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Flooding Complaints Pour In

By Janessa Maxilom, Alamogordo Daily News, N.M.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 23--Alamogordo City Commissioners heard concerns, complaints and suggestions about flood issues in the city from citizens Wednesday.

The commission held a special meeting to focus solely on flood issues at the Sgt. Willie Estrada Memorial Civic Center.

During the meeting denizens were provided time to talk about flooding in the community. Many of the citizens who spoke at the meeting owned property in the northern part of the city where major flooding occurs.

Linda Ness Gulley, a concerned citizen, said the property she owns on Puerto Rico Avenue just north of Indian Wells floods so much the sewer pipes back up. Gulley said in the past the area didn't always flood.

"Some diversion thing was done to the north and east of that area, I don't know what, but it was several years ago and ever since then that property floods every time it rains," Gulley said.

City Manager Jim Stahle explained the city used to have a detention basin that would gather and diverted rain water in the area north of Indian Wells.

"We used to have a detention basin in our public yard across and south of Griggs field," Stahle said. "Back in the early 80s we got a choice. Build it as a damn which was big bucks. Or breach it. The commission at that time breached it and that caused the water that would have otherwise been pooled there to go through."

Stahle said city staff has already begun looking into potentially replacing the detention basin. Stahle said previous studies done by the city in the last couple of years recommended putting in a detention basin in the same area where the old basin was located.

Citizens asked if there was any way they could get assistance from the city for the flood damage that was caused because of the city breaching the detention basin.

"We are as a city unable to go back and address -- as I understand it -- individual property damage," Stahle said. "If you had flood insurance my understanding was you could put a claim in."

Some citizens complained that poor planning was the cause for excessive flooding throughout the city.

Harv Hamilton, a concerned citizen, suggested the city commission update the city master plan to better understand where subdivision should or shouldn't be built.

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"Have the guts to pass an updated master plan," Hamilton said. "A master plan will allow you to say no on subdivisions."

Hamiliton said the city needs to be wiser when it comes to building in and around the city and that an updated master plan of the city would help.

The city commission took notes of suggestions made by citizens and said they would have city staff look further into what can be done.

Stahle said the city is doing it's best to handle flood problems and is looking for long-term solutions.

"The city is continuing to work diligently to address the flooding problems," Stahle said.

Stahle said the recent flooding incurred extraordinary expenses on behalf of the city and that staff is currently working to remedy the situation. Stahle said city staff has put together a resolution for the commission that will allow the city to go to the state and request financial assistance as a result of the impact felt by recent flooding.

Stahle said city staff would be presenting a resolution to the commission during the upcoming city commission meeting Monday. The commission didn't vote or take action on anything that was discussed during the public meeting.

___

(c)2014 the Alamogordo Daily News (Alamogordo, N.M.)

Visit the Alamogordo Daily News (Alamogordo, N.M.) at www.alamogordonews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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