County authorizes floodplain flyover

Hays County Commissioners last week authorized a professional services agreement with Freese and Nichols to perform a flyover to study and update the counties outdated floodplain models.

Worried about the drainage on the Blanco River and on Purgatory Creek, the court authorized laser imagery to work on updating the models for properties owned by the county.

These properties include, but are not limited to, the Hays County Government Center off of Wonder World Drive and law-enforcement site off Uhland Road.

The flyover would give Freese and Nichols the ability to process the imagery to make sure what the county is constructing is constructed in the right places. This is part of the due diligence of the building program to make sure the county is not building in a flood plain, or flood-prone area.

James “Clint” Garza, Hays County Development Services Director, said the flyover will make sure that the flood plain that’s represented is as “accurate as humanly possible.

“If you look at the data that was used for the FEMA models from 2008, there has been some development around the sites, the Blanco Vista development for example, that is considerably different than it was in 2008,” Garza said.

Pct.4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant seconded Garza’s sentiment, and said that this action gives the county a most recent ability to establish what would be a flood prone area, at an elevation that provides the ability to build at a safe level above that.

“I don’t expect that we’ll find something that is much different from FEMA’s model, but if we do, we’ll be able to address it now,” said Garza. “But this flight will update everything for us and I think we’ll have the best information we could possibly get.”

Hays County Judge Bert Cobb also commented on the project’s importance to the county.

“We’re spending a lot of the public’s money to build these buildings to serve our county so it’s very important that we know exactly where we’re building them,” said Cobb.

If updates to the models need to be made, and requests for amendments to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) map of the area need to be made, secondary measures will be discussed and authorized at a later date.

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