Public invited to meeting to discuss Oceano flooding

The county Public Works Department will hold a community meeting on drainage and flooding on Saturday in Oceano to discuss specific problems and how to fix them.

The meeting was organized in response to a string of heavy storms that hit the county in December, resulting in flooding in several parts of Oceano as the South County community received nearly 7.5 inches of rain over a seven-day stretch.

The meeting will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Oceano Community Center, 1425 19th St. County public works staff will present a brief summary of the drainage and flooding issues, the process for solving them and current and future work efforts.

Most of the damaged homes were in neighborhoods off Pier Avenue near the Oceano County Airport and the South County Sanitation District. Local residents’ homes were flooded with water from the Oceano Lagoon (also known as Meadow Creek Lagoon), which was unable to empty into the rain-swollen Arroyo Grande Creek.

Some residents questioned whether the flood gates separating the two operated properly, and said the creek and the lagoon have not been properly maintained.

Overall, the December storms caused flooding and damage to about 70 homes in San Luis Obispo County; many of them were in the Oceano area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which assessed damage primarily in Oceano and Avila Beach, tallied 40 homes with major damage, Ron Alsop, the county’s emergency services manager, said earlier this year.

He said the county estimates $1.1 million in damage to residences and more than $900,000 to businesses. Of the $1.1 million, about $610,000, or 55 percent, was in the Oceano area.