City waiting to hear from railroad on plan to fix FEMA flood map issues

The town of Highland has submitted its plan to CSX railroad to switch or exchange a culvert beneath the monitor at Poplar Road, an concept the town thinks might arrest the plan for enlargement of areas to be designated by federal authorities at excessive danger for flooding.

The Highland Metropolis Council authorised a preliminary settlement with the CSX railroad at its assembly Aug. 7 the place the town has to pay CSX $eleven,550 for its engineers to evaluate the plan.

“It was $eleven,000 we needed to ship them simply to open a dialogue,” stated Lisa Peck, Highland’s assistant metropolis supervisor.

The Federal Emergency Administration Company is presently drafting new flood maps for Highland in its Map Modernization Program. The company periodically updates its flood maps to bear in mind new developments, modifications in topography, and so on., and the way modifications might alter areas thought-about to be a larger danger for flooding.

Preliminary map updates for Highland present the Particular Flood Hazard Space as probably being tripled because the maps have been final up to date in 1986.

flood plain impact

A maps displaying the potential influence of latest FEMA flood maps on the town of Highland.

Offered photograph

If that have been to occur, the top results of this system might have a horrible impression on the group, metropolis leaders stated. Property house owners discovering their land and buildings within the new floodplain can be required to buy flood insurance coverage at elevated charges. Additionally, new buildings constructed inside the space can be topic to new constructing requirements that might add giant prices to and will discourage future improvement.

David Oates, the president of Oates Associates, the engineering agency employed by the town to provide you with a plan to cope with FEMA, first introduced the research on the Highland Metropolis Council assembly July 17. He stated engineers observed the flood space north of a culvert beneath the CSX railroad crossing on Poplar Road had virtually tripled within the new flood map drafts. On additional examination, it was discovered that the goal culvert had been altered at some unknown time limit and the culvert opening now cuts the quantity of water capable of move by means of it by half, in response to Oates.

The Repair

Presently, the town is pursuing two choices. The primary and costliest route would substitute the culvert with two 12-by-10-foot culverts, costing about $1 million, only for development. The second route is inserting six, forty eight-inch pipes above the prevailing culvert whereas leaving it in place, estimated to value about $500,000.

pipes (2)

An concept to deliver FEMA’s flood map calculations again consistent with present requirements can be to put additional pipes to permit water to movement beneath the CSX railroad tracks at Poplar Road in Highland.

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The Oates engineers informed the town that finishing theses tasks ought to restore the flood plain to its unique elevation by letting extra water move by means of within the occasion of a flood.

The undertaking have to be funded one hundred pc by the town. The town would additionally should pay to make sure that rail visitors might proceed throughout development. Nevertheless, what facilitating practice visitors would value the town is unknown. Metropolis Supervisor Mark Latham stated the venture can be paid for utilizing TIF funds.

Railroad approval wanted

Highland is situated on the CSX St. Louis Subdivision. Trains transport quite a lot of freight for patrons via the world, together with common merchandise, coal and cars.

Earlier than development can start, the town should obtain approval from the railroad.

As soon as that occurs, the town “might be shifting as quick as we probably can,” Peck stated.

The town might want to transfer quick to beat FEMA’s map implementation. The brand new flood maps could possibly be finalized in 2018 or 2019. A precise time line has but to be decided.

Rob Doolittle, the assistant vice chairman for CSX media and communications, stated the railroad often works with native governments on infrastructure tasks throughout its 23-state community.

“Sustaining infrastructure is pivotal to the security of our operations each for our clients and for the communities we serve. Along with native authorities entities, infrastructure enchancment tasks might contain a number of models of presidency on the county, state and federal ranges,” Doolittle stated. “The town of Highland is the lead on the venture. CSX is reviewing and commenting on plans as requested.”

Residents give suggestions

Many Highland residents and enterprise house owners attended a public assembly Aug. 9, the place the town introduced choices out there to the general public. One of many foremost questions on the desk was whether or not or not altering the culvert would trigger an issue for the south aspect of the town by letting extra water by means of.

“It seems like the issue is on the north aspect of the tracks, and they’re making an attempt to convey the issue to the south aspect of the town,” stated Robert Mauer, a Highland resident with a number of properties south of the CSX tracks.

Oates, the town’s engineer, stated that even with widening the culvert, the flood plain peak would keep decrease than it’s presently recorded by FEMA.

Whereas some residents have been skeptical of Oates’ calculations, this was candy information to Daniel Delaney, who lives south of the tracks. Delaney was pressured to purchase flood insurance coverage prior to now, which value him and additional $1,200 a yr, he stated. However on the assembly, he discovered his home won’t longer be within the flood plain.

“They’re doing a great job,” Delaney stated. “They’re preserving us knowledgeable, and I feel they will do what it takes to ratify this drawback.”

Monica Rehkemper, the proprietor of Tri Ford in Highland, has three parcels within the flood plain, each north and south of the tracks. Although Rehkemper stated she felt torn on whether or not or not the modifications would assist the state of affairs, she stated she was joyful that the town was searching for its residents.

“I’m simply completely happy the town is taking step one and making an attempt to assist,” Rehkemper stated.

For anybody who missed the general public assembly, the maps introduced by Oates will probably be on show on the metropolis’s Constructing and Zoning Division. The town additionally has remark sheets for the individuals they think could be within the new flood plain. Metropolis officers would really like these individuals to fill out the remark sheets and is accumulating emails to communicate with the property house owners as new developments happen.

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