Houston City Council approved the creation of Harris County MUD 539 on May 22. The MUD is about 620.6 acres and bounded by Katy Hockley, Beckendorff and Pitts roads and FM 529, according to agenda documents.
MUDs can serve as limited government entities in unincorporated areas—land outside of city limits that could someday be annexed. The entities can issue bonds with voter approval to finance infrastructure work such as water, sewer and drainage projects, according to local government code. MUDs levy property taxes and collects service fees. There are approximately 60 MUDs in Katy-area.
According to Harris County Appraisal District records, the four tracts of land within the HC MUD 539 were purchased by John Beeson of Beeson Properties in 2014. The 2019 appraised value of the land is $299,918, and the market value is about $11.2 million, according to HCAD.
Community Impact Newspaper attempted to contact Beeson Properties to learn what next steps might be taken on the property as well as information regarding its development plans, but the company did not immediately respond.
District A Council Member Brenda Stardig—one of the five dissenting votes for the creation of the MUD— expressed her concerns for HC MUD 539 because 98.4% of the property is located in the 100-year floodplain and 1.6% of the property is located in the 500-year floodplain. Additionally, a small portion of the MUD is within a floodway, per agenda documents.
Houston Chief Recovery Officer Stephen Costello confirmed the project is located with the South Mayde Creek Watershed. He said the development company submitted a drainage report to Harris County Flood Control District, which approved the plans in November.
“They are providing well over the required detention requirements,” Costello said of the developer. “They are providing 537 acre-feet of detention storage with an additional 616 acre-feet of storage for fill mitigation, which ends up being a little over 200 acre-feet of excess storage.”
The developer is able to remove the project out of the floodplain because of anticipated drainage-related improvements, Costello said.
Stardig thanked Costello for the explanation but said she was still concerned.
“I did attend the meetings for the [Army] Corps [of Engineers Galveston District] and [Harris County] Flood Control, she said. “And when someone who is in the know tells me development west of that dam has contributed to the issues, then I have to hesitate. … It’s hard for me to justify to my constituents to support this.”