December 7, 2010

Council OKs new disaster planning strategy

Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Residents living on Brookview Drive, an area of town notorious for its severe springtime flooding, are holding out hope that Londonderry’s newly updated Hazardous Mitigation Plan will ensure they won’t be forgotten.During Monday's Town Council meeting, the council unanimously approved the town’s latest hazardous mitigation plan, which also calls for an updated school emergency plan, the development of local sheltering, the upgrade of Class VI roads and the development of groundwater protection strategies, in addition to ongoing attempts to mitigate Brookview Drive’s flood problems.
On page 72 of the 136-page plan, town officials vowed to, over the coming three years, work with the Army Corps of Engineers on an ongoing study of Brookview Drive, with the ultimate goal of “making recommendations
 for mitigating flood losses and damages, as well as pursue grants to purchase and/or elevate repetitive loss properties on this road.”
The plan also includes intentions to “work to provide educational information to residents about flood-proofing and ways to minimize potential loss­

Resident Carl Zavorotny, of 16 Brookview Drive, said he was pleased to see his neighborhood’s flooding problems heavily noted in the plan. 
Zavorotny noted that the town was in the process of trying to obtain FEMA funds to elevate repetitive loss properties, his home among them. 
“As a town, the two options we looked at were either purchasing the properties in question or elevating them,” Town Manager David Caron said on Monday night. “In this particular case, elevating them seemed the best option.” 
Longtime Brookview Drive resident Gerald Gulezian said, “For once in 34 years, I can say thank you.” 
Rep. Al Baldasaro, who spoke during the meeting’s public comment segment, asked Caron if a possible purchase of the flooded properties would affect taxpayers. 
The Town of Londonderry is eligible to receive two separate types of FEMA grants pertaining to Brookview Drive, with grant funding offering potential opportunities for residents to either raise, or raze, their homes, though as it stands now residents are holding out hope for home elevations rather than demolitions. 
Should the neighbors ultimately be determined eligible for federal grant funding, a match contribution would need to be met. One program offers a 90/10 match, but several other grant programs are 75/25. All of those programs would have to be applied for by the town on the homeowners’ behalf, and when homes are demolished under these programs, the underlying property becomes town-owned open space land. 
Caron noted there could be both a federal and nonfederal match to either funding option, though stressed the nonfederal match isn’t necessarily the town’s responsibility. 
Typically, around six homes are frequently flooded in the Brookview Drive neighborhood each spring, with four homes on that street sustaining the most severe damage. 
Londonderry’s original mitigation plan has been in place since 2005. Residents may access the updated, 136-page document online at www.londonderrynh. org. 

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