Jackson County Board Of Supervisors Sets Temporary Flood Elevations For County

Deciding how high Jackson County residents will be required to rebuild was a difficult decision for the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Frank Leach says it was difficult because they had to make the decision that affects so many, without expert advice.

"We don't have a firm decision being made by the national flood insurance program," Leach says. "This is 63 days later. People are saying, 'Just tell me so I can get on with my life.'"

"We want to make the right decision for the majority, knowing that no decision is right for everybody," District 5 Supervisor John McKay says.

For an hour, the supervisors asked questions, made comments and finally voted on a plan.

Basically it works like this. If Hurricane Katrina wiped everything out on your property or she left you with a slab and you are below the current basic flood elevation, you're going to have to go up four feet from the current basic flood elevation in your area.

But if your home is damaged and maybe you want to do some repairs and you are at the basic flood elevation, then you can do so, but you have to get your permit within the next 90 days.

"That gives you one year to build back your home at the current level," McKay says.

"But after 90 days we expect every new structure basically that gets a building permit to elevate at least four feet," Leach says.

Supervisors say it is a transition policy until FEMA comes up with the new flood plain maps.

"I think it does allow individuals to get on with their life and to go ahead and begin to make some decisions," Leach says.

While it might not be perfect for everybody, they say, it's the best they can do for now.