Decades old error discovered

Published 10:09 am Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Warren County supervisors voted 4-1 to pay for surveying a home on Laura Lake Road after FEMA officials discovered a 20-year-old paperwork error putting the house in a floodway.

The owner of 149 Laura Lake Road was seeking relief from FEMA to remove the home from a special floodplain hazard area when FEMA officials discovered the home was mistakenly built in a floodway in 1995, Warren County floodplain manager John Elfer told the Board of Supervisors.

“Because the home was allowed to be built in a flood way — a stream area basically — and dirt was allowed to be brought in, it narrowed the stream basically,” Elfer said.

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The home has never flooded nor caused additional flooding in the area, Elfer said.

“The results are obvious to the people who frequent this territory,” District 5 Supervisor Richard George said.

In 1992 — three years before the home was built — the county enacted floodplain management ordinances. However, only paper maps were available and it appears the home was mistakenly allowed in a floodway by a few feet, Elfer said

“Because technology has changed and we now have an overlay … it’s much easier to make these determinations. It was close back then, but you could never known on a paper map where the footprint was,” Elfer said.

The county approved paying for a no-rise certification, meaning that the county’s engineers would certify that the addition of the home has created no flooding issues.

“We are the one who permitted this action to start, and responsibility is going to come back to this doorstep,” George said.

Board president Bill Lauderdale, who voted against paying for the survey, said he was worried it could set the wrong precedent for the county.

“If we come up with areas all over the county like this, are we going to have to go in? I thought we had a similar request from a group up at Eagle Lake,” Lauderdale said. “We should be having the developer give us the correct information instead of the county paying.”

“In the floodplain, we’re the ones who enacted the rules to control it, so the homeowner has no control,” George said.

The county is not in danger of being kicked out of the National Flood Protection Insurance Program if no action is taken, but leaving the matter as is could have some later repercussions on insurance, Elfer said.

“Now FEMA has identified a violation of our floodplain management ordinance and until it is resolved, every time we have a community assisted visit, which is basically an audit from FEMA, that is going to be a red flag,” Elfer said.

In other action, the board:

4 Accepted the monthly work order report from the road department.

4 Approved temporary easements and driveway permits.

4 Approved adding Joseph Washington to the road department payroll.

4 Approved one reduction of assessment to the 2014 personal property roll.

4 Approved two reductions of assessment to the 2014 real property roll.

4 Approved one increase of assessment to the 2014 real property roll.

4 Approved a contractor’s pay application number 3 for Haining Road Slide Project.

4 Approved a monthly report of fines and fees from the District Attorney’s Office for March and April.

4 Approved payment to Felix G. and Doris H. Robinson in the amount of $2,500 to purchase right of way for the Avenue D bridge replacement project.

4 Approved reimbursement to Ninth Circuit Drug Court for the drug court coordinator’s salary in the amount of $4,899.98.

4 Approved reimbursement to Ninth Circuit Drug Court for vehicle expenses of $1,034.72

4 Issued a resolution honoring deputy chancery clerk Mattie Gaines upon her retirement after 38 years of service.

4 Approved payment in the amount of $24,899.40 for Warren County’s share of E-911 dispatcher salaries.

4 Authorized board president Bill Lauderdale to sign a cash request in the amount of $128,960.91 and authorize the issuance of a check contingent upon receipt of funds for the Mississippi Development authority.

4 Tabled approval of the order of Circuit Judge M. James Chaney to hire Le Brown to the position of staff attorney.

4 Approve reimbursement of $4,432 of social security taxes to former circuit clerk Greg Peltz.

4 Approved a resolution declaring property at 1701 Magnolia Plantation surplus and authorized advertising for public sale.

4 Approved $100 to be used for an ad by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

4 Approve $2,000 to be used by the CAP center to advertise a 30th anniversary celebration set for July 10.

4 Approved the claims docket, justice court settlements, and a tax collector’s report.

4 Accepted the minutes of the E-911 Commission, Warren County Port Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission.