The ordinance states any detention pond within 3.5 miles of a Houston airport has to be a dry-bottom pond, which is one that drains within 72 hours of a storm. Exploration Green, which is less than 3.5 miles from Ellington Airport, is a wet-bottom pond that always retains at least 6 feet of water, Branch said.
The ordinance exists to prevent flocks of birds that wet-bottom ponds attract from getting into the aircraft flight paths, he said.
Once complete in late 2021, the $30 million Exploration Green project will hold an estimated 500 million gallons of water and prevent an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 homes in the Clear Lake area from flooding. Phase 1 was completed early this year, and Phase 2 was set for completion by early 2019 when work halted.
Dozens of residents and officials showed up to Thursday's meeting, and most voiced support for the variance. Exploration Green volunteer Brian Schrock attended the meeting with several friends, all of whom he met while volunteering for the project, he said.
"It felt very uplifting to see so many volunteers and supporters list the many reasons this park was meaningful to them," Schrock wrote to Community Impact Newspaper. "Many mentioned the relief they had during Harvey when the waters didn't reach their homes, [and] many more mentioned the increase of people enjoying the trails or the volunteer opportunities for scouts."
Jake joined Community Impact in the summer of 2018 to launch the Bay Area edition. Today, he also is editor of the Pearland-Friendswood edition. Before CI, Jake was a reporter for a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, where he covered everything from city councils to school boards to cops and courts. He even wrote a weekly column about video games, a hobby he still enjoys. In his freetime, Jake likes to spend time with his wife, Montaya, and two girls, Arcadia and Embry; play the bass, guitar and keys; play Dungeons & Dragons; write fiction and world-build; and longboard.
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