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The North Bend Eagle


City wants Engineer Corps to take new look at dikes

by Nathan Arneal
Published 4/14/10

Looking for a more secure way to keep the city dry, the North Bend City Council met with the Army Corps of Engineers at its April 6 meeting to discuss diking.

In 2005, the Corps did a cost/benefit study that suggested the best place for a dike to protect North Bend was down fifth street, the gravel road immediately south of the railroad tracks. The North Bend City Council, both then and now, wanted nothing to do with such a proposal.

With new housing developments southwest of town reshaping much of the landscape between North Bend and the Platte River, the Council wants the Corps to take a new look at the situation.

An improved dike near North Bend could reduce flood insurance rates in the city or possibly take North Bend out of the flood plain altogether.

Army Corps of Engineers project manager Mark Nelson said there appeared to be enough changes in the area since the 2005 study to warrant a reexamination of the situation.

“It makes a lot of sense to me to not let that river get out,” Nelson said. “If that could be a grand solution, that could be something great done in this century that could benefit generations to come.”

According to maps Nelson brought with him, the latest surveys show much of the Flamme Addition on the west side of town as well as the ground immediately west of North Bend to be in a floodway. These latest maps have not been adopted by FEMA yet, but if they are adopted it could mean no one could build in the floodway. In fact, if one of the houses in the Flamme addition were to burn down, they would not be allowed to rebuild.

However, Nelson said the maps are preliminary and more surveying may change the situation. New technology able to determine elevation to a six-inch accuracy may also help.

In order for the Army Corps of Engineers to go forward with a diking project, the value of the property benefiting from the dike must be greater than the cost of the project.

If the built-up land in the housing developments and a new highway could serve as a dike, it would only leave a short span of new dike to be built, which would keep costs down.

John Miyoshi, general manager for the Lower Platte Natural Resource District, said the NRD would be willing to spearhead a new study on dike possibilities with the city’s cooperation. He said there were several options that could be looked at in order to make the cost/benefit ratio attractive to the Corps of Engineers.
Nelson said that a lot of agencies will have a say in any new dike being built around North Bend.

“None of this is easy,” Nelson said. “It’s all like birthing elephants, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible either.”

In other council news:
• The council discussed the water meter in the apartment of Kyle Classen, owned by Bill Lambrecht. Classen’s meter said he was using 651 gallons a day, causing his bill to be about double normal. He disputes this figure.
Other apartments of Lambrecht’s have had similar problems. The council agreed to install new meters in the apartments and charge Classen for an average water bill. If the new meters also show elevated water usage, the resident would be responsible for the entire bill.
• The council approved a permit for Dick Wesely to conduct the Old Setters fireworks show.

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