City Commission Works Out FEMA Floodplain Details

Manhattan City Commissioners continued their review of FEMA’s new floodplain maps, during Tuesday’s work session.

The new Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM), include Riley County and portions of Pottowatomie County.

Part of the discussion centered around the appeals process for property owners and lessees, in Manhattan, who believe that their property rights will be negatively impacted by the proposed flood hazard determinations. Appeals can be based only on information that shows the Flood Hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect.

The City of Manhattan can also make an appeal, based on scientific facts. However, to date, City Administration has reviewed the preliminary FIS and DFIRMs and has found no errors that would require an appeal. The City will process any appeals, check their validity, and send the relevant ones to FEMA Region VII in Kansas City for consideration.

Commissioners also discussed ways to inform property owners in the City of how they may be affected by changes to the floodplain maps. Some of these impacts include increases in costs for new development, flood insurance and the cost of bringing a building up to code. City Administration suggested sending out direct mailings, setting up informational computer kiosks, and producing PSA’s.

The City of Manhattan will host two open houses in the month of September to give the public a chance to ask questions and voice its concerns.

The first open house is from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 12 in the Large Assembly Room at Manhattan Fire Headquarters. The second is from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m on Wednesday, September 25 in the City Commission Room at Manhattan City Hall. Representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources and FEMA will also be on hand to answer questions.

To view the new floodplain maps, visit cityofmhk.com/floodmapupdates

In addition to the floodplain maps, Commissioners reviewed the status of the Casement Road Bridge Project. Currently, the box culvert under Casement Road, near the intersection of Marlatt Avenue, is not adequate to handle high water volumes. During times of heavy rain fall, the water backs up, and the culvert acts as a dam.

A representative from Olsson Associates, the project designer, told commissioners Tuesday that a preliminary design is nearing completion.

The project includes several major components and are as follows:

-Improving a 2,100 linear feet section of Casement Road to a 40 feet wide, three lane road. The section is from where Casement intersects with Martlatt Avenue to just south of its intersection with Brookmont Drive. This layout consists of two driving lanes, a center turning lane, and curb and gutter.
-Replacing the existing Box Culvert with a 100-foot-long reinforced concrete slab, haunched bridge structure with two piers. This includes channel improvements to the Marlatt Avenue Ditch.
-Eliminating roadside ditches and replace with a curb and gutter and storm
sewer network.
-Installing a six-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side of Casement Road with a ten foot sidewalk on the west side of the Casement Road Bridge.

Financing for the project was approved as a part of the 2009 Capital Improvement Program. The bridge improvements will be funded from the Stormwater Fund, and the road improvements will be funded from the Surface Transportation Program Funds.

In total, the project will cost approximately $2,950,000.