City Will Pay for Tornado Stream Debris Cleanup

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Property owners with fallen trees in waterways from the April 16 tornado will have help from the city to clear them up. City councilors this week approved $800,000 to pay to clean up the streams.

A waterway inventory conducted by the Stormwater Utility Division found that 234 properties were affected, according to the city’s manager’s report to council this week.

Fallen trees in a backyard and waterway of home on Marlborough Road.

The reports states that “these trees and stumps could potentially cause flooding should Raleigh experience heavy rains.”

In response to the inventory, the city approved a voluntary program to hire a contractor to remove debris from impacted waterways only.  Affected property owners will be notified of the program by mail, but owners will be responsible for contacting the city to clean up their property.

Property owners who do not allow the city onto their property and do not have debris removed themselves could face a public nuisance citation.

According to City Manager Russell Allen, the program would run until the end of the year and cost about $800,000, which would come from stormwater utility funds.

The program will not be eligible for FEMA reimbursement.

The report stated that a total of 1,436 trees were found damaged as part of the inventory. The areas with the most debris were areas near Beehnon Way and Tryon Road, Marborough Road and King Charles Road, Skycrest Road and Capital Boulevard, and Valley Stream Drive and Louisburg Road.

Large floodplains, such as Crabtree Creek and the Neuse River, were not part of the inventory “due the sensitive nature of the land and the limited impacts trees and other debris could have on future flooding,” according to the report.

According to Public Works Director Carl Dawson, the program would also be limited in what it can remove due to environmental regulations. Dawson said only trees would be removed from “very defined areas” to allow water to flow.

“If we don’t do something proactive and comprehensive, then we are very likely to have stream quality problems and erosion problems in these areas that were hard hit,” Allen said.

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