Kingwood residents press for answers after Hurricane Harvey

By Brandon Walker - Reporter

KINGWOOD, Texas - Kingwood residents attended a town hall meeting Thursday, in an attempt to ask questions about the region's recovery from Hurricane Harvey and what's being done to mitigate future flooding in the area.

Houston City Councilman Dave Martin hosted the info session, which included a panel of representatives from FEMA, Harris County, and the City of Houston.

Mayor Sylvester Turner was present and took questions from the crowd. The primary concern centered on the topic of flood prevention.

"There is no way I want to come back and stand before you and we did not engage in mitigation measures," said Mayor Turner.

That point on mitigation, or reducing the chances that Kingwood and other parts of Houston will again see flooding like Harvey, was the biggest concern.

"It came up so fast and they didn't warn us," said Diana Rutherford, a Kingwood resident.

"We were flooded, the flood waters were five feet higher than the 500 year flood map and something was different this time and we need that to be fixed," said resident Dianne Franke.

Kingwood residents attended a town hall meeting Thursday to ask questions about the region's recovery from Hurricane Harvey and what's being done to mitigate future flooding in the area.

Houston City Councilman Dave Martin hosted the information session, which included a panel of representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Harris County and the city of Houston.

Mayor Sylvester Turner took questions from the crowd. The primary concern centered on the topic of flood prevention.

"There is no way I want to come back and stand before you and we did not engage in mitigation measures," Turner said.

That point on mitigation, or reducing the chances that Kingwood and other parts of Houston will again see flooding like Harvey, was the biggest concern.

"It came up so fast and they didn't warn us," said Diana Rutherford, a Kingwood resident.

"We were flooded, the floodwaters were 5 feet higher than the 500-year flood map and something was different this time and we need that to be fixed," resident Dianne Franke said.

Martin, who represents Kingwood, said the San Jacinto River Authority was responsible for the amount of flooding in Kingwood. Martin accused the agency of opening dams at Lake Conroe, saving other communities, at Kingwood's expense.

"I'm on a mission and I will get these people," Martin said, followed by cheers from the audience.

The San Jacinto River Authority responded to the claim, releasing a statement, which read, in part "... the operation of the Lake Conroe dam actually REDUCES flooding along the West Fork of the San Jacinto River and in Lake Houston."

Between the back and forth are people, many caught in a lot of red tape. All they want to do is rebuild.

"The concern we all had is what happens next? What happens with the people who weren't flooded in the past versus the people who are in the hundred-year or 500-year flood zone," asked Steve Tsaftarides, a Kingwood resident.

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