West Houston resident: My neighborhood was used as a retention pond

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "You see that water line break?"

Katie Mehnert never expected to give a tour of her Nottingham Forest neighborhood on a boat with other flooded neighbors in tow.

"Do you feel like your neighborhood was used as a retention pond?" we asked her.

"I do, I do," she said. I am upset about that."

In fact, hundreds of homeowners in west Houston are frustrated and angry. Most homeowners in the area along the Energy Corridor were dry until the federal Army Corps of Engineers released water from the dams nearby.

Now, homeowners wonder if there were other options?

"They're using all this property, beautiful property, as a retention pond right now," said Grace Carter, who maneuvered an inflatable boat to her home to retrieve additional belongings. "They're holding their water here, and the Corps has to re-examine their choices."

Besides the frustrations with the flooding, homeowners are also upset about the response, specifically the pace they feel like their requests have been handled. Homeowners would like to see more police patrols at entry points to various neighborhoods, including Nottingham Forest and Thornwood.

Residents have been voicing their displeasure on Facebook for days and were eager to see city leaders visit their community. Tuesday afternoon, at-large council member Jack Christie joined the homeowners for a first-hand tour.

"It's devastating," said Christie, who believes the funding will come through to help Houstonians tackle flooding on a larger scale.

"Is it global warming, is it the dikes, dams, is it the decision making? I don't know," he said. "It's not going to be a simple answer."

Answers, though, were exactly what residents were looking for. Tuesday evening, more than 100 frustrated homeowners from the neighborhood gathered at the community pool. They had a long list of flood-related concerns and hoped more officials were on hand to listen.

As Mehnert led the meeting, council member Christie tried to address many of the residents' concerns, which centered on flooding, security and government funding.

Homeowners wanted a FEMA representative on site but were told one could not come on short notice.

Shortly after the meeting began, council member Greg Travis, who represents the west side of Houston, arrived. Travis told homeowners that he has been working on a variety of issues on their behalf for the past several days.

Travis also was quick to criticize Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo.

"The mayor has not visited my district, and I have asked him several times," he said. Travis also criticized Chief Acevedo, accusing the chief of trying to hinder his rescue efforts with the National Guard.

"Used National Guard to get these people safely to their homes to retrieve medicines, documents and work clothes. Police told me to stop," tweeted Travis later Tuesday evening.

The council member was out of town during Harvey's landfall and most of last week. He tells Eyewitness News he was stuck out of town while representing the City of Houston at the decommissioning of the USS Houston at Kitsap Naval Base in Washington State.

Mayor Turner's communications office said the mayor is aware of both criticisms and compliments relating to the City's response to Harvey.

Meanwhile, at Nottingham Forest, it is clear that homeowners would like more visits from officials.

"We just don't want to be left behind," said Mehnert, who vows to rebuild.

Most of the homeowners did not have flood insurance. It could be weeks before the water recedes. A visit from the mayor, state officials and FEMA would all be welcome in west Houston.

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