central bayshore petition gathers support

Central Bayshore

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

central bayshore petition gathers support:

homeowners want the city to slow down on elevating roads

The petition to reduce the planned elevation of roads in the Central Bayshore South neighborhood has garnered 175 signatures, in a community with 238 homes. At the Sustainability and Resiliency Committee meeting this week, Commissioner Kristen Rosen-Gonzalez raised the petition and asked if the elevation of the roads could be put off until residents can find a better way to deal with the impact of sea level rise on their homes. “I think we should do the infrastructure work first, install the pumps, and then mill later on when it’s really drastic,” she said. “I know that we have to do it. I know that the gravity pumps don’t work. I understand that we need to install the pump systems. I think you can mill and resurface later. In the interim, you’ve got to go out there and find solutions [for homeowners].”
 
City engineer Bruce Mowry responded “Unless the City puts a billion dollars in the bank to do these roads all at one time, if you don’t have iterative solutions and start implementing roads as you have funds, you’re going to have a rate shock.” He added that if you wait until the city is “basically underwater” and then say “we’re going to save it, the cost would be many people would say it’s time to walk away … if we keep ignoring it and letting it get so bad then we’re going to lose the economic engine that we have here. Right now we have an economic engine. If we wait ‘til it dies, you’ll have no revenue.”
 
Commissioner Joy Malakoff agreed with Mowry. “Only 7% [of the homes in the area] are below grade and of those only two or three [are severely impacted]. To say you’re not going to do it because those two or three homes are going to flood is not cost-effective.”
 
Rosen-Gonzalez reiterated her desire to “do the heavy lifting now, put the pump structures in place and then further on when we need to, we go in and resurface and remill … I think this is going to cause a huge problem for homeowners across the city … We need to establish a policy that is not going to damage homeowners right now.”
 
Commissioner John Alemán said “With that neighborhood, only 7% of them really having a problem … you can see the disconnect. If 90-something percent of them signed a petition that said ‘don’t do it’ but only 7% of them are really detrimented then there’s a lack of a common understanding there.”  She asked “How can we help homeowners understand their flood elevation certificates, how high the city is going to raise their roads, and how to look at their flood elevation certificate and understand it before we change course based on a petition that could be based on a lack of common understanding? … How do we help homeowners figure out if they are in the 7% or the 93%?”

She added, the schedule of upcoming projects will be painful from a traffic standpoint and said “If we don’t do this incrementally, we’re not being good custodians of the future … We have to take the pain bite by bite because it will be too painful to swallow all at once down the road.”

This week, the City released a new FAQ designed to help homeowners understand the process and what it means for them. Read the Elevating Roads and Reducing Flood Risk FAQs.
 
In the meantime, construction to install the pumps and new drainage pipes in the area has started on Prairie Avenue.
 
 

Bayshore Open House

Central Bayshore


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
city provides info, consultations for residents on sea level rise