The day after San Anselmo Creek was inches away from flooding downtown, concerned community members filled the San Anselmo council chambers for a pre-scheduled community meeting on plans to turn Memorial Park into a flood detention basin.
San Rafael-based Abey Arnold Associates landscape architects presented several conceptual graphics outlining how Memorial Park can become a flood detention basin that will still consist of athletic fields and the park’s amenities. Most of the park would be lowered 10 to 15 feet.
We attached the designs above. They can also be found on the town’s website.
San Anselmo Town Manager Debbie Stutsman said the council chambers were filled for the Dec. 3 evening meeting, with people overflowing into the lobby. She estimated around 60 people attended the meeting, which lasted two hours.
Stutsman said more than 60 questions were asked at the meeting by community members. Town staff will hand out answers to each of the questions at another meeting on the project the town will hold in the future, probably in January, Stutsman said.
At the Dec. 3 meeting town officials handed out a Q&A with 30 questions (attached above) that were asked at the first stakeholders meeting held of the project on Nov. 3.
Stutsman said it was especially the San Franciso Blvd. neighbors who had a lot of questions and concerns.
The project — which is still in early conceptual stages — could take around five years to fully implement, according to town staff.
The San Anselmo Town Council approved a funding agreement for the project between the town and County Flood Control District Zone 9 at its Nov. 13 meeting and gave Town Manager Debbie Stutsman the green light to submit a grant application to the California Department of Water Resources.
Tests that have been done for flood prevention, which involved the San Rafael-based Stetson Engineers using hydrologic and hydraulic computer models to simulate the 2005 100-year flood in San Anselmo. Enlarging the San Anselmo Creek as much as possible without doing too much harm to the environment or encroaching on private properties wouldn’t do enough to prevent flooding, according to town staff.
The detention basin would be able to contain a 100-year flood, similar to the 2005 flood. The 1982 flood had 5 percent more flow than a 100-year-old, according to town staff.
The basin is one of the four detention locations that have been marked as top priority projects in the county’s 10-year work program. They are part of a $130 million effort.
Work is already underway on another flood detention basin at Phoenix Lake, Stutsman said, which will involve increasing the lake’s capacity.
The other two proposed locations for basins are Lefty Gomez Field at White Hill Middle School and Loma Alta, an open space above White Hill Middle School.
SUNDAY’S FLOODING CLOSE CALL HAPPENED ‘SO FAST’
San Anselmo officials sounded the towns flood siren Sunday morning when the creek levels quickly rose from 6 feet at 7:33 a.m. to just under 13 feet around 9 a.m. Fairfax Creek also saw a similarly huge spike and the Fairfax Town Hall almost flooded.
“It was so incredibly fast,” Stutsman said.
The San Anselmo Creek water rose so quickly it threw the town’s normal flood protocol out the window and sent officials scrambling, she said.
“I’ve been involved in so many floods here and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Stutsman said. “It was definitely a close call. We dodged a bullet . We’ll have to be very careful this whole winter.”
See photos and videos of the high creek waters here.
Were you at the meeting? What was it like? What’s your reaction to the plans?
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