FEMA Flood Advisory Maps Now Mandatory For Rebuilding In Jackson County

By a four to one vote, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors made the FEMA advisory flood maps law on Monday.

"It's all about safety and trying not to get in the same situation that we are in now," District 5 Supervisor John McKay says.

The decision means residents trying to rebuild homes Katrina washed away will have to consult the advisory maps before getting a permit.

In some cases, Supervisor McKay says residents may be in for a surprise.

"Such as Bellfountain Beach, Simmons Bayou, some along Tantalon in St. Andrews, some in Gulf Park Estates itself, areas in old St. Martin. A lot of people in those areas are going to have to build up a lot higher than they were before the storm," McKay says.

Some four to five feet higher. It sounds like a lot, but supervisor Frank Leach says the county's doing only what it has to.

"We will have no opportunity when they come with the maps to do anything but accept their maps," District 4 Supervisor Leach says.

But should the board adopt the maps before the final draft comes out?

Supervisor Tim Broussard doesn't think so.

"The maps are online. Any homeowner that is unsure about what they need to do, can go on a web site , city hall, they can go get recommendations for themselves and go build to the new recommendations. They really don't need government to make that decision for them," District 3 Supervisor Tim Broussard says.

But the rest of the supervisors say the adoption will help homeowners feel more confident with rebuilding now.

Leach says when the official maps come out this summer, there won't be much difference.

"There may be some additional tweaking of these maps as they go forward but we don't expect very much change," Leach says.