Local News

Getting Flood Control Back On Track

December 9, 2021

The Town of Tusayan is working to fix a series of flood control issues that have lingered for some time.

Interim Town Engineer Jack Moody is encouraging the Town of Tusayan to expand its flood control plans. Moody told the Town Council that while modest detention basins proposed for the Town would be helpful in dealing with smaller localized flooding, they fall short when it comes to dealing with so called 100 year floods involving the Coconino Wash. Moody’s report reads in part:

“In conclusion, whereas these basins would mitigate the more frequent and smaller storm events that impact the Town from the Northeast and Southeast watersheds, they would not likely significantly mitigate the 100-year flows in Coconino Wash that are required by Coconino County and FEMA for engineering design.”

Moody notes that the term “100 Year Flood” is not the best way to describe the threat. It would be more accurate to say that each year there is a 1% chance of a major flood.

For years Tusayan has been trying to come up with a plan to deal with the threat . Mayor Clarinda Vail praised Moody’s report, “It’s the most clarity I’ve received from all the engineers that we’ve hired even since long before I was on this council.”

To see Moody’s summary click here.

Town Manager Charlie Hendrix and Moody will be working with the Tusayan Sanitary District, Coconino County, and eventually the Forest Service to come up with a more comprehensive plan.

Past Violations Resolved

That process had been stalled because of a prior dispute with Coconino County over flood control issues. That dispute goes back to 2018 when Tusayan’s prior administration moved ahead on projects on the 10X property without flood control authority. 

Mayor Vail and the new administration along with County Supervisor Patrice Horstman have been working to settle the matter. Both Vail and Horstman were elected last year.

At the December 8th meeting, the Town Council decided to move ahead with a draft settlement offer. Vail thanked the county and said this resolution has been too long in coming.

Vice Mayor Brady Harris cast the only vote against the agreement calling it an overreach. 

The agreement requires County Floodplain approval on future construction within 10X but Tusayan can assume Floodplain jurisdiction on the property IF it gets approval from FEMA.

The agreement states in part: 

If the Town assumes jurisdiction over the Floodplains within its corporate boundaries, it will not assume jurisdiction over the Floodplains within the Subject Property (10X), unless, notwithstanding A.R.S. § 48-3610, the Town obtains the consent of the District, which shall not be denied if:

a. the Town has received an approved CLOMR (Conditional Letter of Map Revision)from FEMA with regard to any proposed developments at the Subject Property; and

b. the Town, in good faith, has applied for a LOMR that accurately and fully incorporates and addresses all developments, conditions, and circumstances at the Subject Property at the time that such application is submitted, and which application must also remain in basic harmony with those developments, conditions, and circumstances described in any FEMA-approved CLOMR issued to the Town regarding the Subject Property.

Click here to read the entire agreement.