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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 041-40438-00; City of Larkspur
PW ID# PW 768; Hawthorne-Myrtle Retaining Wall
FEMA-1646-DR-CA, City of Larkspur, PW 768
Improved Project; Landslides
Severe storms from March 29, 2006, through April 16, 2006, resulted in a slope failure that damaged approximately 142 linear feet (LF) of a concrete, pile and timber lagging retaining system consisting of three dilapidated walls on the corner of Hawthorne and Myrtle streets. FEMA obligated PW 768 for $6,730 to fund a geotechnical study, which determined that damage to 142 LF of the retaining system was directly caused by the disaster. FEMA subsequently revised PW 768 for an additional $37,561 on June 6, 2007. On October 11, 2007, the Applicant requested $505,614 to replace the lagging walls with a single 240 LF retaining wall. On February 22, 2008, FEMA determined that the proposed scope of work constituted an improved project and obligated $314,503 for eligible project costs.
In its first appeal, submitted May 9, 2008, the Applicant argued that the western portion of the wall would be weakened by repairs to the damaged 142 LF section. According to the Applicant, this justified extending the wall to 240 LF and the extension should be eligible for funding as a hazard mitigation project. FEMA determined that the extension of the wall is an improved project and any repairs to an undamaged section are ineligible for hazard mitigation funding under Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.
In its second appeal, submitted December 18, 2008, the Applicant included a photo that clearly demonstrates that it chose to construct a new wall rather than repair the three-tiered retaining wall system that was damaged by the declared disaster. The Applicant also stated that it “was willing to concede that 20% of the wall could be considered as an improvement.” The Applicant also stated that FEMA’s estimate should have been developed using square footage rather than linear feet.
1. Does the replacement of the retaining wall constitute an improved project?
Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §206.203 (d), Improved Projects