Metro could place new rules on development to stop floods - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Metro could place new rules on development to stop floods

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

There could soon be new rules from Metro Nashville after the recent flash flooding in many neighborhoods left several families cleaning up once again.

The rain fell so hard and fast in Madison it was equal to a 1,000-year flood, according to Metro's water department. But Nashville neighborhoods in general are flooding more often these days, and the way people are building is part of the problem.

Builders are putting up bigger houses - in some cases, two or three new houses where only one used to be - and there is nowhere for the runoff water to go.

Even before the flash flood, Metro officials have been studying what to do about the city's populated areas having fewer and fewer places for rainwater to flow.

The increase of infill development is good in some ways but bad in others.

"With that increase, we are beginning to see problems. You would have one house on a lot, drainage could flow around that home. And now, with two homes on the same lot, the drainage is being constrained," said Metro Water spokeswoman Sonia Harvat.

As a solution, Metro may look at changing its regulations for single-family homes. Right now, a developer building a subdivision has to have a plan for how the water drains.

But that's not the case when they are tearing out one home and replacing it with a bigger one or more than one.

Perhaps, instead of putting in an asphalt driveway, for example, they might have to look at alternatives.

"Well, it doesn't have to be an asphalt driveway, for example. It can be a pea-gravel driveway or it can be a paved driveway, and those kinds of things can help mitigate the flow," said Metro Councilwoman Emily Evans.

Having more surfaces where the water can drain naturally away from homes should keep water out of homes, experts say.

And Metro Water Services says this is not an isolated problem. These drainage issues are popping up all over the place.

"When we look at the maps, there are some areas that have more infill development. But it appears to be all over the developed areas of Davidson County," Harvat said.

A lot of folks are also asking if Metro will do more buy-outs of flooded homes, but Metro water says that's just not likely to happen because FEMA doesn't have the money.

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