County to host flood-risk open house

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 2004

What is one of the most important item when preparing for flooding?

No, not an umbrella, a boat or even a disaster kit. The most vital thing can often be the knowledge to help avoid disaster before it strikes, Lawrence County Floodplain administrator Joe Black said.

To that end, Black wants to encourage anyone interested to attend an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Lawrence County Multi-Purpose Senior Center in Sybene, 97 Private Drive 80, where the public can learn more about the topic.

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"If someone is concerned whether or not their property has been misidentified as being in a floodplain or flood-susceptible area, this gives them the opportunity to see how the process works," he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently completed a flood insurance study for the county that will provide basic information and outline areas subject to significant flooding hazard.

Representatives from various local, state and federal agencies will provide information about flood risk, flood insurance, floodplain development regulators and floodplain mapping.

New maps will be on display as well, reflecting changes since the last update in 1989.

It is important that people know the designation of the area in which they live because anyone with mortgages must have flood insurance if in floodplain and there are also different building codes.

Being a river-bordering state with 43 miles of frontage, this type of information is especially important, Black said.

"I heard a figure from years ago that approximately 13 percent of Lawrence County is in a floodplain area," he said. "I can't swear to it but that is a number that is tossed around."

All this will be used for responsible development and floodplain management by floodplain permit officials, developers, lenders, relators insurance agents and property owners.

In all, it may take a year before the final maps are completed. After the hearing, there will be a 90-day appeal period. A six-month window to adopt the changes will follow.

Anyone seeking more information, call Black at 533-2159.