By Len Ramirez

FOSTER CITY (KPIX 5) — Foster City’s levee must be replaced. But the city is debating whether or not to factor in expected sea level rise caused by global warming.

It’s a project that would protect thousands of homes and save people from buying costly flood insurance.

A huge public works project to bring a bay area city, out of the flood zone.

There is a multi-million-dollar plan to shore up 8 miles of levee protecting Foster City.

Foster City’s levee holds back the San Francisco Bay and is still a popular recreation spot. But it falls short of federal flood control standards.

And must be replaced.

City manager Kevin Miller said, “It protects every resident of this city. It has to be done.”

Miller says not replacing the 8-mile long levee surrounding the city could lead to flooding and the financial disaster of the city being labeled a flood zone.

“It would absolutely reduce property values,” Miller said. “Every resident would be required to get flood insurance, which is problematic.”

Remaking the levee would be the biggest public works project in town since T. Jack Foster created the city by dumping 18 million cubic yards of dirt into a former marshland in the 1960’s.

At a special meeting on Monday afternoon, the city proposed selling bonds to pay the estimated $90 million price tag.

But the more controversial topic: whether to rebuild it three feet higher to be a safeguard against the projected future sea level rise due to global warming.

Bob Plivoris owns a house across the street from the levee. He says it would ruin his views and questions the need for a higher levee.

“I think they’re going a little too extreme with it,” Plivoris said. “I think it should be delayed for a few years to find out if it’s really necessary.”

From the city’s standpoint there’s no question it’s needed.

Others using the trail from nearby offices agree.

Neighbor Lars Lee-Potreck said, “We work in the energy business. For us it’s a given that global warming is real and the sea levels will rise. So if you start now and spread it over many years, I think it’s wise.”