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City Panel Handout


City Panel Smart Planning Gulf Coast Green 2009, Houston, Texas

City Panel Smart Planning Gulf Coast Green 2009, Houston, Texas

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  • 1. Houston Facing the Future Smart Planning for Inevitable Growth Stormwater and Water Quality
  • 2. The Challenge
    • Population Growth
    • Development/Redevelopment Pressures
      • Location
      • Impervious Cover
      • Drainage Infrastructure
    • Changing Regulations
  • 3. Existing Challenges
    • Structural Flooding
    • Backlog of Infrastructure Improvements
    • Impaired Waterways
    • Non-regulated discharges
    • Enforcement staffing
  • 4. Current Tools
    • Design Standards and Land Use Restrictions
    • Permitting/Investigation/Enforcement
    • Infrastructure Investment
    • Operations/Maintenance Practices
    • Reporting and Education
  • 5. Constraints
    • Laws, Ordinances and Regulations
    • Existing Infrastructure
    • Topography
    • Available Funding
  • 6. Goal
    • It is the desire of the
    • City of Houston, the Bayou City,
    • to improve the quality of our waterways, at a minimum ,
    • to meet the State of Texas
    • Water Quality standards .
  • 7. Benefits
    • This goal has multiple benefits:
    • Assures the public that using our bayous and waterways for recreation is “safe”
    • Enhances the environment and habitat for wildlife including the nation’s largest migratory flyway
    • Reduces the costs of the water purification process
    • Improves aesthetics and overall quality of life experience of residents and visitors
  • 8. City Efforts
    • Capital Investment – Comprehensive Drainage Plan/ Regional Detention
    • MS4 Permit – Storm Water Management Program
    • Total Maximum Daily Load Activities
  • 9. City Efforts
    • Operations/Maintenance Practices
    • Revise Standards and Ordinances
    • Public Education
    • Green Building Resource Center
  • 10. Regional Detention
    • Multi-use Basins provide:
      • Reduced Risk of Flooding
      • Efficiency
      • Opportunities for multiple partners
      • Open Space and Parks
      • Water Quality Benefits
      • Ecosystem Benefits
  • 11. Keith-Weiss Park
    • A 500 acre park with 112 acres of detention ponds, hike and bike trails, fishing piers, bridges, and wildlife and bird watching opportunities.
  • 12. Green Building Resource Center
    • Free to the Public
    • Information on Green Building Strategies:
      • Reduced energy consumption
      • Water reuse and conservation
      • Healthier living and work spaces
  • 13. Long Term Goals
    • Challenge the “way we’ve always done it” mentality
    • Engage the regulated community (developers, builders, residents, etc.)
    • Address both Quantity and Quality
  • 14. Long Term Goals
    • Search out opportunities for incentives – enforcement isn’t the only tool
    • Low Impact Development techniques can have significant water quality benefits
    • Be willing to try or allow implementation of new concepts and applications
  • 15.
    • No single entity can protect
    • and heal our waterways –
    • it takes the
    • entire community
  • 16. Houston Facing the Future Increasing City Infrastructures While Reducing Environmental Impacts Infill Development Tools
  • 17. The Problem
    • The population is expected to grow by more than one million people by 2020.
    • In order to have a sustainable city structure, the city needs to develop or re-develop under-utilized properties.
  • 18. Solutions
      • Brownfields Redevelopment Program
      • Municipal Setting Designation (MSD)
      • Tax Increment Redevelopment Zones (TIRZs)
      • Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority (LARA) and Houston Hope
  • 19. Brownfields Redevelopment Program
    • Improves the quality of life by promoting the beneficial redevelopment of eligible property that have been hindered by the presence of environmental contamination.
    • Often supported by Federal Programs.
    • The program can help eligible sites:
      • Identify potential environmental issues
      • Assess the extent of the issue
      • Cleanup or remove the issue (limited cases)
      • Redevelop the Brownfield in a beneficial manner
  • 20. What are Brownfields
    • Abandoned Buildings,
    • Former Commercial Or Manufacturing Sites,
    • Vacant Lots, Or
    • Other Types Of Property
    • Who is Eligible
    • Properties that will be redevelopment in a manner that will benefit the community, such as:
      • Housing For The Elderly Or Disadvantaged
      • New Businesses That Create Jobs Or Shopping Opportunities
      • Parks
  • 21. Success Stories
    • Since September 2005, 24 new sites have come into the Program.
      • 17 will become park space,
      • 2 will provide affordable housing,
      • 1 will provide housing for the elderly,
      • 1 will become an educational organic garden,
      • 1 will become a hotel/resort, and
      • 2 are City-owned properties that will be cleaned up and sold for development.
  • 22. Municipal Setting Designation (MSD)
    • The Texas legislature authorized Municipal Setting Designations in 2003/Houston City Council passed enabling legislation in 2006.
    • An MSD specifies that the contaminated groundwater under an individual parcel, is prohibited from use as drinking water.
    • Why Support a MSD
    • It protects the public from drinking the contaminated groundwater
    • It encourages cleanup of contaminated sites through participation in a State or Federal program
    • It promotes redevelopment of under-utilized properties
  • 23. Why Prohibit Drinking Water Use
    • State regulations require contaminated groundwater to be cleaned up to the strict levels that allow future drinking water use.
    • However, if no one is using the groundwater, and another source of drinking water is available, the MSD statute allows alternative cleanup levels.
    • What must the site do
    • Participate in a state or federal clean-up program
    • Request City support of MSD application
    • If City supports, site submit application to TCEQ
    • TCEQ grants or denies MSD
    • If MSD granted by TCEQ, City files restriction on property deed
  • 24. Success Stories
    • Houston Pavilion, a downtown entertainment, retail, and office complex
    • Value Place, an extended stay hotel chain opened on Sam Houston Parkway
  • 25. Redevelopment Authority
    • These are local government corporations that get their powers from the Texas Transportation Code CH. 431;
    • They have the power to:
      • issue bonds and notes;
      • hire consultants (legal, financial, engineering); and,
      • work with developers to further the TIRZ's goals and objectives
      • Current TIRZs
    • Currently, the City has twenty-two TIRZs,
    • 15 were city-initiated
    • 7 initiated through the petition process
  • 26. TIRZ
    • Special districts created by City Council to attract new investment to an area.
    • Taxes attributable to new improvements (tax increment) are set-aside in a fund to finance public improvements in that zone.
  • 27. Reasons for a TIRZ
    • To address inner city infrastructure needs
    • Unique neighborhoods needs
    • To fully engage local community in a planning process
    • How they work
    • New construction in a zone produces an incremental increase in tax revenue above the base amount.
    • The incremental tax revenue is returned to the zone for projects associated with public improvements of the zone for the duration of the zone.
  • 28. Eligible Project Costs
    • capital costs (the acquisition and construction, and building rehabilitation costs);
    • financing costs (including all interest);
    • real property assembly;
    • relocation costs;
    • professional services; and,
    • creation, organization and administrative costs
    • TIRZ Powers
    • land use controls;
    • design standards (in special cases);
    • recommendations for the administration of the zone; and,
    • powers to implement a project and financing plan
  • 29. Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority
    • LARA is a 13-member board appointed by the Mayor, City Council, Harris County and the Houston Independent School District.
    • LARA acquires tax delinquent properties and then develops them as truly affordable homes.
    • Foreclosed lots in designated neighborhoods are made available to participating builders through LARA.
    • The builders work with Houston Hope or Homebuyer Assistance Program (HAP) to build affordable housing
  • 30. Houston Hope
    • Helps qualified low to moderate income homebuyers secure a mortgage loan from an Affordable Lending Partner
    • Help with Down-Payment Assistance up to $37,500.
    • Success Stories
    • Houston HOPE has helped hundreds of families to own quality affordable homes in re-energized areas of the city
    • And closed 130 homes in 2008 and provided $3.2 millions in down payment assistance
  • 31. Infill Development Tools
    • Help evaluate potential contaminated sites
    • Help cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites
    • Help improve infrastructure by keeping new tax revenues in its zone
    • Help redevelop historic neighborhoods by replacing tax delinquent and not repairable properties with new construction
    • Help new qualified homebuyers purchase homes
  • 32.  
  • 33.  
  • 34.  
  • 35.  
  • 36.  
  • 37. Houston Facing the Future Increasing City Infrastructure While Reducing Environmental Impacts Electricity and Water
  • 38. The Problem
    • Houston’s population is expected to grow by more than one million people by 2020.
    • City infrastructure needs to grow with the population.
    • We need to continue to reduce environmental impacts while facilitating growth.
  • 39. Solutions
    • Plan
      • Start building infrastructure now for future needs
    • Conserve
      • Maintain and optimize existing resources
    • Repair
      • Identify and fix problems
  • 40. Water and Electricity
    • These two mainstays of modern life are interconnected.
    • Power is required to produce high-quality drinking water and to provide it to customers throughout Houston.
    • Power is required to collect and treat wastewater from customers across the city.
  • 41. Water and Electricity
    • Drinking Water and Wastewater operations consume nearly half of the power used by the City government.
    • Energy costs account for approximately 20% of typical water/wastewater operating costs, and nearly 10% of the total bill.
  • 42.
    • Water is integral to the electric generation process.
    • One of the main uses of water in the power industry is to cool the power-producing equipment.
    • This water cools the equipment, but gets too hot to be released back into the environment.
    • The hot cooling-water is cooled in very large cooling towers and evaporation occurs and water is lost.
    Electricity and Water
  • 43. Electricity and Water
    • Production of electrical power is one of the largest uses of water in Texas.
    • Texas power plants withdraw over 13,000 million gallons per day*.
    • That’s the volume of Lake Houston every 4 days.
    * USGS
  • 44. Water/ Wastewater Energy Usage
  • 45. Water/ Wastewater Energy Usage Waste Water ▬ 348 Million kWh In 2007 Drinking Water ▬ 241 Million kWh In 2007
  • 46. Drinking Water Operations
    • Optimizing water levels in clear wells to increase pump efficiency.
    • Use less water to make water – more efficient backwash of filters and sludge thickeners saves power, water, and chemicals.
    • Use solar powered circulators in Lake Houston.
  • 47. More Examples
    • Providing drinking water from surface water uses 1/3 less electricity than from groundwater.
    • Decommissioning inefficient and redundant groundwater plants also saves electricity.
      • 19 groundwater treatment plants and 27 wells have been decommissioned.
      • 25 groundwater treatment plants and 43 wells are scheduled for decommissioning over the next five years.
  • 48. Wastewater Operations Group
    • Aggressively looks for opportunities to reduce electrical energy consumption.
    • It is a standard practice to:
      • replace regular motors with high efficiency motors for pumps, blowers, and mixers
      • replace/retrofit old-type aeration systems with high efficiency systems
  • 49. Examples
    • Participate in the “Energy Share Load Management Program” offered by CenterPoint Energy
    • Replace motors on 24 Recycle Activated Sludge pumps and 4 influent lift station pumps with Variable Frequency Drives.
    • Upgrade 64 conventional aeration mixers with high efficiency mixers and motors.
    • A new, high efficiency, fine bubble aeration system will be installed at the Southwest WWTP
  • 50. More Examples
    • A Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system is in the design stage for the Almeda Sims sludge drying facility.
    • CHP is being considered for the 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant (the City’s largest plant).
    • The city is participating in the Clinton Foundation Project which is evaluating all Wastewater Treatment Plants in the city for energy savings.
  • 51. Examples from the City
    • The City will use the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program on 271 facilities, which will save more than 20 percent in utility and operating costs annually.
    • Install a 100-kilowatt solar energy system on the roof of the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center. A pilot program will install about half of the system in 2009.
  • 52. More
    • Replace traffic signals with LED lights to save electricity.
    • Initiated a weatherization program as part of our neighborhood revitalization campaign. This program will improve the energy efficiency of homes in inner city neighborhoods.
  • 53. Other Methods
    • Commercial Energy Conservation Code
      • New code took effect August 1, 2008
      • Minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design of all buildings except low-rise residential buildings.
      • More Stringent than the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
  • 54. Energy Conservation
    • Reducing electrical usage in throughout water and wastewater systems.
    • Using solar power for George R. Brown and Lake Houston circulators.
    • Replace traffic lights with LED lights.
    • Helping neighborhoods weatherize their homes.
    • Develop stringent energy conservation codes.
  • 55.
    • Questions?