City of Houston Adopts New Detention Requirements, Effective April 1

Bradley PepperAdvocacy, Featured, Land Development

(Updated March 15, 2021)

Following meetings by GHBA members with Mayor Turner, City Council Members and other City of Houston officials, new detention requirements for single family lots have been modified by the City of Houston, and will take effect on April 1, 2021. The changes to the Infrastructure Design Manual will now apply to single family residential lots that are more than 15,000 sq. ft. Previously issued requirements would have removed the exemption for properties 7,500 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft. from having to meet on-site detention requirements regardless of the amount of impervious cover on the site. A “Fee In Lieu Of” (FILO) Detention has yet to be developed for those properties on which on-site detention would be infeasible.

The City of Houston’s Redevelopment & Drainage Taskforce, which the GHBA has participated on since its creation in 2018, was tasked with considering and reviewing the new proposed rates. Due to requirements from Harris County to be eligible to participate in future flood control bond projects, it was necessary for the City to meet the same threshold for detention rates that the County had previously adopted by December 31. However, the City abandoned their evaluation process and adopted the new criteria on January 4 without final review or discussion with the taskforce or development stakeholders.


The Houston Permitting Center website has also updated its guidance.

The following links may also be helpful:

There are still more questions as to how this will be put into practice. The GHBA will continue to work with our stakeholder partners, city staff and Houston City Council Members to convey our concerns, address our questions and develop a path forward. Please contact Bradley Pepper at for more information on this issue.

About the Author

Bradley Pepper

Government Affairs Director Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA)