Deadline approaching for Bay St. Louis to change flood ordinance

Deadline approaching for Bay St. Louis to change flood ordinance

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - If Bay St. Louis doesn't approve a floodplain ordinance change by May 8, residents could find themselves without flood insurance.

Monday, the city council talked about changing the ordinance to meet federal guidelines. Right now, FEMA regulations forbid fill dirt to be used for building, but the ordinance in Bay St. Louis allows for two feet of filler.

If you don't adopt a flood ordinance as compliant, you could lose all your flood insurance, which the city of Bay St. Louis will not do," said City Councilman Doug Seal. "We'll try to get a compromise and make it a win/win situation for everybody involved."

A letter sent from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to Bay St. Louis says the city has until May 8 to come up with a plan to change it. If the change isn't made, the city could be in danger of being dropped from the National Flood Insurance Program, which could mean a loss of insurance for residents building in flood-prone areas.

"The problem right now is development of our neighborhood, and other areas in the city that border the river, is the people that own the property don't know what to do right now, so it's kind of been a detriment to rebuilding our area," said Bay St. Louis resident David Wells.

The council will pick the issue up again on Thursday when a meeting is scheduled with MEMA Director Lee Smithson.

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