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City of Houston Floodplain and Drainage Regulations

December 2018

Rippling Water Surface with Light Reflections

The City of Houston recently made some major revisions to Chapter 19, the floodplain ordinance, and to Chapters 9 and 13 regarding drainage in the infrastructure design manual. These new regulation changes went into effect on September 1.

We anticipated there would be growing pains for city staff in trying to implement such major changes in such a compressed period of time and determining what would be required for permit and inspection approval. The city has made progress, albeit slowly, in providing information on regulation compliance.

Recently, the Houston Permitting Center officially updated the required Prerequisite Checklist for single-family residential plans to reflect the new floodplain ordinance.

The checklist released on October 5, now includes mitigation plan requirements from revisions to Chapter 19 for projects in the 100 or 500-year floodplain, as well as documentation for Chapter 9 and 13 changes to stormwater detention, impervious cover calculation and grading.

As a reminder, plan submittals are only considered to be administratively complete once the Houston Permitting Center is in receipt of all the required drawings, documents, worksheets and forms as outlined on the residential Prerequisite Checklist.

If you submitted plans prior to September 1 and they were deemed administratively complete, then they fall under the old regulations. However, if you submitted plans after September 1 or the plans were not administratively complete under the old checklist, then they’re under the new regulations and would need to be resubmitted.