(11/08/2008)
While FEMA floodplain ordinances are not new to West Virginia, recent updates of the ordinances are focusing on compliance in all West Virginia counties.

Calhoun property owners are required to obtain a $10 permit for any development or new construction, substantial improvement, repair of substantial damage, the placement or relocation of any structure, including manufactured homes.

The requirements are part of FEMA's flood plain ordinance that every county is required to adopt, according to Calhoun Flood Plain Coordinator Gary Buchanan.

While the ordinance requires permits for all locations, the focus is on the county's flood plain areas.

Contractors are required to follow the permit guidelines.

When a project is being developed on a flood plain, further requirements must be met before a permit application can be approved, related to whether or not the site is reasonably safe from flooding.

The meeting of FEMA flood plain requirements will directly affect individuals efforts in obtaining loans or in obtaining flood insurance.

Buchanan said "In most cases, it's a pretty simple matter in obtaining a permit, but with individuals who desire to locate on a flood plain, FEMA has legal requirements to protect that property and the safety of individuals who live on the site."

Buchanan, who is also the county's 911 Director, can be reached at the 911 Center at Mount Zion or by calling 304-354-0911.

FEMA has indicated enforcement of flood plain ordinances in West Virginia, one of which is a plan that will require the electric company to certify whether or not property owners have a permit before electric hook-up is completed.

Buchanan said if individuals want to build a house on flood plain property, they can still do that, but he thinks the owner will face a multitude of problems if they do not follow the FEMA's permit process.

"It is likely the owner could face some problems when they decide to sell the property," he said.

The primary objective of the ordinances, according to FEMA, is the protection of lives and property in times of disaster.


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