In the wake of the 2013 flood, we should ask whether more development along our city’s St. Vrain Creek corridor makes sense. This means reevaluating and revising our Longmont Comprehensive Plan as it applies to properties along this corridor.
All the homes on south side of 9th between Airport and Hover were horribly impacted by 2013’s flood. The damage was massive to the homes and businesses that were already developed. More life and property would have been devastated if more development existed along this corridor.
According to The Army Corps of Engineers, there have been 11 floods along this corridor in the last 100 years. Experts on climate change say we can expect more frequent and damaging flood events in the future. We can’t “mitigate” Mother Nature. For instance, even with Left-hand Creek flood mitigation efforts just completed prior to the 2013 flood, many homes in Creekside and Southmoore Park were flooded and Kanemoto Park/pool were destroyed.
Over 80% of properties along the city reach of our St. Vrain corridor are privately owned. Currently these properties are in the flood plain, so they are not available for development. However, due to the massive publicly-funded flood mitigation efforts underway, these properties will no longer be designated as flood plain and will be available for development. Because of our HUGE public investment in flood mitigation ($150 million and counting), the public should have a significant say in what and how this development proceeds. Revisiting our Comprehensive Plan with public input relative to future proposed development in this corridor is warranted.
Our 2013 flood was a wake up call that demands we revisit and revise our Longmont Comprehensive Plan accordingly. It’s the responsible thing to do logically, morally and fiscally.