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Flood Zone:
Opportunity at Hervey Lane
by Ed Rast
January 2005

To: Carol Hamilton and Ed Schreiner, City Planning

Subject: Hervey Lane Proposed Development - Mitigation of the property's
Artificial Barrier that causes area flooding & Public Street request

Carol & Ed.

This email is a follow up to our conversation concerning the proposed Hervey Lane development and desired mitigation of the historical artificial
railroad bed barrier that causes flooding of the neighborhood and hundreds of homes north of Hervey Lane between Highway 87 / Bird Avenue and between Minnesota ( to include Willow street ) and Cal Train line next to Fuller Avenue.

The Willow Glen federal 1% flood zone starts where Ross Creek joins the
Guadalupe River and during heavy winter and spring rainstorms the water from Ross Creek overflows the Guadalupe river and floods the surrounding neighborhoods. The flood waters flow down neighborhood streets primarily on the west side of the river since there are few places where the flow waters can flow back to the river.

These artificially or naturally built up areas between the flooded neighborhood streets and the river result in the flood waters continuing to flow north flooding additional Willow Glen neighborhoods and homes. The Willow Glen Spur rail roadbed when it was constructed was built above the flood plain and it artificially diverts the flood waters further north up Hervey Lane to the intersection of Minnesota where the flood waters flood across Minnesota continuing to flood more neighborhoods and homes.

The residents in the neighborhoods north of the intersection of Minnesota and Hervey Lane have numerous times expressed their desire that the any proposed development on the Willow Glen Spur rail roadbed be grading to reduce this artificial barrier's height so that the flood water could flow back to the Guadalupe River and potentially not flood their neighborhoods.
This reduction of the artificial barrier was not possible while the railroad used the railroad tracks.

There would seem to be a least 2 possible solutions: 1) regrade the Santa Clara Valley Water District property adjacent to the Guadalupe River at the southeast corner of the property so that the flood waters could drain back into the Guadalupe River and 2) grading the proposed public street toward the river away from Hervey Lane. This regrading would make it possible for the flood waters to drain back into the Guadalupe River. If this is not done the flood waters would continue for years to flow down neighborhood streets around the artificial railroad bed barrier and flood additional homes north of Harvey Lane since there is not a path for the flood waters to flow back to the river.

It is my understanding that the proposed public street be graded towards
Hervey Lane making the neighborhood flooding situation worst rather than allowing the flood waters to drain back into the river. The regrading's excessive dirt could be used to raise the proposed development's home foundations above the flood plain while the public street would be lower. The proposed Upper Guadalupe River flood control project will take 12-15 or more years to complete while this regrading of the Hervey Lane proposed development would immediately prevent some and possibly most of the flooding of the neighborhoods north of Hervey Lane caused by the overflowing of Ross Creek. If this regarding was designed properly it would contribute to a Willow Glen area flow control plan.

We would like to resolve this regrading / flooding issue prior to the next public meeting so it does not become the focus of the meeting.


PS The neighborhood residents strongly prefer a public street not a private street for public safety and trail access that would avoid any future access disputes between the proposed development home owners. Please make both the flood issue and the public street request part of the public comments for this proposed development.

Copyright 2003