Do you have a potential project within the East Downtown (EaDo) or Midtown Management Districts that you just can’t get to pencil out on paper due to the number of parking spaces the City requires you to build? The City of Houston Planning Commission and City Council will be considering a vote in the next three months to expand the off-street parking exemption area from Downtown into EaDo and Midtown to remove off-street parking requirements.

Off-Street Parking Ordinances

The original Off-Street Parking ordinance was passed in 1989 to regulate Houston’s parking requirements based on proposed building and land use. It was later amended…


The unprecedented flooding damage of Hurricane Harvey spurred jurisdictional authorities to get to work reviewing their floodplain regulations and the City of Houston is the next to release their latest changes, following Harris County. The City is keeping their word on raising the regulatory floodplain from the 100-year to the 500-year floodplain elevation and, in some areas, could reflect a difference of as much as several feet and many thousands of dollars in increased development cost.

The City of Houston Public Works & Engineering Department, on request of the Mayor, drafted its changes to Chapter 19 of the City of…


Houston after Hurricane Harvey

The unprecedented flooding damage of Hurricane Harvey spurred jurisdictional authorities to get to work reviewing their floodplain regulations and Harris County is one of the first to release their latest changes. The County is keeping their word on raising the regulatory floodplain from the 100-year to the 500-year floodplain elevation and, in some areas, could reflect a difference of as much as several feet and many thousands of dollars in increased development cost.

The Harris County Engineering Department drafted and approved an amendment to its Regulations for Floodplain Management on December 5, 2017 and will be effective as we ring…


If you are developing a property on a roadway that is controlled by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and want to maximize access, you will have to consider standards on TxDOT riveway spacing. This is one of the criteria that TxDOT will assess your access driveway permit application.

Why does driveway spacing matter?

We often are taught to keep a “two-second distance” between ourselves and the car in front of us. The intention is that we will have the distance and time to react should they behave unexpectedly. But this is an overgeneralization since a driver’s reaction time and their appropriate stopping distance varies…


Are you interested in removing your property from the floodplain or need to determine your property’s flood risk? Let’s take a look at how to know if your property is in a flood hazard area and ways to remedy it.

Are you in the floodplain?

As a developer and property owner, your revenue model factors in a number of variables related to your property; a significant factor is the cost to insure your development. …


Tom Woodward @ Flickr

Navigating storm water quality regulations in Houston can often be a nebulous process, especially when you are juggling other permitting requirements simultaneously. Let’s take a look at how storm water quality is managed and regulated by the City of Houston.

Rainfall and its Impact

Municipalities and counties in south Texas are quite concerned about what happens when it rains — and for good reason. Just take a look at the last major rain events we’ve had in the Houston metro area over the past few years. Hurricane Harvey, as well as the Tax Day and Memorial Day floods in 2016 and 2015, have forced…


Houston has always had a damp history. In 1836, the Allen Brothers famously pitched the wharf-anchored town as, “handsome and beautifully elevated, salubrious and well-watered.” Well watered, indeed.

Katie Hayes Luke / NPR.

Hurricane Harvey has brought a distribution of rainfall and destructive intensity and that again highlights the Achilles heel of Houston’s infrastructure: the lack of developmental oversight and facilities to protect the integrity of its communities. It has, however, reminded us of our strengths — the ever-present tenacity and grit that our citizens possess, and their endless capacity to galvanize in the face of adversity. First responders and good samaritans alike have saved…


Shaun Theriot-Smith 2011 — Jalrez, Afghanistan

This article originally appeared on my Texas Land Development & Infrastructure blog. Check out my Engineers Week 2017 post there, as well!

February 19th through 25th is Engineers Week 2017! E-week is a multi-discipline engineering and STEM career-focused event to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world and to illuminate our profession to youth. Many of my colleagues are sharing their story this week so I thought it would be appropriate highlight my own professional narrative and passion for engineering and public service.

Infrastructure Awareness

I believe it’s fundamentally important to be aware of what it means to have access…


This article originally appeared on my Texas Land Development & Infrastructure blog. Check out my Building Setbacks in Houston post there, as well!

I think many of us have heard of particularly painful mishaps in the development industry: A site plan is developed early on in the preliminary design process, the building footprint is set and the site is designed around it. And since the development plat and legal encumbrances aren’t fully complete, the schematic and its footprints might be assumed a solid base to work from. …


stocksnap.io

This article originally appeared on my Texas Land Development & Infrastructure blog. Check out my BIM of Infrastructure there, as well!

In the building design and construction world Building Information Modelling, or BIM, has become a way for engineers to provide value to an Owner or Owner-Operator of a building throughout its entire lifecycle. But what about infrastructure? Are your Civil Designers giving you an advantage over your peers?

In the realm of civil design, engineers and designers are using products with ever-increasing feature sets that not only improve design accuracy and speed, but also increase the robustness of data…

Shaun Theriot-Smith

Civil Engineer @Big__Red__Dog | @USArmy Combat Veteran | Student Body President Emeritus @UHouston | Husband | Father of three | #1 Noun Verber of 2018

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