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New County Flood Plain Maps Could Impact Area Property Owners



Property owners, particularly those in Franklin, Gorham, Chesterfield, and York Townships, could be impacted by new flood plain maps.

Steve Brown, Fulton County planning director, said the new maps remove some 250 properties from 100-year flood plain maps, but add 85 new properties.

“We have about 250 total properties in the 100-year flood plain,” Brown said.

The maps are being prepared by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The new maps, which will become offi cial in September or October, will replace all previous flood plain maps.

Those who own properties that have been added to the flood plain map have been notified, Brown said.

Impact

Brown said a 100-year flood plain is the area that ODNR and FEMA expect will be flooded by a storm that would statistically be expected to hit the area once every 100 years.

“But lately, it seems like we’re getting (a 100-year storm) once a month. We’ve come close to a 100-year flood. They’ve followed the maps pretty closely,” he said.

If a property owner wants to construct a building in a flood plain, the county zoning laws could require that special precautions be taken in construction, such as raising the structure above flood level.

Lenders could require a property owner to purchase flood insurance.

“We don’t recommend to anybody that they build in a flood plain,” Brown said.

Filling an area with stone or topsoil must also be approved, he said.

Brown said the biggest changes in the flood plain are

•In the Tiffin River areas of Chesterfield and York Townships.

•In Franklin Township, around Co. Rd. L.

•In York Township, along the Fulton-Henry county line.

Appeal

Brown said there are probably 500 existing structures, including farmhouses and barns.

But “if you look at the western part of the county, a lot of those buildings are built on knobs,” or hilltops, away from flood danger.

Currently, the new maps are in the appeals stage– that is, owners can appeal their inclusion in a flood plain.

The appeals period lasts until June 8.

“Property owners need to have good data to present to FEMA in Chicago,” to prove they are not in a flood plain.

“The burden (of proof) is on the property owner,” Brown said.

After the appeals process, Brown said county officials will meet with the communities to update flood plain regulations.

“There is always going to be some error in the maps, but I think they’re pretty accurate,” he said.–David
Pugh

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