News - NC Association of Floodplain Managers - Cindy Lancaster Presentation on Flood Analysis at Revolution Mill
April, 2014 – The annual conference for the North Carolina Association of Floodplain Managers was held in Atlantic Beach from April 28 to 30. JEWELL Engineering was represented by Cindy Lancaster, who was assisted by Mike Borchers, City of Greensboro Water Resources Engineering Department, in giving a presentation on the floodplain management efforts that are a part of the site re-development at historic Revolution Mill in Greensboro. JEWELL has been assisting the owners of Revolution Mill in assessing flood risks, refining the FEMA floodplain mapping through the site, and planning for floodproofing of structures.
The Revolution Mill site was developed with parts of two buildings constructed over North Buffalo Creek, at a point where the contributing drainage area is more than 15 square miles. The watershed draining to the site has been developed over the decades since the mill was constructed, resulting in higher peak flood levels. Based on former FEMA maps, a floodwall extending several feet above the window sills would have been required to meet the floodproofing requirements. In 2013, JEWELL submitted a LOMR application to lower the base flood elevations by about three feet based on more refined hydraulic modeling of North Buffalo Creek as it traverses through the site. The LOMR was approved and becomes effective in June 2014. The revised base flood elevations allow for floodproofing that won’t compromise the aesthetics or historical integrity of the site.
The Revolution Mill project was of interest to conference attendees, many of whom are floodplain managers for local governments who are tasked with regulating development and improvements in flood-prone areas. Redevelopment of historic properties subject to flood risks presents unique challenges for floodplain managers. For example, these properties have to be re-developed within National Park Service guidelines for historic preservation in order to be eligible for tax incentives. Also, they may be exempt from some restrictions on floodplain development, depending on local ordinances. The presentation provided a real world example of property owners and local floodplain managers working together to address some of the challenges of incorporating appropriate flood risk management into the redevelopment of a historic site.