The breach occurred when the stormwater retention ponds failed after five inches of rain fell in the area

Heavy rain in mid-September overwhelmed the stormwater management system put in place by the developers of the new Whole Foods on Hydraulic Road, City Planning Commissioners have been told. City Planner Nick Rogers provided an update on the incident at the Commission’s work session on September 23, 2008.

“Well over five inches of rain in a very short period of time fell and the erosion and sediment control measures planned by the applicant were shown to not have been sufficient,” Rogers said. The runoff flowed out of the banks of three retention ponds set up at the site, and flooded the public housing site on Michie Drive. Rogers said the developers were on the scene immediately to clean up the mess.

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Crews are working to complete a new stormwater system to prevent future breaches

“We had had discussions before that with the staff and the applicant on the stability of their site because the Whole Foods parcel is about 3.7 acres, but it’s the nexus of a drainage area that is well over 14 acres,” Rogers said. To fix the problem in the future, Rogers said the developers will be making improvements to the system by connecting a storm sewer pipe that will run from the K-Mart to the Whole Foods property to prevent “overland flow” in the next heavy rain event.

Commission Dan Rosensweig asked if it were possible that the Planning Commission

erred by granting a steep slopes waiver for the site in January

, before seeing a preliminary site plan. City Planner Brian Haluska said that the waiver was granted based on how the final site will look, and that construction sites create temporary conditions that are mitigated by an erosion and sediment control plan. The two, he said, are separate processes.

“These types of failures do happen when five inches of rain get dumped on a site,” Haluska said. He said similar events happened with the River Bluff development, who also had to upgrade their erosion and sediment control program. “How the final site is and whether or not they’ve graded on 25% slopes or not, it doesn’t really affect the E & S plan.”

Rogers said the Meadowbrook Creek LLC has not yet reached an agreement with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority regarding an easement to plant trees on the public housing site. That will be required before final site plan approval can be granted by staff.

Sean Tubbs


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