Ann Arbor Council Adopts Hazard Plan

The city of Ann Arbor’s updated hazard mitigation plan was approved by the city council at its Sept. 17, 2012 meeting.

The plan submitted to the council for approval included some information that had not been updated. For example, the plan describes options for a structure located at 3432 Platt Road: “Sell structure if possible, otherwise demolish and lump with other Springbrook properties Study Swift Run to determine flood levels; if no study, remove structure to be safe, convert to open space use. Remove structures; study Swift Run to assess possibility for unoccupied use on part of parcel.” However, the 3432 Platt Road house was demolished in 2008.

The plan is required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for grant funding. The city has received a grant from FEMA for the demolition of two city-owned properties located in the floodway at 721 N. Main, but during the processing time for the grant, the city’s hazard mitigation plan lapsed. So until the city has an updated hazard mitigation plan, the grant money from FEMA will not be available.

The city recently hired a new emergency management director, Rick Norman, who was introduced to the council at its Feb. 21, 2012 meeting. Updating the plan was one of Norman’s priorities.

The demolition of the buildings at 721 N. Main factors into planning for the North Main and Huron River corridors. The council has appointed a task force to study the corridor, and has directed that the group make recommendations on the use of the 721 N. Main property by Dec. 31, 2012. The city’s current hope is to make the property the subject of a Michigan Department of Natural Resources trust fund grant application, in the annual competition for such awards.

The basic ranking of potential hazards, which are all discussed in detail in the plan, is: (1) Convective Weather (Severe Winds, Lightning, Tornados, Hailstorms); (2) Infrastructure Failures; (3) Severe Winter Weather Hazards (Ice/Sleet Storms and Snow Storms); (4) Fire Hazards: Structural Fires; (5) Hazardous Materials Incidents: Fixed Sites; (6) Extreme Temperatures; (7) Hazardous Materials Incidents: Transportation; (8) Flood Hazards: Dam Failures; (9) Flood Hazards; (10) Civil Disturbances; (11) Transportation Accidents: Land and Air; (12) Public Health Emergencies; (13) Sabotage & Terrorism; (14) Petroleum and Natural Gas Pipeline Accidents; (15) Nuclear Power Plant Accidents; (16) Fire Hazards: Wildfires; (17) Oil and Gas Well Accidents; (18) Nuclear Attack; (19) Drought; (20) Earthquake, Subsidence; (21) Fire Hazards: Scrap Tire Fires; and (22) Infestation.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]