No Cost General Disaster Recovery Help for Citizens and Businesses
A Disaster Recovery Center has been established at the UF/IFAS Agricultural Center, 3695 Lake Drive in Cocoa. The Center houses representatives from FEMA, the US Army Corps of Engineers, 2-1-1 Brevard, CareerSource Brevard and United Way. The Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
FEMA representatives will provide information about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses. They can also help with applications for federal disaster assistance.
The US Army Corps of Engineers’ Operation Blue Roof is a program for homeowners who have damage to their roofs. The program sends licensed contractors out to homes to cover the damage with fiber-reinforced plastic sheeting (tarp) until homeowners can arrange to make permanent repairs.
2-1-1 Brevard provides links to community resources and emotional support through Project HOPE (Helping Our People in Emergencies), the State of Florida program for delivery of crisis counseling services.
CareerSource Brevard provides information on how to apply for disaster unemployment benefits, services available at career centers, disaster recovery jobs, and employment assistance.
United Way assists with registration for Crisis Cleanup to request volunteer assistance with debris cleanup and tarping, and will also pre-screen qualified, vulnerable residents for long-term recovery assistance.
There is no charge for any of these services.
Hurricane Irma Vegetative Debris on Public Streets
West Melbourne invoked its Interlocal Agreement with Brevard County for removal of the storm vegetation placed out in piles along the City and County public streets in West Melbourne. County contractor Crowder Gulf is completing their first pass through our community on vegetative debris clean up along our public streets. Today, they were working in the Manchester Lakes neighborhood.
Homeowners with remaining small enough vegetative debris piles that they can be cut up and placed into their own containers will enable Waste Management to pick up this containerized vegetative material up on each neighborhood’s normal yard waste day. Homeowners where vegetative debris piles have already been picked up by Crowder Gulf are encouraged to rake up the remaining leaves and pine needles in the streets and gutters in front of their homes so that this remainder does not end up in the local drainage systems during the next rainstorm.
Vegetative Debris Piles on Private Streets
In addition to invoking the City’s Interlocal Agreement with Brevard County, the City additionally contracted with DCI for removal of piles of storm vegetation from the private streets in the City’s gated communities. With this removal completed, Waste Management has now resumed normal yard trash pile pickup within West Melbourne’s gated communities.
Non Vegetative Hurricane Irma Debris
County contractor Crowder Gulf is also charged with picking up non-vegetative debris (such as fencing, awnings, pieces of screen porches and carports, etc.). It may be several weeks yet before non-vegetative hurricane debris is all picked up.
Building Permit Waivers for Damages from Irma
To encourage homeowners to apply for building permits where needed and to use only licensed contractors, all fees for building permits and inspections have been waived for all repairs to Irma-caused damage. The Building Department has also been entirely waiving requirements for pulling building permits for fencing replacement and for re-roofing up to 100 square feet.
The Building Department estimates that eighty-three homes in West Melbourne experienced flooding during Hurricane Irma. Estimates are that twelve homes in West Melbourne experienced major roof damage, with seventy-one more having minor soffit, fascia, and/or awning damage. From tree limb falls and tree falls, West Melbourne had eleven homes with minor damage, and one with major damage. One commercial storefront had its glass broken out, and thirty-eight residences had major damage to carports or screen rooms. By comparison, the Brevard County countywide estimates are that there are seven thousand homes that sustained damage, with four hundred homes experiencing major damage, and forty-five homes categorized as destroyed. There were six tornado touchdowns in Brevard County during Irma as confirmed by the National Weather Service. Fortunately, none of those were in West Melbourne.
Flood Preparation and Response
For many days prior to Irma’s arrival, Public Works crews made sure all drainages throughout the City were cleared of debris. The department has continued to respond to calls of flooding or near flooding since Monday September 11, as retention ponds remain quite full and any rain, including the significant rain we had on the afternoon and into the night on Monday September 18, and the even more significant rains on Sunday October 1, immediately spill over from those private retention basins and enters into the various public storm drainage systems.
In anticipation of Irma and the rains on Sunday October 1, the Doherty pond was pumped down to below the bottom of the pipes draining the Cannova Park neighborhood.
Among other areas all across Florida, Brevard County and West Melbourne that experienced flooding, several homes in Wood Haven Manor, and numerous vehicles parked in the Reserves of Melbourne apartments and in the Buena Vida Estates parking lots were flooded during Irma. The City’s contract project engineers, ISS, continue to work on engineering plans for the newly budgeted Wood Haven Manor drainage improvements, and are actively working possible short-term and longer-term solutions to other neighborhood flooding problems.
The City of West Melbourne is grateful for the work that the County and Melbourne-Tillman District performed, with partial City financial assistance, in 2012. This work improved the C-70 and C-69 canal system. Later, Brevard County improved the culvert under Palm Bay Road at Minton, and the C-69 system in West Melbourne is significantly better off than in 2011. The City also wishes to point out the good advance planning by the Westbrooke Homeowners Association (with the City’s purchasing assistance) for pre-Irma pumping from the HOA ponds to the Melbourne-Tillman system. The City also thanks Melbourne-Tillman for their very effective pre-pumping of C-70 downstream to C-69, including pre-pumping for the Sunday October 1 rainstorm. Without the constructed improvements and the pre-pumping operations, Westbrooke would have certainly fared far worse and suffered much the same damage the neighborhood experienced from Tropical Storm Fay.