FEMA threatens to put Logan County on probation under flood insurance scheme – Sterling Journal-Advocate

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Flood insurance for homeowners in unincorporated Logan County is set to increase by $50 per premium unless county officials can persuade the federal government to change its flood rules. flood insurance.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration announced late Friday that unincorporated Logan County will be placed on probation by the National Flood Insurance Program on March 30, 2022, due to “loopholes and violations of the management of the county’s floodplains, unless the county can remedy all outstanding issues”. violations or prepare a FEMA-approved compliance plan. »

Logan County planner Rob Quint tried to work with FEMA officials in Denver to resolve the issue. All but a handful of properties have been brought into compliance, including two businesses who were told they could come into compliance by having a ‘dry flood proof’ barrier built around them. The problem is that rough estimates put the cost of such flood protection at between $80,000 and $120,000, depending on the location.

At one of the sites, Quint said, there is a railroad elevation between the river and the company. Quint said historically such elevations have proven to be effective barriers against flood waters.

At the other site, the only building that does not comply is only a tenth of an inch too low and houses unsorted recyclable waste.

In another non-commercial location, the property is freehold and the owner has a deviation from county building regulations for the structure that is not in compliance. Quint said the owner said he wouldn’t spend any more money on the property.

FEMA officials have pointed out that the county has the option of going to court with the owners to force compliance, but the Logan County Board of Commissioners all rejected the idea.

According to FEMA’s press release, Logan County is an NFIP participating community with 30 flood insurance policies in effect with total coverage over $5,000,000 as of December 3, 2021.

The release said that unless the county remedies the violations or completes a FEMA-approved compliance plan, the probationary period will begin March 30, 2022, and be in effect for one year. County participation includes unincorporated areas only. The towns of Fleming and Illiff and the town of Sterling participate independently in the NFIP and would not be affected by probation.

FEMA blamed Logan County officials for the situation, saying the county failed to institute proper floodplain plans.

“The violations in Logan County are the result of development occurring without a county floodplain development permit and permitting construction in violation of local floodplain management ordinances,” the agency said. “This includes several structures built into the floodplain that were not elevated above the flood base elevation as shown on county flood maps.”

During the trial period, flood insurance coverage will remain available in Logan County. However, an additional $50 will be added to the premium for each new and renewed flood insurance policy sold in the community for at least one year from the effective date of probation. Every flood insurance policyholder in unincorporated Logan County will receive notice of impending probation and the $50 surcharge.

FEMA also raised the possibility of an outright suspension of the NFIP if the county does not develop a plan that the agency is satisfied with.

The Journal-Advocate contacted Logan County commissioners on Friday evening, but they had not had a chance to respond by press time.

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