PCB’s Riviera neighborhood experiences damaging flooding, residents call on county

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Like most of Bay County saw during the overnight storms, one Panama City Beach neighborhood saw significant flooding. This time even forcing some residents to evacuate early this morning due to the water flooding their houses.

Houses flooded on the inside and cars submerged, that’s what residents in the Riviera neighborhood are experiencing after the overnight storms.

“Thankfully it’s not super deep, it’s about two to three inches, but I know my neighbors on either side have had substantially more water,” Long-time Riviera neighborhood resident Kimberly Burton said.

Residents tell us the drains at the four corners of Riviera Drive and Pompano Avenue flood the area when they get too full.

“There doesn’t seem to be a plan for where the water is going to go and this is an example and this is an example of when there’s no plan,” Long-time Riviera neighborhood resident Deborah Lowry said.

Bay County officials said the reasoning is the neighborhood was developed before the current stormwater standards.

“This particular area of the county was developed in 1955 prior to the standards we have in place now,” County Chief of Infrastructure Keith Bryant said.

Bryant explains this location is considered a low point at the bottom of the basin.

“This is really just a bowl,” said Bryant.

A bowl that makes residents feel neglected when severe flooding occurs. They said this is an ongoing problem that hasn’t been solved and now they’re calling on a solution from county officials.

“We feel like they should come out, address it seriously and invest whatever needs to be invested to get the water out of this area of our neighborhood,” said Lowry. “We all pay our taxes and we don’t get anything, it seems, for our taxes.”

“I remember speaking with the county engineer at one point and she told me there was absolutely nothing they could do the way that our neighborhood was platted,” said Burton.

Bryant said the only way to address the problem is the FEMA Buyout Program. This program is for people living in locations with repetitive flooding like this.

“Where we’ll come in, we’ll purchase the property, FEMA requires we take the property down and take the house away and you can never rebuild there because it’s just not an area where you should have a structure,” said Bryant.

An initiative hoped to be a solution for everyone.

Bryant said if enough houses are bought out, the county can build a retention pond in their place. For more information on how to apply to the buyout program, you’re asked to call Bryant at the county engineering office at 850-248-8301.

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