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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 041-40438-00; City of Larkspur
PW ID# Project Worksheet 3767; Mudslide
March 20, 2008
Governors Authorized Representative
Governors Office of Emergency Services
Response and Recovery Division
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, CA 95655
Re: Second AppealCity of Larkspur; PA ID 041-40438-00, Mudslide
FEMA-1628-DR-CA, Project Worksheet (PW) 3767
Dear Ms. Koch:
This is in response to your letter dated November 7, 2007, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Larkspur (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security s Federal Emergency Management Agencys (FEMA) denial of costs associated with emergency protective work on a slope along Magnolia Avenue.
The heavy rains from December 17, 2005, through January 3, 2006, saturated the soils and resulted in mud and debris slides from a steep cut slope in the 700 block of Magnolia Avenue. The slope failure originated 30 feet uphill from Magnolia Avenue and measured 2 to 3 feet deep, 10 feet wide at the head and 20 feet wide at the Magnolia Avenue curb. FEMA prepared PW 3767 for $2,050 to remove 25 cubic yards (CY) of loose soil and to cover the slope with 50 square yards of geotextile fabric anchored with 50 CY of rip rap for slope stabilization. However, FEMA did not obligate any funds for the project as it determined that no immediate threat existed.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal in a letter dated November 2, 2006, transmitted by the California Governors Office of Emergency Services (OES) to FEMA in a letter dated
January 4, 2007. The Applicant argued that an immediate threat existed to public traffic on Magnolia Avenue as a result of the slope failure. The Applicant requested $122,226 for a concrete V-ditch at the top of the slope plus piping and a drainage inlet at street level to facilitate de-watering of the slope. In a letter dated June 22, 2007, the Deputy Regional Administrator determined that the slope posed an immediate threat to the public because additional soil material could be deposited on Magnolia Avenue during a heavy rainstorm. However, the Deputy Regional Administrator denied the appeal because the proposed work constituted permanent repairs to stabilize the slope and was not determined to be a cost-effective emergency protective measure.
The applicant submitted its second appeal in a letter dated September 12, 2007, transmitted to FEMA by OES in a letter dated November 7, 2007. The Applicant requested $46,700 for rip rap, geotextile fabric and drainage piping. The Applicant eliminated the V-ditch from the scope of work and added a drainage trench, piping behind the rip rap, and through-curb outlet into an existing drainage system. The Applicant argued that the use of rip rap, drainage, and filters was consistent with emergency protective measures discussed in FEMAs landslide policy, and was cost-effective.
FEMA assistance regarding natural features is limited to providing debris removal and emergency protective measures (categories A and B) if the condition of the natural feature poses an immediate threat to life, public health, or safety. We have reviewed all information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the removal of loose soil and the placement of geotextile fabric and rip rap identified in PW 3767 are sufficient to reduce the immediate threat to the safety of drivers on Magnolia Avenue from the failed slope conditions. Emergency protective measures are limited only to those that reduce the immediate threat, and do not include stabilization of the overall embankment. The Applicant proposed solution includes the same work items as PW 3767 plus the addition of a drainage channel and piping. However, the Applicant has not demonstrated that the tight pipe drainage system is essential to eliminate an immediate threat. Accordingly, FEMA is unable to provide assistance for the drainage piping as emergency work. Therefore, I am partially granting the appeal. By copy of this letter, I am requesting the Regional Administrator take appropriate action to approve the scope of work as originally presented in PW 3767 and update the cost estimate as appropriate.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. My determination constitutes the final decision on this matter as set forth in 44 CFR §206.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: Nancy Ward
FEMA Region IX