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Staunton building owners rebuild and rethink flood mitigation efforts

Blue Mountain Coffees filled up with about six feet of water on August 8 due to flooding.
Blue Mountain Coffees filled up with about six feet of water on August 8 due to flooding.(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 5:10 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — When the first flood hit on August 8, Blue Mountain Coffees filled up with about six feet of water. One of the building managers, Daniel Shaffer, said now they’re working to rebuild in a more resilient way.

"Make the space usable and safe for any future tenants. As I said, it's going to flood again," Shaffer said. "We need to do everything we can to ensure that anyone in there doesn't have a complete catastrophe."

Shaffer said mitigation efforts the city has used in the past have been effective but are more suited for smaller flooding events.

Back in 2018, the city put down these brick pavers to help prevent flooding in the Wharf area, which has helped with smaller rain events, but Shaffer says he’s hoping to see more mitigation efforts.

“I believe some business owners are looking to install their own measures inside the building so they can do whatever they want that is more easily deployable and more effective,” Shaffer said. “we all need to kind of think in perhaps a more collective way than we have in the past, and I think that’s going to become more and more important as time goes on.”

He's hoping the city makes some changes of its own.

“To start seriously considering increasing the design storm for all of their stormwater infrastructure in new development and seeing how to improve what is currently there to handle bigger more intense storms in what we already have,” Shaffer said.

The City of Staunton announced this week they would be conducting a preliminary assessment of its current and planned stormwater management facilities. The assessment will help to prioritize improvements to stormwater management systems and include long-term strategies.

The city noted the total for upcoming projects in a five year period is $4.2 million, but revenues amount to only $780,000 annually.

“I can’t speak for other people in the city, but our stormwater bill is $6 every two months... I’d be willing to pay a good amount more,” Shaffer said.

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