Town flood study meeting set

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) Deputy Director Todd Fortune said that the Town of Drakes Branch is set to hold a community meeting about the flood study the town and CRC are undertaking Oct. 17 in the town of Drakes Branch.

The purpose of the flood study and the application from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s (VDEM) Mitigation Assistance Grant Program are to get funding to replace the town’s municipal building, which also houses the fire department.

The town’s project to replace the building was featured on ABC 13, WSET Monday.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) staff, according to Fortune, wanted to review the draft report released by the town and engineering firm in July.

Staff members’ reasons for wanting to review the report was due to the flood study potentially influencing the next steps of the DHCD’s Business District Revitalization Project the agency is working to implement in Drakes Branch.

The study detailed flooding in the town, the areas that have sustained damage and need improvements, and a map revision for a special flood hazard area (SFHA) in Drakes Branch that drains into Twitty’s Creek.

The study focused on the existing municipal buildings that contain the Drakes Branch Town Office and the Drakes Branch Volunteer Fire Department. The Town of Drakes Branch and the CRC are applying for a grant from VDEM to address the issues facing the municipal building and others along the left side of Main Street, as it’s in close proximity to a tributary that runs behind and in some areas, underneath the buildings.

Fortune said the DHCD reviewed the draft report and provided comments.

He said once the town holds the community meeting, the next steps include incorporating comments and finalizing the report.

“Hopefully November we’ll have the report done,” Fortune said.

According to a memorandum from a CRC meeting board packet, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management set a deadline for the town to submit a Mitigation Assistance Grant Program for Oct. 12.

“As you know, VDEM initiated the need for the Flood Protection Study to provide the Town needed data to then apply for a Mitigation Grant from VDEM,” the memorandum cited. “This grant could fund demolition of the existing building and pay its market value, which could go toward the cost of a new municipal building.”