Zachary ponders action on flood ordinance violation

The city won’t take action against a homeowner found in violation of the city’s flood ordinance until it hears back from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mayor David Amrhein told the City Council on Tuesday.

A load of dirt dumped onto Laurie Brown’s property on MacHost Road violates the ordinance and threatens the city’s flood insurance rating, City Compliance Officer Hugh Engels said after the meeting.

The city holds a flood insurance rating of 7, which Zachary property owners to a 10 percent discount on insurance.

Cindy O’Neil, a state Department of Transportation and Development representative and National Flood Insurance Program coordinator, told the council at a meeting earlier this month that one property found to be out of compliance could cause the city to be dropped from the National Flood Insurance program.

If that were to happen, no properties in the city would be able to obtain flood insurance.

The state found Brown’s property out of compliance during a December 2013 site visit.

According to the city ordinance, a property owner can’t put large amounts of dirt on a piece of property unless a building is going to be constructed. Brown’s father, Joseph Brown, originally said he planned to construct an outbuilding on the land, but has not yet done so.

The extra dirt increases the flood plain in the area, causing water to run onto adjacent property.

Joseph Brown announced his intention to seek legal council on the issue at a council meeting March 11.

The city says it won’t act until it receives advice from the federal government.

“We want to have all our ducks in a row if we’re going to move either way,” Councilman Brandon Noel said.

In other matters:

  • Amrhein reported that improvements on Rollins Road are proceeding slowly because of excessive rain and urged residents to be patient. The speed limit on the road between Church Street and Northwestern Elementary School is 10 mph for the safety of the workers. Speeders “will be issued a citation,” Amrhein said.
  • The City Council and fire Chief David McDavid recognized Zachary firefighter Casey Phenald for rescuing a man from the “Gator Pit” in St. Francisville Mar. 4. “We’re proud that he did what he did,” McDavid said.