Investors creating a flood hazard

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2007

To the Editor:

Question: How do you know that the drought is severe?


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Three best indicators: Crops fail; the Governor asks us to pray for rain, and out-of-town investors create subdivisions in the flood plain!

It’s easy to laugh at outsiders, but ultimately, the joke will be on us. The New Orleans hurricane should have made clear to us that we all pay the price for those that build in low-lying, high-risk areas.

We need to remind our County Commissioners of this also, as they consider permitting just such a proposed subdivision on the point of land between the Alabama and Cahaba rivers.

Let’s remind the commissioners why they hold their meetings in a courthouse in Selma.

Prior to 1866, Dallas County’s courthouse was located at Cahawba.

Only after a flood completely inundated the town was the county seat moved to Selma.

As the decades have passed the flooding has only worsened.

Yet on Friday, they will entertain the proposal of a high dollar subdivision on land that part of the very same town abandoned due to devastating flooding. Remember those who ignore history?

In 1990, I personally saw high ground in Cahawba buried under two to three feet of floodwater.

The area in question was beneath an additional 10 feet of water, and the current was so swift that the boat I was in couldn’t approach this area for fear of being swept away!

All of my observations are backed up by the flood maps located at the courthouse, and according to the Commissioner’s own Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, this land cannot be considered for development.

At the very least, our commissioners should require that all of the lot purchasers be made aware of these risks.

This drought WILL end and eventually these people would need to be rescued by emergency services and their flood damaged roads and such, will have to be repaired.

The Dallas Count taxpayers should not be burdened with an avoidable situation.

Even more disturbing to me personally, historical documents show the existence of a graveyard in this spot.

The exact location is unknown because it is buried under decades of flood-deposited silt.

It is safe as it stands now, but development will surely expose it.

Perhaps, if the graves are desecrated, these lost souls, who themselves were victims of floods in both life and death, will haunt those who refuse to learn from the past.

Julie Rowell Lyons