Flood committee starts risk-identification process

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There is a possibility of obtain ing an additional $450,000 in state funding to help solve Malibu’s flooding problems if the City Council approves a Flood Mitigation Plan before Dec. 1, according to Chuck Bergson, public works director.

The city already has received a $150,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with the mitigation process.

After finding that Malibu is second only to Sonoma County for repetitive flooding claims made to FEMA, the city created a Flood Mitigation Committee in the hopes of getting control of the flooding problem.

The committee reviewed the flood risk identification process for the first time Monday.

The purpose of the flood mitigation plan is to take measures to reduce and eliminate repetitive losses of property due to flooding. It will help identify areas of historic flooding and problem areas, determine existing hydrologic conditions in the watersheds, and develop goals and objectives for the flood mitigation plan.

The six-member committee is comprised of three members of the public, including John Wall, chair, Ed Lipnick, vice-chair, and Libby Sparks Lippman and three members of city staff, Barry Hogan, planning director, Bergson, and Vic Peterson, Environmental and Building Safety official. City Manager Marilyn Leuck was also present.

During this first meeting the committee reviewed the reasons for its existence, which is to have a plan to decrease the claims in the future.

Information provided by FEMA, which has collected data for the past 17 years, indicates that claims are clustered in the PCH area, which is suspected not to be sufficiently equipped with drainage. Consequently that canyon water pools up and runs over the highway causing traffic stoppage and property damage.

David Evans and Associates, a consulting firm contracted for the project, created a map showing the problem areas such as the Las Tuna section of PCH. The firm will discuss the draft goals and objectives of the plan, including possible mitigation measures, and receive public comment on the goals and solutions at a public meeting Aug. 24 at the HRL Laboratory Auditorium between 7 and 9 p.m.

Possible solutions can include elevating structure, putting up walls or moving properties at risk.

As the committee was discussing its schedule, they decided to expedite matters by meeting monthly, except for the month of October, so they can finalize a review before going to City Council in November.

After the meeting was adjourned, committee members looked at the map created by the consulting company. They could indeed see that repetitive flooding exists, noting that one property has made four claims in the past 17 years, while none of its neighbors have any at all.