Houstonians react to new floodplain building codes

- Houston City Council narrowly passed new requirements for homes being built in the 500 year floodplain, mandating that they must be elevated two feet above the base flood elevation. The new law goes into effect September 1, 2018.

The increase in elevation will also be increasing the price of new builds.

“I mean it’s numbers. An average 4,000 square-foot house, the increase could be between 15 and $20,000," said James Andreatos, Owner of Derek James Homes.

While Andreatos admits the new elevation requirements will bring in more money for his business, the decision by city council, he thinks, was made too soon. 

“I feel like it was an overreaction to a big storm," said Andreatos.

Derek James Homes is currently constructing a new home in Meyerland that was already elevated by the current building codes before Harvey hit.

The water never made it inside of the home.

“It’s hard to argue that this isn’t built sufficiently already as it is with the regulations as they are," said Andreatos.

A few streets over lives Michelle Comstock.

“l have to continue to think that hurricane Harvey was an anomaly," said Comstock.

Her house did flood during Harvey, for the first time ever. It was built in the 60’s so it’s not elevated. 

“Just to simply raise it is about $200,000," said Comstock who said she couldn't justify the cost.

For someone who has lived in a neighborhood prone to flooding, Comstock too feels the new codes to elevate new homes are a bad move.

“We are the ones who are mitigating their problems because we are raising our houses. They’re not fixing the problem because the water is still going to be there, they’re just making us raise the houses," argued Comstock.

The city is confident this will help future builds, pointing to a statistic saying 84 percent of the homes that were damaged during Harvey would have been spared if the new regulations were in place.

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