St. John rejects FEMA flood maps

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 18, 2006

Builders, public officials say 15-feet is a problem


Staff Reporter

EDGARD – After vehement opposition to the FEMA advisory-based flood maps from local contractors, the St. John Parish Council decided Tuesday to not accept the recommended elevation increases throughout the parish.

If the council had accepted the advisory-based flood maps, which called for a minimum of 15 foot elevation in certain areas to be covered under the National Flood Insurance Program, they would be eligible for about $2.2 million in grants for homes that suffer from severe and repetitive loss.

The council instead adopted a resolution in their regular session Tuesday night that rejects the FEMA based advisory maps citing concerns such as inconsistencies in elevation, lack of an appeals process, and the fact that it could have a significant negative impact on the growth of St. John Parish.

Many of these concerns were voiced by local developers at a special session last month the council held with FEMA and LRA to discuss the new flood maps.

This is just one step in the process for a suitable flood advisory program and does not disqualify St. John from further recovery funding, but it’s the right choice for St. John right now, according to Chief Administrative Officer Natalie Robottom.

&#8220We would like to remain open and in communication with the LRA for future funding but at this time our recommendation is not to accept,” Robottom said.

Councilman Steve Lee, who was quite vocal about his stance on adopting the flood maps during last month’s special session, said that further conversations between the council and the LRA Director of Hazard Mitigation, Paul Rainwater, have eased his mind that the council is moving in the right direction by not accepting the proposed flood maps.

&#8220I’m very pleased this is the position we’re taking and from my dialogue with Mrs. Robottom, I’m pleased to see that Mr. Rainwater from the LRA is satisfied that this is the proper move,” Lee said.

No flood elevation changes will be required for St. John until sometime next year at which time the council will hold public meetings for discussion.