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River Walk construction resumes after replat

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(Photo courtesy: Bryan Webb)
(Photo courtesy: Bryan Webb)

More amenities should be going vertical soon at The River Walk.

The River Walk Development Agreement (DA) replat will align the town’s ordinance with the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) requirements, needed to build within a floodplain, was unanimously approved at Monday night’s Town Council meeting.

Assistant Town Manager Tommy Dalton outlined the FEMA stages The River Walk has been required to meet, plus the timeline to date.

The CLOMAR [Conditional Letter of Map Revision]—the design of what is proposed to be done– was completed in 2008.

After that, the floodplain and drainage improvements are completed according to the basic infrastructure plan. In other words, all the utilities and related underground construction that directly “touch” the waterway and associated floodplain has been finished and vertical construction above ground can commence.

Then, a LOMAR [Letter of Map Revision]—showing the completed infrastructure work—is submitted for final FEMA approval. That was submitted in October and is now under review.

The town’s zoning ordinance specifically designated for The River Walk and the DA, however, didn’t differentiate between infrastructure construction and vertical building. The need to clarify the wording and liability indemnity responsibility was identified during the Oct. 20 Town Council and P&Z Commission work session.

“When a CLOMR was done, there were conditions that were met before I put in the infrastructure,” said River Walk Developer Mehrdad Moayedi, president of Centurion American during the workshop. “For us [The River Walk], to be able to apply for a LOMR, I had to have that infrastructure up to that elevation [of development] that the CLOMR agreed to do. Our request is to go vertical.”

A DA replat will facilitate the vertical construction of those amenities which have been stalled by town ordinance conflicts including: restaurant row; the amphitheater; the permanent farmer’s market; the wedding chapel; and, the reception hall.

“We need to differentiate between vertical and infrastructure,” said Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos during the Oct. 20 meeting. “We need to define what ‘construction’ is, to implement what council envisioned.”

The Town Council agreed that a DA replat to clarify construction wording and procedures was needed. In addition,  town versus developer responsibility for addressing any FEMA comments plus the developer agreement to indemnify the town from any damages resulting from the LOMAR should be outlined.

“We need to go back and look at our regulations; is a floodway, flood fringe or a fully-developed floodplain,” said Doug Powell, executive director of Development Services during the work session.. “And, for each there’s a different requirement.”

Town Council agreed and gave the town staff to move forward creating an official DA amendment, which was just approved.

A site plan for the amphitheater and the farmers market could be scheduled either as early as the Dec. 12 Planning and Zoning Commission, or early 2017. Construction for both amenities could begin in late January or early February. Construction is already set to begin on the restaurants, the chapel and the reception hall.

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