Flood Plain Getting Another 1,000 Structures

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    Levee pump problems mean lots of structures will now be in Trinity River flood plains.

    Levee pump problems will cause about 1,000 Dallas structures to become part of the Trinity River flood plain.

    Officials confirmed to a Dallas City Council committee that pump repair will not be completed before the Federal Emergency Management Agency issues revised Dallas flood plain maps next year.

    New Flood Plain Regulations Affect Trinity River Project

    [DFW] New Flood Plain Regulations Affect Trinity River Project
    The threat of floodwaters and faulty levee pumps may wash away visions of bike lanes and boutiques along Riverfront Boulevard in Dallas. About a thousand existing structures along the river will now be in a flood zone and will have to invest in expensive flood insurance. (Published Tuesday, May 18, 2010)

    The pumps pull floodwater from neighborhoods through the levee and into the river.

    The Dallas City Council Trinity River Corridor Committee heard plans during a briefing to reduce the effect of the expanded flood plain on new construction in the areas.

    But some property owners in the affected area say the flood-plain designation would make new construction impractical.

    John Benda, owner of Fuel City on Riverfront Boulevard, also owns a large piece of vacant property across the street.

    “I wanted to build and develop that property, but I can’t because it’s in the flood plain or going to be in the flood plain," he said.

    Benda said the city would require many feet of expensive fill material to make any structure on the site above the flood elevation.

    Benda also said structures now considered to be in a flood zone would need expensive flood insurance. He said the cost of flood insurance for Fuel City would be $12,000 a year.

    “It’s frustrating,” Benda said. “I know they’re doing the best they can, but the more we talk about it the more frustrated I get.”

    City officials spent money that was to repair the levee pump beside Fuel City on other levee work instead.

    Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan said that move was intended to head off even bigger problems with the FEMA ratings.

    “Because that would put many thousands of businesses and homes in the flood plain, so the first priority is to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Jordan said.

    But the fewer number of structures affected by the pump problem will now require flood insurance for years to come until the city finds money to improve the pump stations, perhaps with a future bond referendum.

    “It’s a terrible thing, but it just goes to show that we have big funding problems,” said Marcus Wood, a commercial real estate agent who deals in Trinity River area properties.

    “I think the city is doing a fine job of trying to pull all the pieces together. But they need to do it fast, and the public needs to know that they’re going to have to be supportive of future bond programs,” Wood said.

    Click here to see a map of the areas to be added to the flood plains -- the brightly colored areas inside the larger east and west levee drainage areas.