City has flood plan for Fort Worth homeowners

Persistent rains left parts of Fort Worth a soggy mess earlier this fall and even areas of the city thought to be safe from floods.  Now, city officials are helping homeowners better prepare for rising waters.

Fort Worth will lay out a flood plan for areas not always included in FEMA’s flood plain map.

Persistent heavy rain in the early fall caused flooding in many parts of Fort Worth. It was brought sharply into focus in East Fort Worth with a giant video board put up by homeowner Mark Singletary.

“There are several parts of Fort Worth drainage systems that are inadequate to handle large rainfall where things have developed,” Singletary said.

Fort Worth is developing a 10-year plan on how to deal with high-risk flood areas that are not in FEMA’s flood plain map. The city is laying out the plan at two meetings this week.

Singletary hopes to make one of the meetings. He’s taken down his video board after Fort Worth and a housing developer in his neighborhood agreed to flood control improvements.

“Because of some actions being taken now to keep water off the street and away from people’s property and get it to the river safely,” he said.

Fort Worth says the 10-year plan on local flood risks was already in the works before the heavy rains came.

“The recent flooding confirms we really do need a policy for now for how to communicate and share this information on local flood plains,” said Jennifer Dyke with the Fort Worth Stormwater Management department.

Residents and the city recognize regulations have to be part of the solution.

“There also needs to be discussions about how do we develop in the future to avoid problems down the road,” Singletary said.

More than a dozen residents listened to a presentation from the city about solutions.

"So people can really understand what their risk is and they can take that into consideration and make better decisions and really protect what matters their life and their property,” Dyke said.

The city studied 14 areas within the city outside the designated FEMA flood plain.

"We just don't have the surface that will take the water away from the houses,” said Brenda Helmer with the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association. “It's going to keep going. When does it stop? If not now, when? Fix the pipes in Arlington Heights. It's 90 years old."

City staff wants to put the homeowners in a local flood plain designation instead of a federal designation so they would instead have a choice of whether to buy flood insurance.

John Morris lives in the Arlington Heights area and says he wants to see results.

"We've talked to the city for a couple of years over this issue, and we just hope we get past,” he said. “We don't have the money where we just actually address the problem."

Fort Worth says if you know you’re out of a flood plain but at the risk of flooding, people can decide if they want flood insurance at a cheaper rate because they’re not in a flood plain.