10-Foot Yonkers Flood Wall Concerns Bronxville Mayor

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Ladovik Tinaj, assistant superintendent of the Yonkers complex, stands next to the flood barrier residents want to increase to 9.4-feet. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – A proposal to build a 10-foot flood wall around an east Yonkers cooperative has Bronxville officials worried that it will cause flooding in the village.  

At the December meeting of the Yonkers Zoning Board of Appeals a representative from the Brooklands cooperative complex at 1000 Palmer Road proposed construction of a 9.4-foot flood wall system and flood gates for flood control.

Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin said the proposed wall is a concern to Bronxville residents and institutions.

"Because many Bronxville residents have also experienced bad flooding during major storms, we are sympathetic to their hardships," said Marvin. "However, we are concerned that the building of the high wall will deflect flood water from their property into Bronxville property. We are going to have to examine the situation and if necessary voice our concerns with the project."

Residents in the complex said they’re willing to pay anywhere from $750,000 to $2 million to build up the roughly 4-foot state-owned flood barricade along the Sprain Brook Parkway.

The current wall didn't stop the 135-unit complex from flooding during major storms in 2007 and 2011. In 2007, Brooklands suffered $4.6 million in damages, and the owners of 26 ground level co-ops were forced to leave their homes. In 2011, Hurricane Irene flooded the property and caused $3.3 million in damages.

Because the wall’s proposed height exceeds the maximum permitted height of retaining walls and fences in a yard bordering a street, it needs to be granted a variance before construction can begin.

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Comments (6)

JDMK:

Bronxville has two projects underway concerning flooding issues in Bronxville. Lawrence Hospital is underway with a major construction project. Part of this project to divert water into the Bronx River. The Bronxville High School has another major project planned. Part of this project is to divert water to the Bronx River with underground drains (The High School is nowhere near the Bronx River). The diversion of water from both of these projects into the Bronx River will absolutely increase the flow of water into the river. Backing up of the water into the Bronx River and the Sprain Brook is a very real possibility, especially during torrential downpours. Brooklands was flooded twice before. With additional water flowing into the river Brooklands will be flooded again, guaranteed! I don't know who is watching over these projects but the potential disaster awaiting Mt. Vernon, Yonkers and Brooklands will actually be a MAJOR disaster, thanks to Bronxville. Mayor Marvin stated, "conerns" over Brooklands building a flood wall to prevent flooding in Brooklands can affect Bronxville. After what Bronxville is doing, is she for real about her "concerns"? Who are her advisers? Does she think adding massive amounts of water into the Bronx River from two areas that never added water to the river before won't create more of a major flooding problem? The flood wall being planned by Brooklands is even more important NOW due to the highly questionable "planning" by Bronxville to divert water to an already problematic Bronx River. Brooklands will be paying the cost for their flood wall. Bronxville is receiving state funding in the amount of 4.3m for their High School water diversion project. What's wrong here? The state is paying for a project to flood another area and Brooklands is paying for their own project to protect their residents and property from not being flooded, again. Don't know where the politicians, state and county engineers are coming from with this one. "Concerns" are legitimate for the entire surrounding areas which are certainly being created by Bronxville. This DEFINITELY should be followed up by our politicians and experienced engineers to prevent this disaster in the making. This has to be done ASAP for everyones' safety.

jimfay:

The Village of Bronxville just approved a 3 story (with pilings to go to 6 stories), 39,000 square foot addition to Lawrence Hospital Center and Mayor Marvin is concerned about a wall at Brooklands? Is she kidding?

Go sell crazy somewhere else because we are definitely all stocked up here in Bronxville. Heck, the Bronxville Planning Board didn't even require an EIS for this enormous project and showed little regard for anyone living in the vicinity of LHC. Amazing stuff!

JDMK:

Though I am not a resident of Brooklands I am a resident of Yonkers. I witnessed both storms that flooded the entire Brooklands complex, twice. I assisted in the evacuation of some residents in their last flood. This was done with life rafts. Life rafts! That's how severe the flooding was. This complex is not only beautiful but well represented by the persons residing there. A flood wall is the only way for this situation to be avoided, again. A lot of the opposition raised to stall and try to prevent this wall from being built is totally without merit. None! Brooklands has done everything possible to assure this project will be done correctly and at their expense, a large expense. Now the mayor of Bronxville is concerned? Where were these concerns when Brooklands was flooded twice before? Not a word. This project has been in the development stage for years and nothing was said about it by the mayor then. Now after all the planning, legal issues, funding, political meetings, zoning meetings, etc. have been done the mayor of Bronxville raises concerns. Where was she before? This project was well publicized. This is not a political issue this is a life threatening issue for the residents of Brooklands. With the last two floods residents of Brooklands were very fortunate that no lives were lost with the many seniors who reside there and live alone. What happened in Bronxville with these same storms? Flooding occurred throughout the area and it wasn't all caused by the the rivers. Bronxville's High School was flooded, twice. No rivers in the area of the school. What planning was put in place to prevent flooding at the school, again? Haven't heard a word. What did Bronxville do to correct any of their potential flood problems throughout the entire village? Can anyone answer that one? I haven't heard a word and now "concerns" are being raised about building a flood wall in Yonkers. A total political and unnecessary ploy by the mayor. Brooklands has done absolutely everything in a responsible way to protect their property and residents. This wall needs to be constructed and it has to be done, ASAP, to prevent any more flooding and a potential tragedy.

savebrooklands:

There are errors in your report that need to be corrected, the most important of which is there neither is, nor will there be, a "10-foot wall around" Brooklands.

Sounds horrible because that's a BIG wall -- but it's not true.

The wall for which we seek a routine variance from the Yonkers fence ordinance is a mere 4 feet higher than the concrete wall that now exists, which is 83.7 feet above sea level...

...and it won't go AROUND Brooklands but will run for about 500 feet inside the existing north-south wall, turning 90 degrees at both ends to tie in with higher ground. The existing wall will stay where it is, and the new one will be entirely on our property. The brook is not involved.

Engineers measure flood-wall heights in feet ABOVE SEA LEVEL because their bottoms and tops have to be level and parallel with each other along their entire length.

And because its bottom has to be buried to keep it from falling over, most of a flood wall's height hast to be below ground -- as with your photo. The top of our new wall will be roughly eye level with Mr. Tinaj.

As for the notion that keeping flood waters out of Brooklands will cause them to "deflect" to Bronxville -- that was the purpose of the ZBA hearing last night...to explain that flood waters once they enter don't flow through Brooklands -- therefore they can't be "deflected" somewhere else.

Leonard Jackson was there at the ZBA's request to present evidence -- in which NYDOT and Yonkers engineers concur -- that because of this fact, when the next flood comes, the 100-year flood plain in which Bronxville, Brooklands, and Longvale are situated will already be under water before the the new flood wall gets wet.

Meaning, as Leonard Jackson, P.E., stated for the record, that while the Brookands wall WIL HAVE NO EFFECT ON PROPERTY UPSTREAM, while on the other hand...

...CONSTRICTION OF THE BRONX RIVER by a narrow bridge culvert under the MetroNorth railroad, according to David Clouser, P.E.m engineer for the opposition, more than likely has a significant impact on water backing up into Bronxville, Brooklands and Longvale.

Meaning that Mayor Marvin and other village officials have sufficient reason to be concerned...but not for the reasons suggested in your article. The point: Tearing down and rebuilding a busy MetroNorth commuter railroad bridge is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar proposition that I'm not sure the village or anyone else is ready to undertake.

Which gets to another point made at the meeting: while THAT (bridge/culvert) project can go ahead if needed and if the funding can be found, there's no valid reason that Brookland's simple little (not 10 feet tall!) flood wall can not and should not be built...to save lives and property.

And since we've designed and will be funding it ourselves, there is no valid reason to wait one more minute once we get the variance we need.

So given the mayor's and other village officials' concern, as you've put it, I have asked Mr. Jackson, who has worked for and with village, city, county, state and federal (FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers) on flood-related projects these past 35 years, to send them a copy of all pertinent Brookands flood wall plans, specifications, studies and data that our shareholders have paid so dearly for during the two full-blown catastrophes and three near-misses we've experienced since April 15, 2007.

Also for the record, we have 24 garden apartments not 26, we are a 138-unit complex not 135, and insurance shortfalls (money we've had to pay that insurance didn't) so far have totaled $3 million.

Thanks for listening.
Kerry Smith, president (Brooklands)
Kimball Brooklands Corporation

savebrooklands:

There are errors in your report that need to be corrected, the most important of which is there neither is, nor will there be, a "10-foot wall around" Brooklands.

Sounds horrible because that's a BIG wall -- but it's not true.

The wall for which we seek a routine variance from the Yonkers fence ordinance is a mere 4 feet higher than the concrete wall that now exists, which is 83.7 feet above sea level...

...and it won't go AROUND Brooklands but will run for about 500 feet inside the existing north-south wall, turning 90 degrees at both ends to tie in with higher ground. The existing wall will stay where it is, and the new one will be entirely on our property. The brook is not involved.

Engineers measure flood-wall heights in feet ABOVE SEA LEVEL because their bottoms and tops have to be level and parallel with each other along their entire length.

And because its bottom has to be buried to keep it from falling over, most of a flood wall's height hast to be below ground -- as with your photo. The top of our new wall will be roughly eye level with Mr. Tinaj.

As for the notion that keeping flood waters out of Brooklands will cause them to "deflect" to Bronxville -- that was the purpose of the ZBA hearing last night...to explain that flood waters once they enter don't flow through Brooklands -- therefore they can't be "deflected" somewhere else.

Leonard Jackson was there at the ZBA's request to present evidence -- in which NYDOT and Yonkers engineers concur -- that because of this fact, when the next flood comes, the 100-year flood plain in which Bronxville, Brooklands, and Longvale are situated will already be under water before the the new flood wall gets wet.

Meaning, as Leonard Jackson, P.E., stated for the record, that while the Brookands wall WIL HAVE NO EFFECT ON PROPERTY UPSTREAM, while on the other hand...

...CONSTRICTION OF THE BRONX RIVER by a narrow bridge culvert under the MetroNorth railroad, according to David Clouser, P.E.m engineer for the opposition, more than likely has a significant impact on water backing up into Bronxville, Brooklands and Longvale.

Meaning that Mayor Marvin and other village officials have sufficient reason to be concerned...but not for the reasons suggested in your article. The point: Tearing down and rebuilding a busy MetroNorth commuter railroad bridge is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar proposition that I'm not sure the village or anyone else is ready to undertake.

Which gets to another point made at the meeting: while THAT (bridge/culvert) project can go ahead if needed and if the funding can be found, there's no valid reason that Brookland's simple little (not 10 feet tall!) flood wall can not and should not be built...to save lives and property.

And since we've designed and will be funding it ourselves, there is no valid reason to wait one more minute once we get the variance we need.

So given the mayor's and other village officials' concern, as you've put it, I have asked Mr. Jackson, who has worked for and with village, city, county, state and federal (FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers) on flood-related projects these past 35 years, to send them a copy of all pertinent Brookands flood wall plans, specifications, studies and data that our shareholders have paid so dearly for during the two full-blown catastrophes and three near-misses we've experienced since April 15, 2007.

Also for the record, we have 24 garden apartments not 26, we are a 138-unit complex not 135, and insurance shortfalls (money we've had to pay that insurance didn't) so far have totaled $3 million.

Thanks for listening.
Kerry Smith, president (Brooklands)
Kimball Brooklands Corporation

rickster:

Mary Marvin's comment looks like a summer snowball.

R.

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