Council moves forward with drainage projects

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Sealy city officials recently announced the receipt of a $2 million grant to improve drainage in the area and also want to move forward to protect the Westview Terrace subdivision from flooding.

The Community Development Block Grant application was submitted in September of last year to fund two storm water drainage projects – the Front Street project, which flows from the storm sewer on Eighth Street to the south along the west side of Front Street to Jason Street. The Front Street ditch project includes grading of the proposed ditch, driveway cross culverts, roadway repair and restoration, according to a city-issued statement.

“This project will provide conveyance relief to the alleyway ditch,” City Manager Lloyd Merrell said in the statement. “The alleyway ditch will be reconstructed from the outfall located south of Eighth Street to US-90. The alleyway ditch project includes reshaping the ditch, providing a concrete trickle channel for conveyance, one driveway culvert crossing and restoration.”

The Westview Terrace drainage project is separate from the grant, as CDBG funds must be used in low-income areas.

Drainage has long been a topic of discussion at Sealy City Council meetings.

During the Feb. 12 meeting, resident Felicita Fernandez said she has lived in Sealy for 35 years and expressed concerns about a new 24-unit apartment complex planned near her home at Schmidt Road and Acres Lane.

“Every time there’s a big rain, there’s flooding,” she said, referring to an area of undeveloped land near Walmart. “When it rains, it takes 10 days before it dries out, and you’re going to plant more cement. You need to listen to the community. I need somebody to do something. Nobody has informed any of the neighbors about this. This is commercial; this is not a home. You don’t know what’s coming … trash everywhere.”

Other residents expressed concern about potential parking overflow and increased traffic that could be caused by a new development.

Because the city does not have zoning, local ordinances are the only thing that protects development from being constructed adjacent to a residential neighborhood, explained consultant Roddy Williams, senior vice-president of Strand Associates.

“Our first call to action was, if we were to put the area in Westview Terrace back to its original condition, what storm would that convey,” he said. “When you’re sitting there upstream of Westview Terrace, 600 acres drain to that point … to an 18-inch pipe and eventually drains through pipes to Westview Terrace.”

Using 8x3 boxes may be the best method of managing drainage to Allen’s Creek, Williams said. He agreed to conduct a study of the Allen’s Creek Watershed and would prepare a fee to present to council.

“I think your biggest issue is don’t solve a problem upstream and create a new one downstream,” Williams said.

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