Liberty County asks engineering firm to review Colony Ridge plats

In this file photo, Liberty County Pct. 1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski (center) signs off on new plats for Colony Ridge, Southern Crossing and Encino Estates after the April 9, 2019, commissioners court meeting as David Douglas, who oversees the county's permit department, and Heath Marks with Colony Ridge look on.

Plats used in the creation of the Colony Ridge subdivisions south of Plum Grove will be getting another review by engineers following continuing complaints from Plum Grove residents that development of the new six subdivisions – Santa Fe, Montibello, Camino Real, Grand San Jacinto, Rancho San Vicente and Bella Vista – has led to flooding.

Over the last few years, residents of the small city in northwest Liberty County have appeared before commissioners court numerous times to complain about a number of issues they believe are related to the development, such as road damages, soil erosion, increased fire calls, random gunfire and flooding.

Last week, after seeing aerial images of the development and how it may be impacting areas downstream, the County authorized the engineering firm of LJA to review the plats and look for problems that may have been overlooked when the plats were originally approved by commissioners. This would be a second review of the plats for LJA as the County has no in-house engineering department and has a contract with LJA to review all plats before they are ever approved by commissioners court. The costs for LJA’s plat reviews are then passed on to the developer, Colony Ridge.

“We are trying to get at if there were misstatements made in plat applications that are causing problems now,” said County Attorney Matt Poston. “To what extent we need to rectify these problems is still unknown or even if problems exist. This is not a criminal investigation. This is a regulatory, administrative inquiry.”

According to Poston, the County has received very specific allegations that merit a closer review, though he was quick to point out that he has no reason to believe that there has been any wrongdoing on behalf of Colony Ridge and the engineering firm, Land Plan-PA, based in The Woodlands.

“The plans are pretty uniform and Colony Ridge has used this firm on every development. I am not calling them out at all,” said Poston, adding that Land Plan-PA’s extensive portfolio of projects lends to their credibility.

“These sorts of things are very complex. I am not an engineer. I know the people raising the concerns are not engineers either but they believe they have found some things that need to be examined,” he said. “There is a lot of noise about drainage in Plum Grove. I want to know whether we can put this issue to bed or not. Residents are saying they are being flooded and never flooded before, but we never went through a Harvey before either. However, if there are things that were missed by the engineers, then we want to correct them.”

Colony Ridge owner Trey Harris told Bluebonnet News that he stands by the work of Land Plan-PA and LJA Engineering, and welcomes the additional review of the plats.

“I think the outcome is going to be that the engineering firm I use is reputable and credible, and has done a good job of designing these plans. I think LJA is also reputable. The fact is that these two reputable firms look at the plans and are in agreement that they meet or exceed the County’s criteria before they are approved by the County,” Harris said. “My contractors build off of these plans using GPS to build. I think the review will find that everything in my development has been built to plans.”

Harris said he disagrees with the Plum Grove residents who have blamed Colony Ridge for their flooding woes.

“Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda were two of the largest rain events in our history. None of my stuff flooded during those two storms. All of the non-platted stuff around us in Plum Grove flooded,” said Harris.

However, he promises to fix any mistake that may be found in the review.

“”We certainly wouldn’t want anyone to flood us. We will do whatever we have to do to make it right,” he said.

Land Plan-PA was contacted for a comment regarding this article, but no response was received.

2 COMMENTS

  1. How about a third review by a different engineering firm? I seriously doubt anyone who is elected to an office in Liberty County knows anything about the subject matter they are approving. And I am not trying to be sarcastic. I work in the Engineering and Construction industry. We would not ask the same company who found no issues to look at it again… if they found something wrong the second time how would they justify the hours they charged the first time?

    Secondly, none of the new areas flood but the old parts of Plum Grove flood? You dont have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the new sub divisions are sheet draining on the old areas of town….

  2. I suggest Montgomery and Harris County Flood Control Districts to be involved as well. The rivers impact both counties.

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