City of Georgetown making changes to flood ordinance

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the aftermath of the September fire that destroyed several businesses and apartments in the 700 block of Front Street, some changes are being made to the City of Georgetown’s flood ordinance.

Georgetown planner Rick Martin told city council last week when reviewing the ordinance that will be crucial as rebuilding takes place, it was discovered there were 29 changes that needed to be made so the city’s ordinance will match the state’s flood laws.

Most of the changes are housekeeping matters such as adding or deleting a word or phrase here and there. However, one major change gives property owners an avenue of appeal before going to court.

Currently, if someone wants to appeal an interpretation of the flood ordinance, they have to take the matter to circuit court, Martin said.

The revised ordinance — which received the first of two needed approvals by council Thursday — will give the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals the authority to hear and decide requests for variances from the requirements of the flood ordinance.

If the petitioner is not satisfied with the BZA decision, the matter can then be appealed to circuit court.

Under the current ordinance a property owner is advised by the city additional federal or State permits may be required. Under the new law, the city will review proposed development to assure that all necessary permits have been received from those governmental agencies from which approval is required.

The ordinance change will be up for final reading March 20.

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