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CITY OF LINCOLN   •   NEWS RELEASE   •   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:
April 17, 2003

For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Nicole Fleck-Tooze, Public Works and Utilities, 441-6173

FLOODPLAIN TASK FORCE RECOMMENDS NEW STANDARDS TO PROTECT COMMUNITY

Mayor Don Wesely said today that proposed standards for building in floodplains would reduce future flooding threats and be a long-term, sustainable approach to managing floodplains while continuing growth. The proposed standards are recommended in the final report of the Mayor’s Floodplain Task Force released today.

“Traditional development in floodplains increases the risk of flooding along streams throughout the entire community,” said Mayor Wesely. “Flooding can cause millions of dollars in damages. These proposed new standards are designed to make our community safer. At the same time, this report recognizes the importance of long-term economic development and the interests of the business community, environmentalists and neighborhoods. This was not an easy assignment, and I want to thank the members of the Floodplain Task Force for their hard work on this issue.”

The City began to assess the impact of floodplain development in late 2000. The number of permits issued for commercial buildings and fill in the floodplain increased substantially from 1995 to 2000, especially from 1998 to 2000 when the number tripled. The City and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (NRD) contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the impact of floodplain development and to evaluate alternatives for new regulations.

In the summer of 2001, Mayor Wesely appointed the Floodplain Task Force, representing a broad cross-section of community interests to formulate recommendations on new floodplain standards. The City and the Lower Platte South NRD provided staffing and funding for the technical studies.

The Task Force made recommendations for both new growth areas and existing urban areas. The recommendations include:

  • The adoption of a “no adverse impact” policy, meaning the actions of one property owner cannot adversely impact the flooding risk for other properties.
  • Updating our existing floodplain maps to make them more current and accurate.
  • The adoption of a new floodplain standard that includes the concepts of “no net rise” coupled with “compensatory storage.” Under the “no net rise” provision, development within the 100- year floodplain is required to demonstrate through an engineering study that the project will not increase the water surface elevation of a 100-year flood greater than five-hundredths of a foot. Under the “compensatory storage” provision, development is required to compensate for flood storage lost due to buildings or fill by providing equal flood storage elsewhere on the site.
  • Adoption of a practical and flexible standard for stream crossing structures such as bridges.
  • Applying stream buffers to mapped floodplains and smaller streams.
  • Preserving flood storage on publicly owned property that is vacated or declared surplus.
  • The development of a floodplain buyout program that is sensitive to neighborhoods and historic districts.
  • No current consideration of a floodplain development fee.
  • The encouragement of best management practices, such as using stormwater retention ponds for water quality.
  • Taking action on the Salt Creek floodplain through Lincoln, including a new study and mapping effort.
  • Encouraging builders to be sensitive to site development, such as the alignment of buildings relative to flow from flood water.
  • Providing flood protection to lateral additions to commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Providing incentives for cluster development outside of the floodplains.
  • Use of the best available floodplain study information.
  • Improving floodplain disclosure in real estate transactions.
  • Improving methods for assessing floodplain properties.

Members of the Floodplain Task Force are:
Bruce Bohrer, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
Mark Brohman, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Foster Collins, Mayor’s Environmental Advisory Committee
Jim Cook, homeowner
Bob Hampton, Hampton Development Services
Bernie Heier, Lancaster County Commissioner
John Janovy, Jr., Comprehensive Plan Committee
Candiss Kleen, Lincoln Plating Company (on behalf of Mark LeBaron)
Marilyn McNabb, Mayor’s Environmental Advisory Committee
Russell Miller, LP Services/Nebraska Recycling
Patte Newman, Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission
Coleen Seng, Lincoln City Council
Roger Severin, Olsson Associates
Clay Smith, Speedway Motors
Art Thompson, Cooper Foundation
Kent Thompson, Thompson Realty Group

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