Liberty County Launches Investigation Of Drainage In Controversial Colony RidgeShare this story:
Liberty County Judge Jay Knight has confirmed a formal investigation into Colony Ridge, the massive housing development sparking drainage concerns for tens of thousands of families along the east fork of the San Jacinto River.
The probe will focus on whether soil reports used to justify approval of the neighborhoods were accurate. The investigation comes after a widening Dolcefino Consulting investigation and damaging reports from flood fighter Bob Rehak of the website ReduceFlooding.com.
The Houston-based investigative firm headed by long-time investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino was hired by the small town of Plum Grove to fight years of neglect by county officials as drainage crumbled town roads.
“Right before the new year there was just two inches of rain in Colony Ridge and there was flooding. Creeks in Plum Grove were full to the brim. That’s the latest evidence the development is raising flooding alarm bells,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
Why is the soil so important? If the type of soil is not what was advertised, it could force Colony Ridge to have to put more detention ponds to prevent flooding. Plum Grove is suffering from destroyed roads and Harris County flood control officials are worried the drainage problems in Colony Ridge could increase flooding in places like Kingwood.
What’s worse is that Liberty County now admits many of the drainage analysis reports required by county ordinance are missing. The county made the admission after Dolcefino Consulting filed formal requests to see the records used by former Liberty County engineer Louis Bergman to recommend approval of the large development.
Liberty County Attorney Matthew Poston confirms the missing reports will be part of the investigation.
“We want to see what Bergman signed, and if the investigation proves claims about the soil are untrue that could be a big problem,” Dolcefino said.
The former county engineer has refused comment. His daughter is the new District Attorney for Liberty County.
Colony Ridge developers owner financed many of the lots in the sprawling neighborhood, in part because a lot of the residents do not have drivers licenses and social security numbers. Nearly 97 percent of the foreclosures in Liberty County last year came from Colony Ridge.
“This is the first step in holding Liberty County officials accountable before another neighborhood is approved,” Dolcefino said. “We need to know why these documents are missing, and we are going to get to the bottom of this one way or the other.”
Colony Ridge is a development of the politically powerful Harris family. They have given campaign contributions to area state lawmakers and hundreds of thousands of dollars to Governor Greg Abbott.
“For too long the residents of plum Grove have been ignored, trampled over in fact,” Dolcefino said. “That stops now.”
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