Pocahontas Residents Question Particulars Of County Floodplain Ordinance
Dunmore, WV – The controversial county dog ordinance and the updated county flood plain ordinance were both adopted by the Pocahontas County Commission on November 3rd. But Pocahontas County Commissioner David Fleming says its questions about the flood plain ordinance that has generated more phone calls and emails to him. During the December 4th edition of Commissioners Corner on AMR, he put some of those questions to fellow Commissioner Reta Griffith.
Fleming says some have asked about the requirement for a permit from the Pocahontas County Assessors’ office for any new structures built in the county. Griffith says that’s correct, but she stresses that there is no fee for the application.
“There was already a law on the books anyway, that when you do any improvement, you’re supposed to contact the Assessors’ office” says Griffith “but we hadn’t been enforcing that either. So this is a way to make the flood plain ordinance enforced. You fill out that preliminary one page application where your property is; they look it up, if it’s in the floodplain, then you have to fill out a full application. It’s just also a way of letting the Assessor know what new value you’ve added to your property.”
Griffith says residents should also notify the Assessors office is a property loses value due to a fire or a structure being torn down. Fleming asked Griffith for further clarification about the permit process.
[David Fleming] “So, in the case when someone is to build a structure, who makes the call on if it’s in the floodplain?”
“The Assessors’ office will do that first” says Griffith. “And then they’ll notify the floodplain coordinator, and then a full application needs to be done. Then it’s determined from there; sometimes there are very minimal requirements and other times it just depends on where the location is.”
She also reminds residents that this doesn’t apply to the towns of Durbin, Hillsboro and Marlinton, whose residents must contact their respective town offices. Whether or not a property lies within a flood plain is determined using FEMA maps. She says the Assessors office is the first stop, but not the only source of information.
“We also have Don McNeel as the Flood Plain Coordinator for when you do have to fill out an application, but nothing has really changed there” she says. “People should have been filling out applications before; it’s such a large county that when you don’t know some construction’s going on; and that’s what this is doing. There are no fees associated with it.”
Griffith says there is a critical reason to have the flood plain ordinance in place.
“For those folks who do live in the flood plain, without this ordinance in place they would not be eligible for the National flood plain insurance program” she says “which is the only provider of flood insurance. You might get it through your local agent, but they are getting it through the national flood insurance program. And if we continue to improve our enforcement, then that also helps us in the long run to keep those flood insurance rates lower.”
Griffith says you can also use the process to remove your property from the flood plain. Of course that may also mean that your property won’t be eligible for flood insurance. For more information, contact the Pocahontas Assessors’ office at 304-799-4750.