Flood plain regulations finalized by county

SHERIDAN — The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt new rules and regulations for flood plain management in Sheridan County at its meeting Tuesday. The rules were originally considered Nov. 5 and rejected by a 3-2 vote pending revisions to perceived problem areas.

The revised rules stipulate that new development and substantial improvements in flood areas with base flood elevation data must be built one foot or more above base flood elevation in the code enforcement area, which is an approximately one-mile “donut” around the city of Sheridan used as a joint planning area for the city and county. In the rest of the county in areas with base flood elevation data, development must be built at or above base flood elevation.

The regulations originally stated that all development in the county would have to be one foot or more above base flood elevation, which is what is required by the city. Residents objected to this requirement and said it was a taking of private property without compensation since residents were being limited on how they could use their land.

County resident Mitch Cangiamilla stated he was still against requiring one foot or more above base flood elevation in the code enforcement area.

Resident Vicki Taylor agreed with a statement by Cangiamilla that the Federal Emergency Management Agency does not cover basements with its National Flood Insurance program, so building one foot above base flood elevation offers comfort but not insurability.

Taylor also noted that she felt like the county’s regulations were spot zoning since they place different requirements on three miles of creek out of 66 total creek miles in the county with base flood elevation data.

Commissioner Terry Cram said he thought the commission made a good compromise and that some people wouldn’t be happy with anything.

A second revision to the rules eliminated the requirement for people wishing to develop in areas without base flood elevation data, known as “A Zones,” to obtain an official engineer’s study to determine flood information (estimated to cost $3,000 to $5,000). The regulations are now similar to the city of Sheridan’s in which historical flood data and available maps can be used to estimate flood elevations.

Developer Ron Patterson spoke on behalf of area developers at the meeting. He said he thought the flood regulations were reasonable and necessary.

“Buyers today demand that they’re out of the flood plain,” Patterson said.

Patterson said developers prefer to develop in compliance with flood regulations because buyers want assurances that everything is up to code and safe from floods.

In other business, commissioners:

• approved a reduction in contract price of $2,385 for the county’s new storage building on Coffeen Avenue and Gladstone Street. The reduction came from a reduced price in bricks, Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said.

• approved the purchase of two 2013 John Deere motor graders for maintenance of county roads.

Obermueller said the purchases were being made at the local John Deere dealer in order to expand the county’s relationship with local vendors. Financing will be through First Federal Savings Bank of Sheridan. The loan will be for $270,534.66.

“It behooves us to look locally if our local lenders are willing to work with us,” Obermueller said.

• approved a resolution that will annually close Red Grade Road to all wheeled motor vehicles from December 15 through April 1, which matches Forest Service regulations and is more appropriate for a road that is now part of the Wyoming State Trails Program, Commissioner Steve Maier said.

• reappointed Ed Johlman to the Sheridan County Fairgrounds Association for a term to end January 2019.

• accepted the fiscal year 2012-2013 audit, which had no findings and came up clean, Obermueller said.

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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