Moss Point Taking Closer Look At New Flood Maps - - The News for South Mississippi

Moss Point Taking Closer Look At New Flood Maps

The new FEMA flood elevation maps are already bringing good news to Moss Point.

"For the city as a whole, we're in pretty good shape. There are no surprises, no major disappointments," Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop said.

Many elements of Moss Point's downtown still need to be rebuilt, like city hall and the fire station. The new guidelines match-up with the city's plan to relocate both buildings. And the nearby business district appears to be safe. Only new businesses would need slight elevations.

The only residential area significantly impacted by the new guidelines is along River Road and Griffin Street. FEMA calls this a "velocity zone," and new homes will have to be elevated 14 feet.

"If you're that close to the Pascagoula River, you'll no doubt want to be that high. But by and large, a good portion of Main Street going south is not in the flood zone at all. You can build at ground level," Mayor Bishop said.  

In some spots, the city is already enforcing stronger elevation standards than the new maps require.

"If you build higher, your insurance premiums go down," a FEMA representative said.  

But FEMA reps warn, the city must adopt the maps to be included in the National Flood Insurance Program.

"If you don't adopt these maps, you get taken out of the program. If you get taken out of the program, you lose your loans, grants," the FEMA representative said.

The updated flood plain maps will primarily apply to new structures. If a home received more than 50 percent damage, it will also have to adjust to the new standards.

Click here to see the maps for all the coastal counties online.

By Keli Rabon

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