Gulfport Council Discusses Flood Elevations And Personnel

Gulfport's city council members voted on a number of issues at Tuesday's meeting. From possible personnel changes to FEMA elevation maps, there were a number of important policy issues on the agenda.

In a 5-2 vote, the council adopted FEMA's preliminary flood elevation requirements.

The map will replace the current advisory flood elevations. But no matter if you built according to the advisory levels or you will build under the new elevations, FEMA says you will still save money.

"A lot of these people who have already built off of the advisory maps are going to get a break on their flood insurance," said FEMA representative Tim Russo.

"The reason your insurance rates are too high is because you're not building in compliance," Russo said.

He says elevation requirements have gone down. But not everyone is on board with the changes.

Councilwomen Ella Holmes-Hines voted against the ordinance. She says it's unclear when it comes to the requirements for historical structures found at places like the VA property and throughout Turkey Creek. FEMA leaders say those structures are exempt from the changes.

However, in 30 days the rest of Gulfport's property owners will have to build according to preliminary elevation requirements.

There was also a resolution on the agenda for the chairman of the planning commission to maintain his seat.

Steve Allen has served on the planning commission for the last 19 years. But without warning, he turned in his resignation.

"He had learned that statements were made about the planning commission statements like, 'We need a smarter more educated board,'" said Ward 7 Councilwoman Barbara Nalley.

However, the mayor says rumors of tension between he and Mr. Allen are simply untrue.

"There is no disconnect between he and I. I've never had an agreement or a disagreement," said Mayor Warr.

The mayor mailed Mr. Allen a letter accepting his resignation, and that has some council members upset.

"I'm disappointed that the leader of this city accepted a letter of resignation from someone who served this city for 19 years without having a conversation with him to find out why he wants to leave. That's upsetting to me. I really thought you were a better leader than that," said councilman Brian Carriere.

According to other members on the planning commission, Steve Allen wants to withdraw his resignation and continue serving until his term expires, next spring.

All positions with the planning commission are non-paid.