Oct 27, 2020

Florida Residents Flooded by Hurricane Sally

Florida residents flooded by Hurricane Sally are reconsidering a previously shelved FEMA flood project.

water quality

Hurricane Sally caused severe flood damage to numerous homes in the Lake Charlene subdivision last month and residents are attempting to revitalize a FEMA project.

There is a fully-funded plan in place to improve flood control in the Pensacola, Florida region but the project was shelved in 2019 because Escambia County and the Lake Charlene Homeowner's Association (HOA) were unable to agree to the specifics of a land sale, according to Pensacola News Journal.

Lake Charlene is a subdivision north of Naval Hospital Pensacola. The community was heavily flooded in a rainstorm of April 2014 and became a priority for storm water mitigation after the fact.

Engineers drafted a plan to lower the level of the lake by 9 inches and build additional outflow pipes to flush storm water out faster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) committed $2.1 million to make the project happen, although the project would not necessarily protect homes in the region, reported Pensacola News Journal.

The project intended to reduce flood potential for 300 homes in the Lake Charlene, Myrtle Grove and Warrington areas. The Lake Charlene Homeowner's Association refused to sell Escambia County the 0.11-acre parcel housing the lake's floodgate, however.

Those opposed to the plan cited concerns, including that lowering the lake could harm sea walls, marine life, property values and aesthetics.

Dean Kirschner, current president of the Lake Charlene HOA, said the organization's decision to refuse the terms of the land sale was to prevent future issues.

"We don't want anybody to flood or even come close to it," said Kirschner. "Something could and should have been done by the county irrespective of the FEMA project, and that's what we're trying to get done."

In early 2019, the HOA sent the county a list of conditions it wanted the county to meet in order to move forward with the land sale, but the two parties failed to reach an accord and the project was no longer.

Residents are currently being encouraged by flyers in the area to make their desires known to the county and to FEMA.

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