Over the last several years, Upper Dublin Township has been investing substantial resources in addressing the issues of growth, flooding, sustainability, and tax base maintenance in the Fort Washington Office Park (FWOP). Temple University’s 2008 study and various engineering studies have all contributed to that investment. Currently the Township is engaging URS Corp. to update its Comprehensive Plan and conduct a separate engineering analysis evaluating roadway improvements and the construction of two new dams to mitigate flooding in the FWOP. In its desire to build upon these efforts and identify specific solutions for FWOP properties, the Township engaged a team led by Urban Partners to create a sustainable revitalization plan for the FWOP.
The Sustainable Revitalization of the Fort Washington Office Park study began in the spring of 2010. The
intended to accomplish several objectives: Identify the most cost-effective ways to prohibit new development in and relocate existing development from the worst flood-prone areas of the FWOP Identify a variety of tangible property-specific tools for the Township to achieve this, particularly the transfer of development rights (TDR) Develop solutions within the context of best practices for sustainability, including improved environmental conditions, greater employment opportunities, and an increased tax base for Upper Dublin and Whitemarsh Townships
This technical memorandum serves as the first product of the study – an identification and assessment of the most flood-prone parcels in the FWOP as potential locations for TDR sending areas.
There are a variety of sources of information that have determined existing floodplain boundaries in this area, including FEMA maps, the Temple University study, and prior engineering analyses. Using a combination of these sources, URS established an existing 100-year flood boundary as part of their earlier work (indicated in blue in Map 1 on next page). The 100-year floodplain is the minimum national standard for requiring property owners to purchase flood insurance. Flooding in the FWOP, however, occurs far more frequently than every 100 years. In fact, while events may be fairly minor, some type of flooding is experienced by several businesses in the FWOP every year. URS confirmed this through a prior analysis for FWOP road improvements (identified in red in Map 1).
As the map shows, the 100-year floodplain extends throughout most of the entire length of the FWOP, particularly along Virginia Drive. Several parcels along Pennsylvania Avenue in both Upper Dublin and Whitemarsh Townships, technically outside the FWOP, also lie within the 100-year floodplain. According to the map, parcels considered the most flood-prone are concentrated in the center of the office park around the intersection of Virginia and Delaware Drives as well as at the southern end at Pennsylvania Avenue. There are also a few more such parcels farther north on Virginia Drive.
Technical Memorandum #1UDT: Characteristics of Flood-Prone Parcels