At its Feb. 22 meeting, the Humble City Council made two sets of changes to the city’s “Buildings and Building Regulations.” One was the result of experience after having adopted the latest set of regulations a year and a half ago and the other was the direct result of Hurricane Harvey. In both cases the intent is to improve Humble’s building regulations going forward.
Humble City Manager Jason Stuebe explained the first motion to amend the present development standards of the regulations. He pointed out the current regulations had been in place for about a year and a half and the city had received feedback from contractors and developers based on the real world application of the regulations.
Stuebe said, “We kind of reworked it and massaged it a little bit and better defined things such as industrial zones and industrial uses.” The council unanimously adopted the changes.
The second motion was made following a brief public hearing about why floodplain building requirements in Humble’s regulations needed to be changed. Stuebe explained that it was in direct response to Hurricane Harvey and the damage caused by the flooding. The motion was to make changes to the building codes with the objective to minimize future flood damage. Specifically, the changes amend Humble’s “Buildings and Building Regulations” to require an increase in the elevation of new construction and substantial improvements of residential and non-residential structures to 2 feet above the area’s defined 500-year flood elevation. This is a significant increase from the previous requirement that buildings be at least 18 inches above the currently defined 100-year flood plain.
“What this is going to help us with is our flooded properties,” said Mayor Merle Aaron. He explained that the idea is to minimize, by regulation, the construction of buildings that are clearly flood prone based on their location within the flood plain. In answer to a question of where the most affected areas were located, he noted that most of the area was land around Costco where nothing has yet been built but where business expansion is expected to occur. He also explained the reasoning behind the specific definitions of 2 feet above the 500-year flood plain.
“What we are doing also is adopting some of the recommendations that the City of Houston is adopting,” said Aaron.
Cody Holder of Commissioner Jack Cagle’s Harris County Precinct 4 Office added that the county, in conjunction with the whole flood mitigation effort, is also taking aggressive action.
“We are working to make sure that flood control has the opportunity to clear out the drainage areas, so Spring Creek, Cypress Creek and all those areas are supposed to be cleared out,” Holder said.
Aaron said, “Every government body is working toward doing something, whether it is the county, the precincts, the state or the river authority. Everybody wants something to happen.”
When the discussions and questions were completed, the motion was formally made. It passed unanimously.

Bruce Olson
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.