Letters to the Editor
To the editor:
After attending the Jan. 14 Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen meeting, the thought spinning through my head regarding the property owners there was, “Brace yourselves, you will flood sooner than you think.”
Winter Brothers Material Company received approval for grading and raising their property to build 11 lots on the property. Some is in a flood plain, some is close to the floodway fringe.
The project was never presented to the BOA or the residents because City Engineer Bryson Baker stated that it was a normal request; the company provided all required documentation and it was an in-house administrative approval. So no further investigation was done by the city engineer.
Sunset Hills follows Federal Emergency Management Agency standards for the city to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, so I suppose following the minimum standards is accepted. However, when your city has a serious flooding problem, I would hope that more would have been done to investigate this after three major floods since 2015.
Altering land within a flood plain is a key attribute to flooding issues. The project used the February 2015 flood map for the basis of the project, when looking at the unpublished updated 2020 flood map it sure looks different than 2015.
Rest assured the representative who is a civil engineer promised that their project would not make more flooding. Unfortunately that representative did not stick around to listen to the residents’ concerns or field questions. He made his presentation and fielded a handful of questions from the board.
Apparently when property owners fill the meeting room and news media shows up, our intentions are to vilify the representative from Winter Brothers, at least that is what a sitting board member stated twice during the time that the board members could ask questions.
My question is why? Why was this allowed? What actual research was done to ensure no additional flooding will occur? How can they ensure that the water levels will not rise? Where is this research? How many more floods will it take before the blinders that the city officials are wearing will come off?
Homes in Tapawingo flooded in 2017 and are not in the flood plain. What happens to the homeowners that are not in designated flood plain areas who do not have adequate flood insurance? Who is going to bail them out? How much money is spent on flood cleanup? How much money does the city get from FEMA every time there is a flood?
How is the city continuously allowed to keep making these decisions that affect more than Sunset Hills property owners? How do the residents in Fenton and Arnold feel about this decision? There is no question about if it will flood again, it is when.
Editor’s note: Ms. Hayes is one of the nine Sunset Hills homeowners whose houses were flooded in the 2015 flood.