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City assesses damage from flood, hears complaints 

The Paso Robles City Council heard complaints from city residents at Tuesday night's meeting. Photos by Skye Ravy,

The Paso Robles City Council heard complaints from city residents at Tuesday night’s meeting. Photos by Skye Ravy.

City estimates 20-30 homes were damage in weekend flooding

– The unexpected flooding that occurred last weekend due to a pass through of the effects of Hurricane Dolores, left many Paso Robles residents with costly and extensive cleanups required on their properties. At Tuesday night’s Paso Robles City Council Meeting, citizens spoke out during the public comment portion of the evening, asking the city for help, and inquiring as to what the next steps would be in the city’s cleanup efforts, as well as what their plans are for potential future flooding.

The Knotts

Kris and Rachel Knotts live on Olive Street. Their home was one of the ones damaged by mud and water.

Many citizens pointed out that the recently re-done culvert in the middle of 21st street was dramatically overloaded, and failed to stop the flooding. Public Works Director Dick McKinley defended the project, saying that it malfunctioned because it was overloaded, and that the system wasn’t designed to handle the thousands of tons of debris that came rushing off of the mountains to the west of the town. “None of us could afford that kind of a drainage system that would be to able to handle that kind of event.,” he said. McKinley estimated that 20-30 homes were damaged by the flooding. “Not to make light of the damage, but it could have been much worse,” he said, noting that there were no injuries of loss of life. “A lot of the debris came from the old almond fields,’ said McKinley, “There is no vegetation holding the mountainside together.”

Citizens Kris and Rachel Knotts spoke at the lectern about the damage that their home on Olive street suffered. Kris said that he had recently spent $8,000 putting in drought tolerant landscaping. “Now that’s all in my pool,” he said, saying that he would now have to drain his pool and re-fill it, something that is both costly and uses a lot of water in this time of drought.

Olive street resident Jennifer Welch was teary eyed speaking at the lectern, saying that the she has extensive repairs that she will have to complete on her property. “There was sewage in my bathtub,” she said. “I had to replace my water heater…I don’t know if my home can afford to go through something like this again.”

Mayor Steve Martin said that he wanted to make sure that a claims process was simple to understand for citizens that wanted to make damage claims against the city. For anyone who does have property damage and believe that the city is partially to blame, they can click here for claims forms, instructions, and to learn more about the process.

A photo of 21st Street during the flooding.

A photo of 21st Street during the flooding.

Moving forward, the city will be cleaning up the mud still present in many city streets with street sweepers in the following days. As far as preventing future flooding, the process will have to be a lengthy one. The street systems in much of Paso Robles are close to 100 years old, with many streets lacking proper drainage systems. Martin and the council agreed that streets would need to be prioritized and the process of preparing for future floods put on the city’s agenda.

Jim Reed suggested that city staff send engineers out to the 21st street project to see if everything was properly installed or if the fault of the system somehow was caused by the design.

“The bottom line is that we have citizens that are suffering here,” said Martin.  “If we have an El Nino, we’re going to have to start stocking kayaks. We need to figure out what went right and what went wrong.”



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