Letter: Flood-control report clarified
Published 8:45 am, Saturday, July 25, 2015
On July 1, I made the presentation to the Board of Selectmen that the Citizen reported on and I believe some things need to be corrected in your reporting of the event if you are interested in accuracy.
Sections of your article that concern me are:
A) “One of the proposals that garnered the most discussion — building a berm along Fairfield Beach Road —was estimated to cost from $50 million to $100 million, and would require taking private property by eminent domain because the town doesn’t own enough land for a berm, according to First Selectman Michael Tetreau.”
Mr. Tetreau was not the one who introduced the topic of eminent domain; Selectman Marmion did. You do rightly say, later in the article, “Tetreau also stressed the town is ‘a long way from eminent domain.’ ” The FECB never mentions the idea of eminent domain in any of our reports and plans.
B) “The magnitude of money is bigger than anything this town has ever funded before,” Tetreau said.
Albert F. Grauer (Rick), chairman of the town’s Flood and Erosion Control Board, which prepared the report, said, “If you think building schools is expensive, to do a ‘certified flood wall’ would make building new schools look like nothing.”
The implication that a “certified flood wall” is included in our plan is not true and could cause undeserved alarm since such a structure would indeed be extremely expensive and disruptive to our town’s character. I offered this off-the-cuff remark to support Mr. Tetreau’s comment about the potential cost of flood protection. I mentioned the “certified flood protection” as one end of the cost spectrum — the other being doing nothing. The FECB is seeking middle ground looking for a flood protection level that meets the desires of the residents along the beach and in the flood plain. An important aspect of our plan is to seek out grant funds wherever possible to reduce the burden on our taxpayers.
C) “Grauer said a storm water pumping station near the Sandcastle playground at Jennings Beach that was estimated to cost $7 million ‘remains a priority,’ but he does not see it going forward unless the town obtained a grant for it. ‘It’s big bucks,’ he said.”
The $7 million number was a real-time response to a question by Selectman Kiley. At the end of our presentation, we corrected it to the proper $5 million value contained in our report. It is important to recognize that many of the values attached to the various mitigation measures in our report are truly initial estimates intended to give a general sense of the magnitude of flood protection.
In closing, I would like to thank Mr. Brophy for covering our presentation and including my comment that, “You want to find compromises that are going to make everyone happy.” We have never taken the approach of alienating residents. We have presented conceptual ideas to prevent or mitigate flooding and make an effort to understand the concerns of the residents. I will be more than happy to meet with any member of your paper in the future to comment on any story you wish to publish regarding our comprehensive plan to mitigate coastal flooding in Fairfield.
We also welcome comments from the public who wish to email the board at email@example.com
Copies of our work can be found on our web site, www.fairfieldct.org/fecb
Fairfield Flood and Erosion Control Board