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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 015-99015-00; Mohave County Public Works
PW ID# 111; Beach Drive Asphalt Repair
June 8, 2012
Mr. Louis B. Trammell
Arizona Division of Emergency Management
Department of Emergency and Military Affairs
5636 E McDowell Road, Building M5507
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
Re: Second Appeal-Mohave County Public Works, PA ID 015-990015-00, Beach Drive Asphalt Repair, FEMA-1888-DR-AZ, Project Worksheet (PW) 111
Dear Mr. Trammell:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated October 24, 2011, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of Mohave County Public Works (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $32,450 in funding for the repair of flood damage to Beach Drive in Topock, Arizona.
Flooding from a January 2010 winter storm damaged a half mile section of Beach Drive by depositing sand and silt on the road surface and in ditches, and eroding sections of the asphalt surface. An Arizona Division of Emergency Management (Grantee) Project Specialist prepared PW 111 based on a estimated cost of $24,973 to remove 1,583 tons of sand and $43,000 to replace 4,299 square yards of damaged asphalt. Local residents informed the Project Specialist that the Applicant did not repair damage to the road after a flood in 2005, and estimated that 70% of the pavement damage existed prior to the declared event. Based on these conversations, the Project Specialist determined that only 30% of the asphalt replacement costs were eligible for reimbursement and reduced the total eligible project cost to $37,873.21. FEMA awarded PW 111 on December 28, 2010.
In a March 23, 2011, first appeal, the Applicant requested reimbursement of the remainder of its estimated cost of $50,845 for replacement of the damaged road surface. The Applicant asserted that the declared event caused the erosion to Beach Drive in its entirety and that there was no pre-disaster flood damage to the pavement. In support of its claim, the submitted images of Beach Drive captured from Google’s Street View to demonstrate the condition of the road prior to the FEMA-1888-DR-AZ event. The Applicant also submitted the six preceding years of pavement inspections for the project site, which failed to note any damage or abnormal surface distress.
On April 5, 2011, the Grantee forwarded the first appeal to FEMA, but did not support the Applicant’s request. The Grantee disputed the Applicant’s claim that the surface of Beach Drive was free from surface damage before the 2010 storm and challenged that the Google Street View images must have been taken prior to the 2005 flood that had damaged Beach Drive, citing the absence of a residential structure that was under construction in 2005 from one of the photos. Furthermore, the Grantee noted that the Applicant’s County Roadway Information Report indicated that the road was last paved in July 1991 and the submitted images showed evidence of cracks in the pavement.
The Regional Administrator responded to the Grantee in a letter dated September 14, 2011. The enclosed analysis stressed that the Applicant’s records and the pavement cracks in the submitted images indicated deferred maintenance. The Regional Administrator agreed with the Grantee that the Street View images did not show the true pre-disaster condition of the road surface as the missing structure would indicate that the images were taken prior to the road incurring damage from flooding in 2005. This position was further reinforced by the Grantee’s discussions with residents, which revealed that 70% of the surface damage resulted from the 2005 flood. The Regional Administrator concluded that pursuant to the Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §206.223(a)(1), General work eligibility, requirement that work be a result of the declared event, only 30% of the pavement replacement costs were eligible.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal on October 3, 2011. The Applicant reiterated its position from the first appeal that the damage resulted exclusively from the 2010 flood event. The Applicant further maintains that the work to replace the eroded pavement satisfies all three provisions of 44 CFR §206.223(a). The Applicant disputes the claim that 70% of the damage predates the declared disaster by 5 years and that the images were taken prior to 2005 by pointing out that the Google website states that Street View debuted in 2007. With respect to the cracks observed in the Street View images, the Applicant concedes that there were surface cracks in the pavement, but insists that they are typical for 19 year old pavement that has a design life of over 20 years and are not indicative of flood damage. The Grantee forwarded the second appeal to FEMA on October 24, 2011. The Grantee again cited both the statement by the residents and the absence of the structure at parcel number 210-27-042A as evidence that the Street View images did not accurately represent the pre-disaster condition of Beach Drive.
The Applicant has provided images from Google Street View in order to establish the pre-storm condition of Beach Drive. As the Street View did not provide a date as to when the images were taken, the Applicant was unable to definitively demonstrate that they were taken before the 2010 event and after the 2005 flood. In December 2011, Google added the month and year that images were taken to its Street View application. By entering the coordinates provided with the Applicant’s submitted images into Street View, one can now verify that the images were taken in January 2008. Furthermore, the absence of the structure at parcel 210-27-042A in the Street View image is resolved by the Mohave County Assessor’s report which lists the year of construction as 2009. The Mohave Building Division confirmed that a certificate of occupancy was issued on September 15, 2009 for the residence in question. Finally, the full length of the project site in Street View does not show any evidence of flood damage to the integrity of the road surface.
I have reviewed all of the information submitted with the second appeal and determined that the Applicant has sufficiently demonstrated that the declared event caused the damage to Beach Drive. Therefore the full estimated cost to repair the site is eligible for funding under PW 111. By copy of this letter, I am requesting the Regional Administrator to amend PW 111 to reimburse the additional $32,450 in eligible costs.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination constitutes the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
cc: Nancy Ward
FEMA Region IX