Aug. 15--BEREA -- BEREA -- Berea City Council members heard the first reading last week of an ordinance mandated by the federal government and designed to prevent flooding.
The "Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance" is the result of new flood-plain designations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The updated FEMA flood-plain maps go into effect Oct. 2, and flood insurance purchased now will be much cheaper than insurance purchased after the new flood maps go into effect, according to Paul Schrader, Berea's GIS coordinator.
"The purpose of this ordinance is to promote the public health, safety and general welfare and to minimize public and private loss due to flooding," the ordinance reads.
Some of the provisions include controlling the alteration of natural flood-plains, stream channels and natural protective barriers which accommodate or channel flood waters; control filling, grading, dredging and other development which may increase erosion or flood damage; and prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert floodwaters or which may increase flood hazards to other areas.
The proposed ordinance includes several sections, including: Land to which the ordinance applies, basis for establishing the special flood hazard areas, establishment of a development permit, abrogation and greater restrictions, warning and disclaimer of liability and enforcement/violations/penalties.
The FEMA maps, which were first introduced in 2009, reflect the areas that are considered "high risk," which means there is at least an annual 1-percent chance that a flood will occur in that area.
The maps include an additional 350 homes in Madison County that previously have not been considered to be in a flood hazard area.
fema.gov/fhm/Scripts/bfe_main.asp for a detailed listing of FEMA's new base flood elevations.
For more information about purchasing flood insurance prior to Oct. 2, Berea residents can call Schrader at 985-8528.
Madison County residents can call Planning and Zoning Administrator Duane Curry at 624-4780 and Richmond residents should call Planning and Zoning Administrator Jason Hart at 623-1000.
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