Infill Lot Drainage and Flooding Updated at Palm Coast City Hall; Citizen Committee Discussed

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Palm Coast – The City of Palm Coast held their 9am workshop meeting on Tuesday February 13th. During this workshop the city heard from the public, heard a presentation on the sports activities center, infill lot drainage, a piggyback contract with Hernando County and Asphalt Paving Systems, and the revising of the rates of the utilities systems.

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The start of the workshop meeting involved public participation; residents stood up to discuss multiple issues including the demand for a forensic audit, demands for the abolition of the burning debris on lots, the request for the relocation of the proposed cell tower, and many comments on the lot developments including the infringement on existing homeowner properties as well as the heights of new homes. One resident, the founder of Flooded in Flagler, Kandi Stevens, who has taken her own time to look around the new developments in the P-Section where she found some lots being graded in complete line with the city codes, and other lots where the homes are feet higher than existing properties next to them. Other residents spoke up about the cost of utilities in Palm Coast, the water quality, and when the elected members of the council will be filling out and disclosing the form 6 that the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, had signed into law earlier this year, requiring elected officials and candidates to disclose all of their finances.

Staff presented an update on the infill lot drainage issue to the council. Johnathon Lord, the Emergency Management Director  of Flagler County was present to discuss the current climate and changes that are impacting the area, such as increases in rainfall, as well as sea-level rising impacts to waterfront properties and storm system draining. Director Lord stated that Stormwater management is vital to protecting Palm Coast, and he went on record to say, “Your stormwater department is very proactive.” Director Lord emphasized that enforcement of building codes is key to stormwater management.  Director of Stormwater and Engineering Carl Cote took over the presentation after Director Lord finished his presentation on our climate in Flagler County. Director Cote briefly explained some of the key points from Director Lords presentation, before moving on to update the council on their progress regarding the advisory council, updates to the technical manual, etc. Director Cote stated that Palm Coast does not have homes that flood like other communities, where whole neighborhoods are under water. Cote continued on to state that the task force is comprised of top leadership and experts in stormwater, floodplains and building codes; this group meets weekly. Staff stated that about 174 cases have come in regarding flooding next to new infill lots, 73% of those homes were built prior to 2005. There are 25 cases that have not been visited yet but are being scheduled or waiting for citizen responses to schedule.

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Mayor Alfin asked Director Cote who has the certification and expertise to determine the exact reason for flooding; Director Cote was not able to name anyone who has that expertise currently, and essentially told council that they just didn’t have the information to make the determinations for some of the older properties built in the 70’s and 80’s. Director Cote also updated the council that the formation of the Citizens Committee requires a resolution approved by the City Council with all of the details, such as duration, number of members, any qualifications, and so forth before the resolution can be drafted. Applicants would be subject to a background check, a form 1 financial report, as well as applicable Sunshine Laws. The committee would decide how often they need to meet, a possible range with a minimum of 5 members with up to 9 members, along with two alternates. The committee would have one staff member liaison appointed by City Manager, which would then be approved by Council. The resolution is tentatively scheduled for the next business meeting.

 

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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