Copperfield Coalition to tackle stormwater flooding
Copperfield Coalition officers will be meeting with government officials to resolve problems associated with stormwater flooding, said coalition president Anthony Cecala .
Drought conditions not withstanding, stormwater flooding of the Copperfield community topped concerns of residents attending a recent town hall meeting.
Other issues that the coalition also plans to continue to address include the intersection of Longenbaugh and Texas 6; cell-phone towers installed in residential areas, especially on elementary school campuses; and what's happening with the Texas Department of Transportation upgrade of Texas 6 as well as the Texas 6/FM 529 intersection.
Cecala plans to meet "preferably before the next major rain" with officials regarding stormwater flooding. July meetings are likely with officials of the six municipal utility districts that serve the Copperfield area and then the Harris County Flood Control District. Cecala would like to meet with Precinct 3 and 4 county commissioners in August.
"My greatest concern is the flooding issue," said Dennis Feist of Southdown Village who has lived in the Copperfield area since 1988. He added that flooding seems to worsen each year.
"During Ike, water was within inches of my front door," said Feist, who expressed a concern about debris being dumped in storm sewers. "I live in fear of our next 2-inch-per-hour rain."
Coalition director Greg Ford, a Copperfield resident since 1989, said a solution needs to be found for why water is backing up and causing flooding.
Possibilities outlined include the aging infrastructure is breaking down, development upstream is contributing to runoff and storm sewers are clogged with debris. Ford reported that lawn maintenance services had been seen dumping grass clippings down the storm sewers. People are asked to call 713-221-6000 to report the illegal dumping.
"There is a sense of urgency," he said. "Eventually, it will start impacting homes."
Both Ford and Gary Struzick, a Copperfield resident since 1987, thought participation by Harris County Precinct 3 is key.
"Without them you don't have a prayer to solve anything," said Struzick, explaining the county has the authority and funding.
Cecala said he also intends to meet later this summer with county officials about traffic problems reported at Longenbaugh at Texas 6.
The problems concernHerman Ayala, who lives in Southpoint.
"I see a lot of near accidents coming out of Romero's (a Mexican restaurant). It's crazy now," Ayala said.
What happened, said Cecala, is the county expanded Longenbaugh at the intersection, removing the median as well as closing direct through access from the local street to commercial centers on the northwest and southwest corners.
The road has two lanes entering the neighborhood and four exiting, two left-turn only, one straight and one right-turn only. Cecala proposes one dedicated left-turn lane, one lane for left turns and straight traffic and a dedicated r ight-turn-only lane. The additional space then would be used for a median.
If someone leaves Romero's restaurant now on Longenbaugh, he has to turn right toward Texas 6. Someone leaving a business in the northwest shopping area has to turn into the neighborhood and go down to Brook Springs before he can turn around and head toward Texas 6.
Cecala said that this is not only an eyesore, but also "a massive inconvenience to businesses." He said some have reported losing half their clientele and that the road redesign brings additional unwanted traffic into the neighborhood.
A coalition survey showed that 81 percent of respondents believe something needs to be done at Longenbaugh and Texas 6, 87.3 percent believe the current intersection is unattractive or unacceptable and 82.8 percent agree with plans drawn up by the coalition to change the intersection.
After obtaining additional information, Cecala said coalition officials aim to meet in the fall with the new Cy-Fair Independent School District superintendent to talk about cell-phone towers.
A coalition survey reported most respondents believed the towers would lower property values. The respondents said they would "look at every legal option and fight to have it removed," if a tower were built near them.
Coalition vice president Joe Perinotold the audience that cell-phone towers exist at five area schools and the Copperfield YMCA.
Jill Costanzo, coalition director, said it had been difficult to obtain information on the tower contracts.
Kelli Ray, district director for State Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston, offered to work with the coalition and school district on this issue.
Perino and Cecala identified tower issues as safety/environmental concerns, aesthetics and the impact on property values.
Texas 6/FM 529
Cecala said TxDOT anticipates funding being available in three to four years for proposed improvements of the Texas 6 corridor from north of Interstate 10 to FM 1960, including FM 529 from Greenhouse Road to U.S. 290. When funding becomes available, the agency will hold public meetings which the coalition intends to attend.
He said the state is leaning toward the road design preferred by the coalition.
The coalition is a grassroots advocacy group, and Perino said, "We're here to advocate for residents and businesses."
For more information, visit http://copperfieldcoalition.com/.
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