Staunton: $75,000 grant to help with floodplain study on city’s West End

staunton virginiaThe City of Staunton has been notified by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation that it will receive a $75,000 grant to conduct a flood study in parts of the west end of the City.

The City applied for the grant in the spring to study a portion of the floodplain from 139 Park Boulevard to the intersection of West Beverley Street and Morris Mill Road to help property owners in the area.

Currently, some property owners in the neighborhood pay higher flood insurance premiums, have difficulty flood-proofing structures and generally encounter more challenges when they seek to develop or re-develop their properties because the base flood elevations—or flood zone elevations—haven’t been established there.

Identifying how high water can rise during a flood is necessary for the elevation or floodproofing of structures and to determine a property owner’s flood insurance premium.

“An updated flood study will provide base flood elevations for this corridor and may address some of these issues,” said John Glover, the City’s building official and floodplain manager. “The boundaries of the flood zone will also likely be altered, based on improved information collected as a part of such a study.”

In past years, the City made requests of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and members of Congress for funding of such a study or a study itself. Because it seemed unlikely that FEMA would undertake such a study anytime soon due to its own funding challenges, City staff identified a source of funding for a study by the City.

Grant funding is provided by Virginia’s Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund and will cover approximately half the cost of the study, which is estimated to be $150,000. The City will fund the remaining 50 percent of the study cost. The City hopes to begin the study sometime this fall.

About the Floodplain

The area stretching from 139 Park Boulevard to the intersection of West Beverley Street and Morris Mill Road is currently designated by FEMA as Zone A, an area that has a one percent probability of flooding each year, or the 100-year flood. FEMA calculates the elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during a flood, providing the national standard used by all federal agencies and the National Flood Insurance Program to require the purchase of flood insurance and regulate new development.

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