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St. Clair Shores approves Hazard Mitigation Plan

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 24, 2020

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Explaining that the plan is a way for the city and Macomb County to prepare for disasters, Fire Chief James Piper was before St. Clair Shores City Council July 20 to ask it to adopt the 2020-2025 Macomb County Hazard Mitigation Plan as its own official plan.

The five-year hazard mitigation plan is a requirement for communities to have through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said Piper, who is also St. Clair Shores’ emergency manager. He explained to City Council that the county uses the plan to prioritize events that could happen, from a “nuclear attack down to snow storm and everything in between.”

“They rank how likely it is to happen, but how bad it would be if it happened,” he added.

Weather and flooding are the two most common risks in the community, he said.

Now that the plan has been formulated and reviewed by FEMA, each city and township in Macomb County must pass a resolution adopting the county plan as their own.

“It’s a strong document. It takes into account all the things that could happen,” he said. “There are other FEMA grants and infrastructure grants that are available, but in order to be considered for them, they must be in the plan.”

Piper said the city is not obligated to complete any project simply because it is in the plan, but cannot be eligible for federal funding if a project is not in the plan.

St. Clair Shores has several projects in the plan: a generator for the 10 Mile reservoir storage tank to help maintain water pressure and prevent spikes in pressure when the area loses power, and upgrading a temporary pump at the Benjamin storm sewer to permanent.

Several other projects mentioned in the plan are complete or nearly complete: the 10 Mile sanitary relief sewer and the upgrade of the L’Anse storm sewer pump station from temporary to permanent. Storm drain cleaning and fall maintenance are projects the city already does regularly, pointed out Councilman John Caron.

“This is basically like submitting a master plan to the state,” he explained.

Piper agreed, calling it a “disaster master plan.”

Councilwoman Candice Rusie wondered if, given that the plan encompasses five years and runs until 2025, the city could add to it if it determined a need that it wanted to fix with federal dollars.

“If we identify in a couple of years, some other project or need that we didn’t anticipate, is there a way to amend this to include that?” she asked. “We never know what we’re facing and we never know what dollars are available.”

Piper said he hoped the city would be able to add to the plan.

“Every five years it has to be updated,” he said.

City Council approved the adoption of the county plan as St. Clair Shores’ official Hazard Mitigation Plan plan 6-0.

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