Our planning department assisted Gloucester County in completing a Disaster Mitigation Recovery Plan that has currently resulted in over $15 million in awarded funds. Gloucester particularly suffered from storm damage and flooding. In 13 years alone torrential storms like Hurricane Isabel, Tropical Storm Irene, Hurricane Sandy, and Hurricane Matthew dumped inundating levels of rain that overwhelmed the low-lying York and Severn River watersheds and caused extensive flood and storm damage. The Guinea area of Gloucester was the hardest hit area and suffered damage to dozens of businesses and hundreds of homes. The Jenkins Neck, Achilles, and Maryus communities also endured extensive damages. Under Hurricane Isabel alone, 35 residential units were deemed irreparable and subsequently demolished.
To remediate the current damage and mitigate future storm impacts, we assisted the County in the development of a Disaster Mitigation Recovery Plan. We worked with community stakeholders and the County to first identify major obstacles and opportunities, then we developed strategies and goals for flood recovery. Our resulting recovery program included plans for flood relief/mitigation, housing, recreation, and conservation.
The results since our plan was developed are incredibly promising. Since 2005, the developed plan has used both Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant funds and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to assist in the construction of new homes as well as the elevation of over 100 homes out of the floodway. For recreation and conservation, the program established a community park and created over 100 acres of dedicated permanent open space in some of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the County. The applications submitted under the various grants resulted in over $750,000 in CDBG Urgent Needs funds and over $12.5 million in HMGP Mitigation funds. As of July 2018, the County is awaiting the award of three more HMA grants that will bring the total awarded funding since 2005 to over $15 million.