HOUSTON (Houston Chronicle) – City council agreed last week to require all new construction in the city’s flood plains be built two feet above the projected water level in a 500-year storm.
The new rules will take effect Sept. 1 and apply to all new buildings within the 500-year flood plain, which has a 0.2 percent chance of being inundated.
Current regulations mandate that buildings be constructed one foot above the flood level in a less severe 100-year storm. They apply only within the 100-year floodplain, where properties are considered to have a 1 percent chance of being inundated in a given year.
The unusually tight 9-7 vote is the city’s first major regulatory response to the widespread flooding Hurricane Harvey unleased last August. It also marks a shift away from the city’s longtime aversion to constraining development.