Montgomery County Engineer Mooney admits County flood plain maps are 57 years out of date

Montgomery County Engineer Mark Mooney spoke to the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, about aerobic variances for homes built in the flood plain.

Conroe, March 26 – Montgomery County Engineer Mark Mooney admitted to the Commissioners Court that the flood plain maps the County government uses to approve development for the purpose of platting and permitting are 57 years out of date!

Mooney spoke with the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, about aerobic variances for homes built in the flood plain. The discussion ended up revealing a gigantic issue that County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and others have failed to address for decades: the changing delineation of the flood plain and flood way inside of Montgomery County as it proceeds with development.

Mooney noted that “We give a lot of variances or septic systems within the flood plain…and the thought was that if we eliminate a septic variance in the flood plain, we eliminate a home being built in the flood plain, which then could eliminate a high water rescue…I think if we can eliminate them we can eliminate that many…How many do we have today? Twelve?”

Mooney explained that the homes built in the flood plain are built to the County’s minimum standards by elevation about the level of the flood plain. He further explained, in response to a question from Riley, that the County Engineer’s Office doesn’t even see the applications for septic system variances within the flood plain, because another bureaucracy, the County Environmental Health and Permitting Department, handles those variance requests. Houses receive permitting from the Permit office if they’re built one foot above the flood plain, although the septic system may be in the flood plain.

“In order to really use that information properly, the maps [of the flood plain] should reflect” where flooding occurs in 100-year events, Mooney told the Commissioners Court. The County Engineer said that Montgomery County’s FEMA flood plain map is out of date.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing a study called Atlas 14” which incorporates the flood date from Tropical Storm Harvey, Mooney said.

Mooney admitted that the data used currently in flood plain maps in Montgomery County is from 1961.

Mooney admitted that the data used currently in flood plain maps in Montgomery County is from 1961.

“As everybody knows in this room, we get another 100-year event it seems like every other month,” County Engineer Mooney told the Commissioners Court with the audience’s jaws dropped to the floor. “If this data set turns out to be viable, the maps [which NOAA is redrawing] should correspond to the change…The federal government has not indicated they’re interesting in making that change [to the County flood plain maps],” Mooney said. “Harris County spent over $30 million to redraw its flood plain maps in 2001 and took seven years to complete,” said the County Engineer.

 

 

 

 

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