Royal Oak develops hazard mitigation plan for city

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 6, 2018

 Daiko Abe, of Integrated Solutions Consulting, leads a public meeting seeking input on Royal Oak’s final draft of its hazard mitigation plan at the Royal Oak Police Department Feb. 27.

Daiko Abe, of Integrated Solutions Consulting, leads a public meeting seeking input on Royal Oak’s final draft of its hazard mitigation plan at the Royal Oak Police Department Feb. 27.

Photo by Donna Agusti

ROYAL OAK — Every five years, the city of Royal Oak files a hazard mitigation plan with the the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in case disaster strikes.

The city is currently completing its final draft for the next five years. It can be viewed online at www.romi.gov/1260/Hazard-Mitigation.

City Engineer Matthew Callahan identified urban flooding as one of the most serious threats to the city, followed by other weather-related events, such as ice storms and high winds.

“The plan allows us, as a city, to be properly prepared for any type of disaster; specifically, the financial aspects of that disaster,” Callahan said. “It allows us to look at what issues are important to us as a city … and this gives us the ability to apply for grants and try to mitigate certain issues we can identify and try to fix before it becomes a problem.”

In a worst-case scenario, he said, the plan would allow the city to not only fix what might be broken or wiped out, but also to repair it in such a way that the city won’t have to worry about it again.

“Urban flooding is one of our biggest (problems), as illustrated in 2014,” he said. “High winds are also a problem due just to the very unique nature of our city, the age of our city. We have so many big, beautiful trees.”

A former Royal Oak resident, Callahan said he witnessed the potential danger of high winds when a big tree on his property came down on the Fourth of July. Fortunately, he said, it didn’t hit anything.

“(With this plan), we’re staying ahead of the game,” he said. “It gives us the ability to prepare for any type of thing that might face the city.”

Daiko Abe, of Integrated Solutions Consulting, worked with the city to develop the updated hazard mitigation plan. He outlined the plan to a small group of residents, steering board members and city officials at the Royal Oak Police Department Feb. 27.

“Based on feedback, we have four new additional mitigation (projects) to increase the total number in the plan to 32,” Abe said. “The plan has to be resubmitted to FEMA once every five years, but in order to maintain the plan, we meet annually to talk about the plan.”

He said the hazard mitigation plan has been utilized by the city in the past to obtain grant money for the reconstruction of primarily flooding damage.

Pending approval by the Royal Oak City Commission, Abe said at press time that officials would submit the plan to the state within the next two weeks.

For comments and/or questions about the plan, email patricks@romi.gov or call (248) 246-3520.