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cloud713

Bayou Flood Zone Construction Regulations

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hypothetically speaking.. (obviously im not going to be doing any construction of my own in a bayou flood zone) what are the regulations for constructing objects along low lying areas of the bayou (in the flood zone i suppose?), like park trails, or that manmade swimming hole?

is there any kind of special process that would have to be gone through in order for someone like the city to get approval to build the structure there, or since its the city theoretically building it, and its on city owned property (the "flood zones" along all the bayous are city property, correct?), they can just build whatever they want, wherever they want, even if it might get washed away in a high storm surge..?

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I too have been asking this question. There is a ton of money going into buffalo bayou trails and structures which WILL go underwater at some point in the future. I am wondering if that is somehow accounted for in the building design and construction. Then there is likely millions of dollars in landscaping and such..... Will that all not be ruined under 20' of fast moving, muddy, water?

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The trail on White Oak Bayou North of 11th has been underwater a number of times, and seems to come out OK. Lots of trash in the guardrail, but no other damage. Of course, there's no delicate landscaping there. I suspect anything build in the flood prone area of a bayou has to take the potential for high water into account.

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The underlying criteria for anything built in the floodplain would be that it cause no adverse impacts to existing flood conditions. The City is not exempted from these requirements.

A no adverse impact certification is typically accomplished by ensuring that the project doesn't reduce floodplain storage, doesn't reduce the ability of the waterway to convey flows, and doesn't increase water surface elevations upstream. There are also requirements to mitigate the impact of increased runoff due to increased impervious cover.

Depending on the location in the floodplain the requirements vary. Developments on the floodplain fringe, where depth and conveyance are minimal, generally only require an analysis of floodplain storage (no net fill in floodplain). Areas closer to the center of the channel that have greater inundation depth and conveyance require more detailed modeling and analysis.

The area designated as a floodway is typically a "no-go" zone. No fill our development allowed there, at least not without a great deal of analysis, channel improvements, and floodplain map revisions.

Also vastly different requirements for an insurable structure (house or office) than a road our trail.

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Unless I'm mistaken, most of the "danger zone" homes and subdivisions that would be most susceptible in a flood have been bought out and razed. Others may be grandfathered in, I suppose (the downtown areas seem also vulnerable). Bike trails, bridges, and even lighting fixtures are designed to go underwater...there's small parks along the Trinity (Dallas) and the Mississippi (Baton Rouge) that are supposed to flood so that real occupied parts don't.

 

A lot of this stems from Tropical Storm Allison, which had unprecedented flooding, flooding that may not be seen again in decades or perhaps a century (hence the term hundred-year floodplain).

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/\ /\ /\

 

Correct.  In addition, part of the deal with the Buffalo Bayou park development is pulling out vegetation that doesn't belong there and replacing it with natives.  Once they've got a root system established, they do just fine in floods - shoot, that's part of why river bottomland is so fertile.

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i dont want to start a new thread, but since its related to construction and water, i figured id just ask in here. say you have lake front property... how far out into the water does ones property generally extend (if any at all)? and whats to stop the government or some higher authority from coming in and building a structure just beyond your property in the water?

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cloud, that depends upon just what sort of lake we're dealing with.

 

On one end, we've got places like Lake Travis, where the people who own property that is usually submerged still own it, and get really irate when the boathouses belonging to people uphill start landing on their freshly re-revealed shorefront property.  Somerville or Lewisville, you own up to the shoreline cable, regardless of how close or far it is to the water's edge.  And any number of other variations.

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nice. thanks for the info. i was trying to be somewhat discrete, but now that its out there in another thread... how about structures along a bayou? would it be possible to build a boardwalk along the bayou between Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou Park? i assume the only way for it to be possible would be to have land owners on one side of the bayou saying its cool to build it along side their property, and the people on the other side wouldnt be able to do anything about it? there are stretches through there where there are some private residences, but pretty much always only on one side of the bayou, making me think it might be possible to skip across from one side of the bayou to the other and make it all the way from Memorial Park to Buffalo Bayou Park without dealing with private residences?

edit. do private residences even own property all the way down to the edge of the bayou, or is that city property or something since its basically a flood plain?

Edited by cloud713

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Once again, it kinda depends.  There are property descriptions that encompass waterways, but if it's "navigable" (i.e., either you really can put a boat on it, or it's 30' from cut bank to cut bank) the public has the right to use the waterway but not the adjoining land.  As best as I can tell from looking at the HCAD maps, there are a bunch of property lines in the middle of bayous.  On the other hand, there are also places where a flood control district or some other governmental entity has actually acquired the land - for example, Somerville and Lewisville are owned by the Corps of Engineers - not to mention parks.

 

This is as it exists in Texas.  In other states, YMMV.

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Apparently if you are Oscar Renda, then you also don't have to worry about flood zones.   He has brought in mountains of dirt into the 100 yr flood zone and even the floodway near TC Jester and I10. 

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Apparently if you are Oscar Renda, then you also don't have to worry about flood zones.   He has brought in mountains of dirt into the 100 yr flood zone and even the floodway near TC Jester and I10. 

 

Is this that cat at the end of the cul-de-sac off Shelterwood?

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