PARKERSBURG - Proposed changes in Wood County's floodplain ordinance and maps were up for review Monday during a public hearing before Wood County commissioners.
This was the first of two readings required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Wood County Emergency Management Director Ed Hupp said the second reading will take place in about two weeks. No one attended the public hearing Monday to object to the proposed changes. The planning commission has already approved the changes.
After the second reading the changes would be finalized. Hupp said most of the changes are intended to update the county ordinance to comply with state law.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Wood County Emergency Management Director Ed Hupp conducted a public hearing on proposed changes in the county floodplain ordinance and maps. Two readings of the proposed changes are required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The second reading will be in about two weeks.
"Some definitions have been changed and the width of the stream doubled would now be used to determine setbacks," Hupp said. "Our base flood elevation was changed, so some people whose property was in the floodplain before may not be in now. A new survey was conducted along the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers to determine the new levels."
Wood County also requires an extra two feet on the flood elevation level, each county has that option.
"The extra two-foot requirement can be appealed to the county commission. With the additional two feet in place, insurance is 45 percent cheaper, with the premiums getting higher that could save a lot of money," Hupp said.
Copies of the proposed changes in the floodplain ordinance are available to the public in the building permit office, room 308 of the Wood County Courthouse, county administrator's office on the second floor of the courthouse, or from Hupp at the 911 Center, 911 Core Road, during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Hupp noted the new regulations also require backflow preventers on sewerage systems in new construction.
Hupp said the county's maps date back to 1985.
"In some other communities the changes in the base flood elevation meant a lot of people who weren't in before are in the floodplain now," Commissioner Blair Couch said. "I know that happened in Kanawha County."
Hupp said some of the elevations have changed in Wood County using new data from the latest engineering study. He said no base elevations increased, but, in some cases they decreased slightly. The base flood elevation in the Parkersburg area is about 610 feet.
The county received about 105 pages of the digitized maps. The cities of Vienna, Parkersburg and Williamstown have their own maps and handle the program within their own corporate limits. Hupp handles the rural, unincorporated areas and North Hills.
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program to help provide a way for property owners to financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP.
Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding which include requirements for building permits and building elevations for structures within the floodplain areas.
Wood County joined the program in 1977. Violations of floodplain regulations and building permit requirements can result in probation or suspension from the federal flood insurance program, affecting federally subsidized flood insurance policies and future county flood claims through FEMA.
If the county is found to be in violation of flood insurance program regulations, it can be placed on probation or removed from the program, making federally subsidized flood insurance unavailable.
Among other things, the regulations require buildings in the floodplain be elevated to a required height above flood level, and a surveyor, engineer must certify the elevation.
Recent changes also require certification of the elevation levels, as well as inspections of the structure to assure elevation and anchoring requirements have been met.