Push for rezoning unlikely after northwest Houston explosion

Two dead, hundreds of homes damaged, and a nagging question which reemerges every time something industrial blows up in the Bayou City - is it finally time Houston fully embraced strict, new zoning standards?

"We don't need to make a knee jerk decision," said Houston City Council member Michael Kubosh.

Standing in front of the wreckage of Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, Kubosh delivered an unequivocal answer.

"I don't think zoning will ever pass in the City of Houston. We are too embedded in the way things are already done," said Kubosh.

The query over zoning rang out four years ago after the Laverne street blast - a massive explosion and fire at a chemical storage facility perilously close to homes in Spring Branch.

"There were basically bombs in the air," said former Houston City Council member Brenda Stardig who is currently running for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 3.

Deeply alarmed by the 2016 incident, Stardig says the push for zoning ran into a brick wall of financial reality.

"The unintended consequences of the lawsuits. The cost of lawsuits to taxpayers in the long run," said Stardig.

Better says both Stardig and Kubosh to more intensely police industry and better inform home buyers of potential hazards from commercial neighbors.

"We need to move toward identifying potential disaster type chemicals, types of gases to protect our citizens from this type of tragedy," said Kubosh.

Mayor Sylvester Turner appears to agree, signaling his support for new industrial disclosure rules to warn first responders and residents of potential hazards.