. Others appear in reports published by the Corps in and by Costello Inc. County commissioners, lawyers, flooded-out homeowners, lawmakers and businessmen have floated ideas that could alert property owners to the potential dangers of the flood pools in neighborhoods upstream of Addicks and Barker dams and protect dams from encroaching development. Here are some of them:. Federal lawsuits seek to force the U.