***UPDATE - JULY 4, 2012 *** No word when the presentation of the proposed new plan to repair the SCR-3 gap will be presented to City Council. If it does not happen this month, then the next opportunity will be in September as the City Council is on hiatus for the entire month of August. As always, we will keep you posted.
***UPDATE – APRIL 27, 2012 *** The latest word is that the presentation of the new plan to the Oxnard City Council has been postponed until June, so it will NOT take place at the May 1st meeting.
***UPDATE - APRIL 10, 2012 – *** The City of Oxnard and VC Watershed have apparently agreed on a new compromise plan for repairing the gap in the SCR-3 levee, which will be constructed along the edge of the river, not along the easterly side of Ventura Road. A presentation of the plan is scheduled to be presented to the Oxnard City Council at the May 1st, 2012 meeting. All FJA members are encouraged to attend this meeting or watch on City TV.
The FJA Board members have recently attended meetings with Norma Camacho and Gerard Kapuscik of VCWatershed, and subsequently with Rob Roshanian and Robert Hearne with the City of Oxnard to discuss plans to provide flood protection along the gap in the SCR-3 levee. There are basically two alternatives being discussed. The first alternative is to build a levee and/or flood wall along the edge of the river. The second alternative is to construct a flood wall on the opposite side of Ventura Road away from the river. The City favors the first alternative, and VCWPD favors the second. There are multiple challenges associated with either alternative, including construction cost, time, environmental concerns and more. VCWPD will be giving a detailed presentation before the Oxnard City Council in the near future, likely in February according to Mr. Roshanian. The FJA board encourages all of it’s members to attend if possible and be prepared to speak out during the public comment period.
In brief, VCWPD is concerned that the ‘riverside’ solution will be far more costly and take years longer mainly due to environmental regulations protecting various endangered species that have migrated to the area where construction will take place. There is even the threat of lawsuits against the County by the EPA, which would add additional time and expense to defend against. In contrast, building a flood wall on the far side of Ventura Road away from the river would not have this added complexity, and therefore would cost far less and take far less time to complete.
The City argues that having the flood wall across and along Ventura Road would sacrifice this important artery in the event of a major flood and would necessitate having a massive flood gate that would have to be closed to protect the adjacent neighborhoods. It would also require a separate solution for the Wagon Wheel area, whereas the levee along the river would extend all the way to the 101 freeway and connect seamlessly with the SCR-1 levee. Also, home values behind the flood wall and gate would depreciate.
Regardless of which alternative is ultimately adopted, there is also the matter of funding. Funding sources would include our share of property tax revenue, possible state grant money if VCWPD’s current grant applications are successful, and last, but not least, creating a Community Facilities District to tax the affected residents. And if that doesn’t get your attention, FEMA is expected to be back with a revised flood map in the spring of 2014, only a couple of years away, so we could be facing paying BOTH a levee repair assessment and flood insurance. And if the ‘roadside’ alternative is ultimately adopted, the homes lying in the shadow of a massive wall and flood gate would have yet another major impact on their property values.
Below are the two alternatives (there may be additional ones discussed at the meeting). The top image shows the levee/flood wall along the edge of the river. The bottom image shows the flood wall and flood gate along Ventura Road.
The FJA Board needs to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with everyone.