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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Flood-damaged homes may require permits before repairs

  • Homeowners whose property lies within a floodplain in unincorporated areas of Phelps County will need to obtain a permit before they begin rebuilding or repairing damages caused by recent flood waters.
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  • Homeowners whose property lies within a floodplain in unincorporated areas of Phelps County will need to obtain a permit before they begin rebuilding or repairing damages caused by recent flood waters.
    The permits are required as part of the county's participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides eligibility for flood insurance, flood disaster assistance, state and federal grants and loans and buyout funds for flood-prone property.
    Phelps County has participated in the NFIP since 1987 and must comply with the floodplain ordinance to continue to qualify for the program and related benefits.
    The local floodplain management ordinance in Phelps County requires that permits be obtained for any construction or development activity in a floodplain – including the repair or reconstruction of structures damaged by flooding.
    Phelps County contracts with Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) for technical assistance with its floodplain management program.
    Individuals needing to obtain a permit may contact Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC assistant director and environmental programs manager, at 573-265-2993 or tsnodgrass@meramecregion.org.
    In addition to all properties requiring a pre-construction permit, some homeowners may have to meet additional requirements to stay in compliance with the NFIP. This includes property with buildings that the NFIP considers "substantially damaged."
    The NFIP defines a substantially damaged building as a structure in which the total cost of repairs is 50 percent or more of its pre-flood market value.
    In some cases, these property owners may be required to elevate or flood-proof the structure to reduce the potential for future flood damage.
    Under the NFIP, the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) program may provide additional financial assistance to either elevate or remove flood-damaged structures from the floodplain.
    Owners who have NFIP coverage are eligible to receive ICC benefits if the local official determines that their structure located in the floodplain has been substantially damaged by a flood.
    Before a property owner can apply for ICC funds through their flood insurer, the county must perform an inspection of the property and provide a letter stating the property qualifies. To request an inspection, contact Chuck Cantrell at 573-265-2993 or ccantrell@meramecregion.org.
    "We know folks who have been impacted by the flood just want to get things cleaned up and rebuilt – and the sooner the better," Snodgrass said. "However, it's important to follow the NFIP process and request the county permit. If residents don't follow NFIP regulations, the county could lose eligibility for NFIP, which means residents would not be able to buy flood insurance."
    Informational letters have been sent to some 1,300 Phelps County property owners who own property in the floodplain. Only those who have damage and intend to make repairs need to complete a county permit request, Snodgrass explained.
    Since last week, the Phelps County Commission has approved three floodplain permit applications. On Aug. 22, the commission by a vote of 2-0 approved two floodplain permit applications for Billy and Carrie Shepherd and James Reagan. Commissioner Gary Hicks was absent from that meeting.
    Page 2 of 2 - On Aug. 27, the commission by a vote of 3-0 approved a floodplain permit application for Norma Harris.
    Phelps County Clerk Carol Bennett said all three permits have been for structures already elevated out of the current floodplain.

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