David Ball

For The Record

Though Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey hit the area nearly nine months ago, flooding issues from slow drainage remains an issue. Particularly in Bridge City.

The Bridge City City Council held its regular meeting Tuesday night where citizens spoke about flooding in their neighborhood and a preliminary plat for a subdivision was tabled over drainage concerns.

The first to speak during citizen comments was Robbie Kelcher who lives on Charlotte Street. He said a proposed housing development adjacent to his property would create additional flooding issues.

The road slopes to FM 1442 at the end of a cul de sac, the water runs off to a small ditch, the small ditch empties into a larger ditch that combines with the water flow off from Arthur Street. Water from the Scofield Addition will flow through the proposed housing project.

“It floods fairly easily,” he said.

HIs wife, Cindy Kelcher, spoke next. She said her neighborhood flooded again after Harvey.

“Has anything been done with the drainage?” she asked. “It floods at the drop of a hat. I have to mulch my flower beds four times a year (to restore them). The water has no place to go.

“We’re all for growth. We need to tax dollars, but a subdivision with 40 homes and no drainage will flood the street.”

Nearby neighbor Joshua Taylor lives on Elsie Street. He wanted to know if the city has researched elevation issues. He added that the new homes in the proposed subdivisions would have to be built at an elevation of 15 feet and flood all the other homes out.

The Council adopted a resolution designating a management service provider for the Texas Hazard Mitigation grant from the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the Texas Water Development Board. The city will mitigate major outfall ditches. Also adopted was a resolution to designate an engineering service provider. LJA Engineering was selected to mitigate the majority of outfall drainage and to replace low lying fire plugs and replace a number of manholes that lead to flooding.

The decision to approve a preliminary pat for Marsh Estates was ultimately tabled after discussion.

This is the new subdivision development previously referred to. The 15.51 acre tract with 41 lots would be located off of West Roundbunch Road.

Councilman Kirk Roccaforte asked if the drainage system has been engineered. City Manager Jerry Jones said the design system would had retained water and retention ponds would need to be brought in. Engineers have been working on the project for a year. If the preliminary plat was approved at Tuesday night’s meeting, it would have to then be approved by the Orange County Drainage District before proceeding to the final plat.

Jones said engineers will install a concrete lined ditch and divert storm water from a retention pond.

“It should help drainage on both ends,” he said. “It lest out less and retains it. On paper it should help everyone.”

He added that it’s based on a 100-year rain event.

Councilman Carl Harbert said he would like to meet with the developer in the subdivision and see things for himself.

Cindy Kelcher asked how that would help them when they’ve lost four and a half feet of their yard to flooding.

Councilwoman Tammi Fisette said she walked the ditch in that addition, even during a storm, and the water was at a standstill. When the rain stopped, the water retreated back from Arthur Street to Elsie Street.

“We keep saying ‘I hope this works,’ but what if if doesn’t? It could create more flooding potential than we already have,” she said. “We haven’t quite figured it out. I don’t think it’s worth it. Do I want to see more beautiful houses? Yes, but fix the issues first.”

The plat would go back to the city’s planning and zoning committee who would have the final say-so. It would not come back to the City Council for approval.

The item was tabled so Councimembers could speak with the developer.