In A Sign Of The Times, Houston City Council Candidates Make Flood Control A Priority

More than half of the candidates who responded to Houston Public Media’s flood survey said Houston should stop building new construction in the 100-year floodplain.

By Jen RiceOctober 21, 2019 12:20 pm, , , ,

From Houston Public Media:

Flooding isn’t explicitly on the ballot for Houston City Council. But it’s the top worry for Houston voters heading into the November election, according to last month’s Houston Public Media/KHOU poll.

So, to find out how the next City Council might combat flooding, Houston Public Media surveyed all of the candidates. Our online survey included seven questions. We sent it to all 111 candidates in 16 races and received more than 70 responses.

(Read the full responses to the survey here.)

Nearly 60% of candidates who responded said Houston should stop building new construction in the 100-year floodplain.

“People are now running on flood policy,” says Texas A&M University professor Sam Brody. “And I think that’s a sign of the times.”

That opposition to building in the floodplain was even higher in some races, like District C, which includes chronically flooded neighborhoods like Meyerland. In that race, three quarters of candidates said they want to halt new development in the 100-year floodplain. Both candidates running in District E, which covers heavily impacted areas like Kingwood, also said they oppose it.

“The only groups that will benefit from developing in a floodplain are developers,” wrote Sam Cleveland, who is challenging incumbent Dave Martin in District E.

That’s very different from the responses from at-large candidates, who represent the entire city but do not have constituents tied to specific neighborhoods. The majority of those city-wide candidates — about 57%– did support new construction in the 100-year floodplain.

“Not building would remove far too much from taxable value, housing costs would rise untenably, and the City couldn’t maintain so much vacant land,” says Bill Baldwin, who’s running for At-Large Position 4.

Read more.