Waveland could get dropped from Nat'l Flood Insurance Program - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Why Waveland could get dropped from Nat'l Flood Insurance Program

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WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) -

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Waveland is under a deadline to get properties in compliance with the federal government's flood regulations.

FEMA recently identified 300 properties that violate the flood rules. And if they're not fixed, the entire city could be kicked out of the National Flood Insurance Program.

City leaders say RVs and camper trailers being used as permanent homes are putting flood insurance all over Waveland at risk. Storage sheds built in a flood zone, like the one we found on Alfred Harris' property, are also a problem, according to city leaders.

"This shed was inspected by the city of Waveland when I built it. It was approved," Harris said. "If they would get out of their car and come off the road, they can see water can flow through this shed."

Harris said he built his shed slightly off the ground so that flood waters can travel through it, meeting the flood requirements. But according to Mayor David Garcia, FEMA doesn't consider that good enough. And it could end up hurting everyone in Waveland.

"We have 60 days to keep Waveland off of probation," Garcia said. "Everyone that lives within a special flood plain area that has a flood insurance policy would have seen a $50 increase in their premium for that year, or they have an option to suspend us from the program."

Of the 300 properties cited by FEMA, Garcia said most owners have agreed to make the changes needed to comply. Only about 70 still pose problems.

"FEMA would remove those properties from the National Flood Insurance Program's database and flood insurance would never ever be able to be purchased on the properties. And if there are any mortgages, Katrina grant funds, SBA loans on the property, they would be demanded to pay it back at that point."

Eight property owners have gone on record saying they have no plans to comply, so the mayor said they will be headed to court.

Mayor Garcia said city leaders don't want to be the bad guy. They just want to keep the availability of flood insurance, so Waveland can continue to grow.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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