Biloxi: Not Knowing Velocity Zone Restrictions Could Cost Residents Rebuilding

There's a map Biloxi Community Development Department references in considering building permits. Especially for those homes located in the Velocity zone.

"You can see all these little bayous here that are designed to absorb a large portion of that storm surge," says Community Development Director Jerry Creel.

If you add too much fill dirt in some areas, you've got a problem.

"That water has got to go somewhere," says Creel. "You'll either be deflecting that water onto your neighbors, or you'll be increasing the normal flood elevations to a higher level."

Creel says last week the city's Flood Zone Administrator found three possible Velocity Zone violations in Biloxi's Eagle Point community.

"When he got there, there was fill material being brought in."

Velocity, or V zones, are considered nature's hurricane barrier. They're mostly marshy and low lying areas along costal waterways. Filling there has been regulated since long before Katrina, but Jerry Creel suspects he knows a reason why it's become an issue now.

"With the talk about increased flood elevations and the increase in boundaries in the flood zone, they probably believe they're getting a head start on construction."

But instead, Creel says they're wasting time and money on fill material that they may wind up being responsible for removing.

"That would be the only option that they have is to remove that material."

Creel says that's why he wants others to avoid the wasted money and trouble now, by knowing their zone and their rebuilding limitations. He says that's easy to do.

"It's really just a matter of giving us a call or paying us a visit, and we'll be happy to give you that information."