Council delays decision on stricter floodplain rules

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Houston city council passes new regulations that require new construction to be higher than 500 year floodplain (KTRK)

Members of the Houston city council delayed a vote Thursday to tighten rules for building in floodplains, known formally as "chapter 19" rules.

Houston city leaders proposed the new rules that would require new and "substantially" updated properties to be built well above existing floodplains.

The new floodplain ordinance would require buildings to be built above the 500-year flood level. Current rules only require buildings withstand a 100-year flood.
Houston saw three 500-year floods in three years between 2015 and 2017.



The changes will affect 85,739 pieces of property that were not previously in a regulated area, according to city data.

Building to that height is expensive however. Some Harvey victims expressed concerns that they would be forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild their homes to the new standards. In this case, a city spokesperson says those homes already in the rebuilding process may not be affected.

Council members Wednesday expressed concerns over building costs and ultimately delayed the item for a week. Mayor Sylvester Turner told council members at most of the meetings he went to, he heard support for the new rules.

"Let me assure you, it is coming back. With a vengeance," Turner said.

"It's coming back with urgency. Let me put it that way."

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