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Eroding levee raises questions

By BY DAVID TEWES
July 11, 2010 at 2:11 a.m.
Updated July 12, 2010 at 2:12 a.m.


IF YOU GO

What: Victoria City Council meeting.

Where: 107 W. Juan Linn St.

Time: 5 p.m.

When: Tuesday.

An eroding river levee near the city limits of south Victoria will be the center of discussion for a closed session of the city council Tuesday.

City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz said he doesn't expect action or an announcement after the closed-door meeting. But he said he has worded the agenda broadly enough to allow for council to take action.

Mayor Will Armstrong said the Pecan Bend Levee is at the end of Southwest Ben Jordan Street on the Guadalupe River. But he said he doesn't know yet what the council will discuss or whether it will take a vote Tuesday.

Gwosdz declined to discuss details about the levee until he briefs the council. He said there is a dispute involving nearby property owners dealing with who is responsible for the repairs.

Gwosdz said there is also a question of whether that part of the levee is in the city.

"That's an open question, although the property owners do appear to live within the county," he said. "There are a lot of questions and I don't want to get into them until the council has a chance to discuss it Tuesday night."

The levee along the Guadalupe River breached in two places during the 1998 flood and continues to suffer from erosion that threatens its integrity.

One breach was just downstream from the downtown Victoria power plant and the other near the end of Southwest Ben Jordan Street. After the river level dropped and the area dried enough, the city of Victoria had both repaired.

Officials had believed that section of the levee near Ben Jordan protected part of nearby Victoria.

But John Johnston, the city's flood plain administrator, has said that's not the case. He said those floodwaters actually come from water backing up from the south outfall and not from the river.

He estimated about six houses outside the city are protected by that part of the levee.

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