In the last 10 years, Dan Bowman has lost 10 feet of his property. Each year when the winter rains come, he and his neighbors hold their breath as they watch a small stream behind their homes turn into a raging creek, sweeping away their back yards.
After years of pleading to town officials, Bowman and several Star Valley residents may finally have relief coming — providing the project qualifies for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.
The town has $280,000 to spend in 2011/2012. In years past, the town has worked on building a new crossing at Valley Road, making town hall handicap accessible and starting a fire hydrant feasibility study.
This time, Bowman said it is their turn.
Removing a concrete crossing is the only way to keep the creek from eating away any more of their property, Bowman said.
“Anyone can see it is causing damage,” he said. “We have had extensive damage. We need the town’s help.”
Donald “Jake” Jacobs’ yard has suffered the most damage out of the half dozen residents who live off Starlight Drive. The ground beneath Jacobs back porch was swept away in January leaving his deck hanging.
He says it is only a matter of time before his guest house falls in along with the deck.
“Are you going to wait until our homes fall in the creek?” Bowman said. “It is time for the town to do the right thing.”
After hearing Bowman speak, Councilor Gary Coon said the town should help and that the council has not done enough.
“It looks like there has been bad communication between the problem and this council. We need to be better informed because you guys have a problem,” he said.
Several months ago, the council discussed the flooding problem off Starlight, but decided at the time it was too risky to make any repairs, fearing litigation from the Army Corps of Engineers or residents. “It seemed like every direction we looked there would be a litigation problem,” Coon said.
Regardless, Coon said the town should pay for a engineering study to determine what is the root of the problem, which could be the crossing or some other factor.
“We need to get the facts instead of getting our asses chewed out, which we probably needed. You have got good points,” Coon said.
Vice Mayor Del Newland said he would like to see the town do something to help.
Councilor Vern Leis said he would think about what Bowman and Jacobs had said at the meeting. Leis presented his own ideas on how to use the $280,000, including a study on smaller detention basins placed around town to collect floodwaters, an evaluation of the easements and a drainage study.
Leis’ final suggestion was setting aside a large chunk of the money to buy land for a park behind town hall in a lot currently being used for RV storage.
The council agreed to look at projects that benefit everyone in town as well as specific projects that help those in need.
“Part of it should be spent for a solution that benefits everyone,” said Councilor Paty Henderson.
Cindy Schofield, with the Central Arizona Association of Governments, took notes on the ideas and will return Dec. 21 with a list of which projects meet the requirements. The council then needs to decide which two projects it wants to go forward with.
In other council news, a conditional use permit to install an 80-foot-tall communications tower was approved.
Chris Salgot, owner of C&M Communications, said the tower would be used for testing two-way radio equipment.
C&M Communications provides radio communication services for school districts, businesses and local public safety entities.
The 365-pound tower will be installed next to C&M’s rented building off Walters Lane.
The tower will be set in concrete and there is little risk it will ever fall over, said Planning and Zoning Commission member Steve Bingham.
“It may fold, but it is not going to fall over,” he said.
If C&M relocated, Salgot said they would take the tower with them since it cost around $5,000.