City OKs Property Condemnation for Flood Control

City OKs Property Condemnation for Flood Control

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- The City Council has authorized condemnation of private property along the Santa Clara River for construction of a flood-control structure.

The city first will try to negotiate with property owners to obtain the necessary rights of way for the Natural Resources Conservation Service to build the dike-like structure.

If the city is not able to obtain the easements, the council has authorized that the properties be condemned, City Manager Gary Esplin said Tuesday.

Esplin said the structure will be designed to handle the amount of water that flowed down the channel in January during the floods.

The NRCS has identified five critical areas along the rivers that need immediate attention.

Bill Ottman, who lives in one of the critical areas in the Riverwood subdivision, attended the council's special meeting Tuesday and said the water is against his back fence.

A temporary berm built in the channel is deteriorating and he said he did not think his house would survive another flood like January's.

The council also toured a new development. The council recently tabled approval of the final plat for the development because of its proximity to the Virgin River.

The mayor and council were worried because some lots are within the 100-year flood plain, and water flood waters reached the entrance of the development in January.

Developer Steven Sheffield and engineer Rick Rosenberg showed the council the efforts made to protect the homes from flooding.

The work includes a decorative fence that acts as a dam, an underground erosion control barrier and raised pads to elevate the homes well above anticipated flood levels.

Sheffield said they have spent nearly $1 million to raise the subdivision high enough.

The developer also said home buyers would be informed of the flooding possibility and would be required to have flood insurance.

He also said he thought the pooling water around the development in January was caused by a sandbar in the river blocking the main channel.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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