On Sept. 1, Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa met with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), flood plain managers, local area mayors and FEMA and GOHSEP officials to clarify FEMA policies and understand how to better help South Louisiana recover from the floods.
“Federal, state and local agencies must work together to help South Louisiana recover from these floods,” Cassidy said. “It is important to make sure that the regulatory process, as it pertains to our recovery, is as clear and understandable as possible."
FEMA stated that advisory-based flood elevations and maps will not be adjusted in response to the recent flooding.
Additionally, FEMA confirmed that if a property is substantially damaged (where the damage to a home is 50 percent or more of its previous market value), it will be required to come into compliance with the community’s current flood plain ordinance. Some local communities have defined substantially damaged at a percentage less than 50 percent and homeowners should consult with their parish or city. If the home is not brought into compliance, the flood insurance rate could be adjusted based on that home’s elevation. FEMA is offering to help local communities make substantially damaged determinations and if a homeowner disagrees with the determination, they may appeal to their parish or city.
FEMA also confirmed that manufactured housing units can be placed in special flood hazard areas for 18 months, provided there is a permit and its placement meets elevation levels determined by FEMA. Flood insurance will not be required for those units.
GOHSEP and FEMA officials reported that Louisiana is eligible for FEMA hazard mitigation grants and the State of Louisiana is seeking to use part of the money to improve drainage capacity.
Lastly, FEMA encouraged local officials to remain in contact with their designated liaison.