Coweta seeks help on potential flooding issue

Thu, 08/20/2009 - 2:39pm
By: Ben Nelms

Coweta County commissioners Tuesday approved the submission a letter to Fayette County Water Authority requesting that Fayette include Coweta properties in federally-required documents relating to the the upcoming construction of Lake McIntosh. That inclusion could help Coweta property owners near the lake avoid the requirement to purchase flood insurance.

County administrator Theron Gay said that, as designed, the lake includes a portion of Coweta County, leaving the potential for some properties to be located in a flood zone.

To address the issue, commissioners agreed to send a letter to Fayette County, requesting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency-required Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) and Elevation Certificate include potentially affected properties on the Coweta side of the lake.

“For properties on which the flood plain does not impact structures or buildings, flood insurance requirements can be waived or substantially reduced if the LOMA and Elevation Certificate are prepared by an engineer or surveyor proving that the lowest floor of the structures are located above the flood elevation,” said Coweta Director of Development & Engineering Wayne Kennedy.

Consequently, Coweta will formally request that Fayette County Water Authority prepare and submit the documents to FEMA for the Coweta properties that will be impacted by the reservoir.

The request by Coweta comes after receiving a letter from FEMA notifying the county of the proposed changes in its floodplain maps as a result of the construction of the Lake McIntosh Dam and Reservoir.

“Based upon our review of the documents (signifying Coweta’s awareness of the project) we feel that additional action is necessary by the Fayette County Water Authority to protect several property owners in Coweta County from the flood insurance purchase requirement,” Kennedy said. “These property owners do not presently have floodplain on their property, nor will the reservoir encroach onto their property, but construction of the proposed reservoir will raise the flood elevation upstream of the dam onto their property.”

Kennedy noted that federal law requires that any mortgage for property in an area of floodplain must be protected by flood insurance, the cost of which is the responsibility of the borrower.

Contacted Wednesday, Fayette County Water System Director Tony Parrott said it would not be appropriate to comment on the request until Fayette receives the letter.

The Lake McIntosh project goes back to 1976, Parrott said. Property for the 650-acre dam, reservoir and flood easement was purchased by Fayette County years ago, he said.

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