The permit for continuing work on the Exploration Green Detention Facility Project is on hold due to a Houston Airport System (HAS) ordinance, the CLCWA wasn’t aware of until very recently, that disallows wet-bottom ponds within five miles of an airport. The ordinance was the city’s answer to the Federal Aviation Administration’s advisory guidance on preventing bird strikes near airports. The CLCWA and its contractors have been working on this project for over ten years and had received permits and had completed work on three previous project phases without this issue coming up. According to CLCWA experts, the Exploration Green Detention Facility project design does not attract birds that are dangerous to air traffic. The CLCWA will be making a presentation to the Board of Adjustments to request a variance to the ordinance based on their expert’s opinions and on the many benefits the project brings to the Clear Lake City community.
The Houston Airport System has indicated to the CLCWA that they are supporting the variance request and there has been nothing but support from all other involved city departments. The CLCWA does however need people that support the Exploration Green Detention Facility project to attend the meeting to make sure the Board of Adjustments knows how important this project is to our community.
Please show your support by attending the Houston Airport System’s Board of Adjustments variance request hearing:
Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 6:00 PM at City Council Chamber at the City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby Street, Houston, TX 77002
Audience members may address the board for up to 3 minutes each as part of the public comment part of the agenda.
If you cannot attend the Board of Adjustments meeting, please take a few minutes to e-mail your support to the HAS point person, William (Bill) Zrioka, e-mail address William.Zrioka@houstontx.gov.
As a starting point for your personal message, e-mails can point out the benefits of the ponds to flood mitigation, quality of life, and water cleansing (not possible without wet bottoms). You may also want to focus point points related to the ordinance, such as:
- The human activity from the trails and proximity of homes will assure that large flocks of birds will be unlikely to use our ponds for migratory or permanent residence.
- The ponds are not located on primary airport approaches, further lowering the risk.
These facts make Exploration Green’s situation different from the considerations present when Houston City Council passed the ordinance in 2009. The absence of large bird flocks and the location away from primary approaches mean there is little risk of interference with aircraft traffic.
Depending on the number of e-mails Mr. Zroika receives, the HAS position may shift from supporting the variance request to one of basically “No Comment,” which might have a negative impact on the variance from being issued.