Greenfield’s Quarter-Million-Dollar Flooding Fix Includes Razing a 4-Family House

The September 27 Republican reports that the city of Greenfield will buy and raze a 4-family house on Beacon Street to resolve persistent flooding problems there:

“The deal will allow the city to avoid the costly installation of larger culverts to keep an underground brook from flooding the property…

“The development has eliminated a large amount of land that used to absorb rainwater, but now just sends it on to the brook…

“The total bill for the project is estimated at $252,300, including purchase, demolition and [detention] pond creation…”

This story illustrates why it’s unwise to encourage development in flood-prone areas, and unwise to compromise natural drainage systems. Inviting developers to pave and build close to our in-town wetlands, as Northampton’s new wetlands ordinance does, is not smart growth, and may require costly interventions in the future.

We are specifically concerned about Kohl Construction’s proposal to place a good deal of impervious surface within 50 feet of the wetlands behind North Street (original plan, latest update). Our neighborhood is already no stranger to flooding.

See also:

Northampton’s Flood and Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan: Wetlands Buffers of 100 Feet Are an Effective Flood Mitigation Strategy and Should Be Consistently Enforced

Northampton Open Space Plan: “This loss of habitat and natural flood buffering areas is Northampton’s most serious environmental problem”

Northampton: Millions of Dollars of Property Outside the Official Floodplain Vulnerable to Localized Flooding

EPA: Wetlands and Flood Protection

The Economic Value of Wetlands: Wetlands’ Role in Flood Protection in Western Washington

Alex Ghiselin, Letter to Gazette: “Don’t let development encroach on our wetlands”
The failure of the storm water system built as a part of the Northampton High School renovation six years ago illustrates why protecting wetlands is so important. Silt has filled the retention pond so there is no capacity to slow a storm surge which now flows unimpeded into the Mill River and contributes to flooding downstream. This accumulated silt also raised the water table and spills ground water into nearby basements…