County OKs floodplain management rules

SHERIDAN — Sheridan County Commissioners approved a notice of intent to adopt new rules and regulations governing floodplain management at their meeting Tuesday.

Adoption of the new regulations — which include a Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in May 2012 — is required if the county wants to continue its involvement in the National Flood Insurance Program offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, County Public Works Director Rod Liesinger said.

“There’s so many benefits to being part of that program,” Liesinger said. “If the decision is made for some reason not to continue in the program, our citizens who are in the floodplain wouldn’t be eligible for flood insurance, we wouldn’t be eligible for disaster relief if we had a flood and there would be a lot of grant funding that would not be available to the community.”

The county has been in the process of revising its floodplain management regulations for approximately two years. In July, the county was told it had six months to adopt the new regulations and new maps in order to maintain flood insurance program eligibility.

Some changes to the regulations include adoption of the new Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map as part of the regulations; designating the flood plain administrator to be the public works director; clearer guidelines on the permitting process; and requiring new structures to elevate the lowest floor, including the basement, one foot above the base flood elevation.

The county has already been using the new maps, which include elevation data on 20 miles of Little Goose and Big Goose creeks and 16 miles of Soldier Creek, to guide development decisions along those floodplains, Liesinger said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the revised regulations Oct. 3, and the county commissioners will consider them at their first meeting in November.

Incorporated communities will have to adopt their own regulations to be a part of the National Flood Insurance Program, Liesinger said.

Copies of the revised floodplain management regulations are available in the public works department, the county commission office and online at the county’s website. A public meeting to discuss the revised regulations will be held at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in the exhibit hall at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.

In other business, County Commissioners:

• awarded a bid package to Amazing Electric for $53,220 to do electrical work in eight new hangars at the airport.

• awarded a bid package to StoneMill Construction for $102,580 to complete foundation and floor slab work on eight new hangars at the airport.

• approved a large acreage grant of exemption to Curtiss Johnson to divide an 82.5-acre parcel into to parcels of 35 acres or more. Regulations on large acreage land divisions were updated in 2008, but Johnson proved they intended to divide prior to the regulation change.

• approved a liquor license transfer from Y Business, LLC, to Big Horn Y, LLC.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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