Dripping Springs moves forward with flood recovery

The May 4 flood that swept through Dripping Springs caused immense damage to local businesses and infrastructure, pushing city officials to take action. 

On May 14, the Dripping Springs City Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Todd Purcell to reduce or waive building permit fees related to disaster repair and construction. 

“This will make the rebuilding process a little less stressful for our neighbors who were affected by the flood,” Purcell said.

If approved by the city, building permit fees for residential construction repairs will be waived entirely, according to the release. Meanwhile, building permit fees for commercial construction will be reduced by 20 percent.

While immediate action was taken by city officials, more work needs to be done. 

As local businesses recover from the flood both financially and emotionally, the city is working with local and state agencies to address some of the infrastructure problems that could be adding to the city’s flooding woes. 

City Administrator Michelle Fischer said fixing the city’s drainage system downtown would be costly, but that the multi-jurisdictional project would be timely. 

“The intersection of Hwy. 290 and RR 12 has been a big part of this discussion because we know it floods easily there,” Fischer said. “We’ve been having those conversations before and after the flood.”

Deputy City Administrator Ginger Faught said the city received a planning grant that the city can utilize in 2020 for infrastructure improvements on the intersection. 

But the project that will include the city, county and Texas Department of Transportation, also includes additional issues. 

The intersection is one of the most densely populated areas in Dripping Springs, so any improvements on the road could affect the businesses in downtown and the surrounding area. 

“It’s just a planning grant only for planning purposes, not construction,” Faught said. “This will figure out how we can improve that intersection.” 

However, Fischer said it is difficult for any municipality to plan for more than seven inches of rain in such a small window of time. 

Faught said certain areas of downtown flooded because of topography. Some businesses received five inches of rain and severe damage, while others did not. 

“We have to remember that this was an extraordinary storm in a very short time,” Faught said. “Under perfect conditions, with this amount of rain, you still would have seen flooding.” 

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