For immediate release
Thinking about a construction or renovation project in Phelps County? You may need a floodplain development permit
Second of a three-part series
PHELPS COUNTY—Phelps County does not have a building codes program that requires a permit. However, you may need a floodplain development permit if you are planning construction or substantial improvements to a structure located in a floodplain within Phelps County. This includes rehab work to homes that have been flooded.
“Because Phelps County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), we must have a process that certifies compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and NFIP regulations,” said Randy Verkamp, Phelps County presiding commissioner. “This doesn’t prevent you from building in a floodplain, however, you may need to follow certain design standards that would minimize damage in the event of a flood—such as making sure your lowest floor of living space is at least two feet above the base flood elevation.”
Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) administers the county’s floodplain management program.
“If you are planning to build any type of structure or improve existing structures, you need to determine if you are in a floodplain, and we can provide floodplain maps to help you do that,” said Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC assistant director and environmental programs manager. “If your lending institution is requiring you to purchase flood insurance, that is a good indication that you may be in an area susceptible to flooding, and you most definitely need to contact us,” Snodgrass added. “The sooner you find out, the better.”
By providing FEMA floodplain maps, MRPC helps property owners determine whether a floodplain development permit is needed. If a permit is needed, the property owner will need to fill out an application, and the administrator will provide detailed specifications that would need to be followed for construction in the floodplain.
“For example, you may have to forego a basement, because no basements are allowed in a floodplain,” Snodgrass said.
Once the administrator has provided the specification information, the permit application is sent to the county commission for approval. Once approved by the county commission, construction can begin. The administrator will then follow up by requiring an elevation certificate.
“An elevation certificate documents the elevation of the lowest floor of the structure and certifies compliance with federal regulations,” Snodgrass said.
“Our goal is to allow you to build in a floodplain, if that is your desire, but to do so in such a way that the threat to lives and property are minimized, should flooding occur,” Verkamp said.
If structures are out of compliance with NFIP, the entire county could lose its ability to participate in the flood insurance program.
“That would mean no one owning property in Phelps County would be able to purchase flood insurance,” Snodgrass said.
Verkamp encourages residents to contact MRPC with any questions, especially residents that are planning summer building projects.
For more information on floodplain regulations in Phelps County, persons should contact Snodgrass at MRPC at 573-265-2993 or email email@example.com.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 33 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.