AHNA Flood Control Position Statement

August 13, 2019 · Filed Under Events and News 

(First published on January 10, 2017)

After much deliberation and thorough research on how other cities are dealing with their storm
water drainage problems, the Executive Board of Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association
joins many of its members in opposing the proposal by the City of Fort Worth to buy and tear
down houses in our neighborhood as a flood solution, even on a voluntary basis.

Our neighborhood association is committed to helping our neighbors on Western and Carleton
Avenues who experience flooding in their yards, garages, and some even inside their homes.
However, we do not believe tear downs are the best solution at this point. Tearing down
flood-prone houses is the most destructive option and not even a 100% guaranteed solution,
according to city staff. More importantly,tear downs do nothing to address the root of the
problem which is inadequately-sized storm water pipes and poorly regulated upstream and
downstream development.

No homes on Western and Carleton appear to be in disrepair, nor have they been condemned
by the City. We believe there are other affordable options to help these neighbors. Tear downs
should be used only as a last resort and only after all other means have been exhausted.

FEMA funding requires bought out properties be cleared of homes, never be developed again,
in perpetuity. They will forever be empty lots in the middle of our neighborhood. Many
residents are afraid of what this will do to their property value, and if this would invite
crime. Therefore, we support floodproofing opportunities that are less drastic, such as
elevating the existing flood-prone homes and their accessory structures and utilities. FEMA
provides funding for these measures, as well as rebates for flood-proofing homes with flood
insurance.

Our neighborhood organization is mandated to look at the big picture and support what we
believe is best for the entire community, for the greater good. Monies used for buyouts and
tear downs on Western and Carleton will do nothing to address the flooding that occurs in the
two other watersheds in our neighborhood.

Owning a flood-prone home doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell that property. Recent
home sales show there are buyers willing purchase properties in Arlington Heights that have
flood histories. Many neighbors have taken private measures within their own individual
properties to successfully mitigate their drainage problems.

How can the City suggest tearing down one neighborhood, but allow the upstream and
downstream neighborhoods to continue contributing to the drainage problem? If the City is
considering destroying homes in our neighborhood, they must also concurrently take
measures to more rigorously regulate unsustainable development upstream and downstream,
especially the unabated proliferation of impervious surfaces.

We believe it is past time for the City of Fort Worth to develop a strategy for financing
the long term 100% fix of replacing the undersized pipes in our watersheds. The Arlington
Heights pipes are already more than 90 years old and will inevitably require replacement.
If not now, when? If the City can’t afford to pay for it, then alternative funding strategies
should be developed and implemented immediately. We can’t afford to keep kicking this
problem down the road.

In the interim, we petition the City to initiate less destructive efforts to address the
problem, such as rebates, incentives, and assistance for flood-proofing homes, pass
ordinances to address the addition of impervious surfaces to our watersheds, creating
medians and public rights of way that drain, and so on, as many other American cities
have already implemented with great success.

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