2024-07-19 3:11 PM

Over Citizen Objections, F.C. Council OKs Watershed Plan

Despite appeals from residents from disparate areas of the City of Falls Church, the F.C. City Council voted unanimously (4-0, with Peppe, Snyder and Gardner absent) to adopt a Watershed Management Plan, the culmination of a two-year deliberative effort.

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PRESENTING THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH Watershed Management Plan, completing over two years of deliberation, to the F.C. City Council and City Manager Wyatt Shields (left) was the City’s Director of Public Works Bill Hicks (right). Citizens were present to object to the priorities of the plan, but the Council adopted it with a unanimous vote. See story, Page 9. (Photo: News-Press)

Despite appeals from residents from disparate areas of the City of Falls Church, the F.C. City Council voted unanimously (4-0, with Peppe, Snyder and Gardner absent) to adopt a Watershed Management Plan, the culmination of a two-year deliberative effort.

The most controversial aspect of the plan is its prioritization of projects to mitigate the impacts of flooding due to heavy storms, lack of capacity of storm water pipes and breakdowns in the infrastructure. The prioritization, according to Bill Hicks, director of City’s Public Works Office, is based on consideration of relative impacts on public roads and spaces, with a range of projects selected for focus in the next five years.

Objecting tonight were residents from Shadow Walk, S. Maple, Hillwood, Great Falls and Brooke Streets who presented a range of testimonies of flooding, including sewer overflow, in their residential neighborhoods. While the problems associated with the “100 Year Flood” of Sept. 8, 2011, the residents stressed that major flooding incidents have occurred more often, including four times in the last six years in the Shadow Walk area.

Two notions of “capacity” were discussed, the lack of it in the storm water pipes, themselves, and also in terms of financing improvements. The need for the City to access new streams of funding for this infrastructure was underscored in comments from Council member Ira Kaylin and Mayor Nader Baroukh.

A Shadow Walk resident said that he’s had to take it on himself to clear clogged culverts during major storms that involved putting his own life at risk more than once.

Council members thanked the citizens for their input, allowing a number of them to come to the microphone to speak for a second time, but acted on City Manager Wyatt Shields’ remark that approving the Watershed Plan would “begin to give us traction in an intractable situation,” to adopt the plan.

 

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