Sugar Land postpones Sugar Creek drainage project to re-evaluate options
By Michael Sudhalter
“We thoroughly studied every single one of the alternatives and found the most effective drainage impact for the most amount of people,” Sugar Land City Council member Bridget Yeung said at a community meeting last week.
The postponement comes amid concerns from residents from the Bendwood area of Sugar Creek, who are opposed to a drainage ditch going through the Robert 9 Golf Course behind their homes.
About 20 homes along Bendwood would be affected, and Don Kriz — a Sugar Creek HOA board member from Bendwood — said the “ditch concept is not acceptable.”
He was one of the residents who encouraged the city to re-examine alternative plans.
A final decision is expected to be announced and put before the city council in the spring.
Shashi Kumar, a Senior Engineer for the city of Sugar Land, said the drainage ditch would have the “natural” appearance of a creek and would not disrupt the aesthetics of the neighborhood.
However, John Loper — a longtime resident of Bendwood, said there are multiple concerns.
“There’s a concern that it would bring a lot of water into our area that hasn’t been here before,” said Loper, a retired engineer. “The drainage ditch would change up everything and could affect the soil, causing foundation problems. Most of the neighbors are concerned about the aesthetics, but I’m a retired engineer, so I look at the technical as well.”
Prior to the announcement, the city had been negotiating a 3.6 acre easement with the Sugar Creek Country Club to implement the drainage plan. The independently-appraised estimate for the easement was $270,000.
The golf course would have to have been shut down in January, but the long term solution was set to improve both the drainage situation and the appearance of the course.
The Drainage Improvement is a $10 million project, and the delay won’t alter the funding. Unless a future city council votes twice to re-allocate the funds, they must be spent on those drainage projects.
Sugar Creek was built more than 40 years ago, prior to being annexed by Sugar Land.
Sugar Land City Engineer Chris Steubing said poorly-planned drainage was part of the original plans, and the city has been working diligently in recent years to rectify those problems, which have resulted in flooding up to three feet and blocked access for emergency vehicles.
Loper said the best alternative would go down Longview and Broadmoor, and would require the city to purchase/condemn one home, before the drainage goes into the Riverbend holding point.
“It would create the largest reduction in flooding,” Loper said.