MADEIRA BEACH – The preliminary results of an extensive study of the city of Maderia Beach’s storm water control system along with recommendations for improvements was presented at the city commission’s Oct. 9 meeting.
An analysis done by engineering group Cribb Philbeck Weaver Group of Oviedo revealed numerous flaws in the system that have contributed to flooding issues in parts of the city. Most of the problems are fixable but the cost could be significant, said Jeff Earhart, CPWG senior vice president.
The firm surveyed about 100 outfall structures that release storm water into the bay. They found 50 to 60 percent of the pipes were clogged due to oyster growth.
Beach buildup in some areas also was blocking the flow. Pipe size in some cases was insufficient to handle the storm water.
Tides during storm events also can have a large effect upon flooding, Earhart said.
Like other beach communities, Madeira Beach has sea soil that drains poorly. The city is primarily commercial and high density residential, which also affects drainage.
Computer models were developed to show what elevation the water is predicted to rise to in storm events, along with low tide and maximum tide frequencies.
Attention was given to the 140th Street vicinity, which is highly prone to flooding.
During Tropical Storm Debby, the area experienced three days of flooding just from tidal effects, Earhart said. There was nothing to stop the water from coming back into the system.
Flood control recommendations included lowering the outfall elevation, providing larger pipe and inlet capacity and controlling the effect of tides through the use of flap gates. Pump stations, which can cost a half million dollars to construct, can get rid of water quicker, Earhart said.
Flap gates let the storm water out but prevent seawater from coming in. It can be very effective in flood control, said Susan Woodbery, CPWG environmental engineer and wetland specialist. The cost can range from $10,000-$30,000 per unit for small basin areas to $30,000-$50,000 each to cover areas with larger water flow, she said.
A flood control project can be costly, but grants are available from several sources, Woodbery said. St. Pete Beach recently obtained a 50/50 matching grant from the water management district, she said.
The study recommended that street paving projects in the city be delayed until it is determined which areas will be torn up for storm water improvements.
The CPWG group will now work to complete the storm water control study. Parts of the analysis need to be finished, and costs of the recommended solutions need to be provided.
“We’re about 90 percent done,” Woodbery said.
Parks improvement plan
An inventory of the city’s parks and green spaces also was presented by members of the CPWG group, along with some recommendations for improvements.
The city has a number of park and green areas, including named parks, smaller pocket parks, walkways and right-of-ways, said Stephen Tarte, CPWG senior vice president. The recreation master plan needs to be updated, Tarte said, with a focus on tying the city’s green spaces together with a common theme that “looks like Madeira Beach.”
He suggested creating a walk path with exercise stations that would connect the park areas. Other ideas for improving the green spaces could come from residents through the use of neighborhood “charrette” sessions, similar to what was done about 10 years ago to create a master plan for the city’s development.
New CVS store
A new CVS Pharmacy and 2,500-square-foot retail building are being proposed for the northeast corner of Madeira Way and Gulf Boulevard. An Italian restaurant, retail shops and a vacant gas station now occupy the site, across from Archibald Park. All current buildings would be demolished to make way for the new development, said Jose Martinez, representing the Foresite Development Group of Tampa.
Martinez said the plan would “streetscape the building” and put it on the right-of-way, which would violate setback requirements.
“What we are proposing does not meet the current zoning criteria,” Martinez said.
Martinez wanted the commission to provide feedback on his proposal, which has not yet been accepted by CVS officials. But City Attorney Thomas Trask advised the commissioners not to give any opinions. He said the plan needs to be discussed in a public forum with participants under oath.
Before that happens, Trask told Martinez, he “needs to do his homework” and meet with city staff on his proposal. Trask said the project will need a special exception, and “I have a number of other issues with it in addition.”
Martinez met with Community Development Director Lynn Rosetti following the meeting.
City hall issues
While the city considers a renovate or rebuild decision regarding the city hall, employees are continuing to deal with the effects of the building’s decline.
City Manager Shane Crawford reported he became sick recently as the result of building leaks that caused the carpet in his office to become saturated. He said when the carpet in his office and Rosetti’s office was recently removed, they discovered the carpet padding “was the consistency of mashed potatoes.”
“Some people are getting ill (from the building),” Crawford said. He told the commission “repairs are needed to keep working here.”
Other city hall problems reported by Crawford in the past have included a leaky roof, mold, rats, and “the possum that fell on our copy machine.”