‘It’s time to take action’: Lincoln changing floodplain building regulations
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A new proposal by the City of Lincoln will change building regulations in the floodplain.
The idea came from the Salt Creek Floodplain Resilience Study, which focused on the floods in May 2015.
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird held a press conference on Monday to discuss the city’s plans.
“This storm resulted in Salt Creek reaching its highest level in over 100 years, prompting voluntary evacuations of the neighborhoods along Salt Creek and causing millions of dollars in damages,” Gaylor Baird said.
If the regulations are passed, they will affect anyone looking to build in the floodplain, which covers about 16% of Lincoln.
The city has long-term goals to prevent flood damage.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is remapping Lincoln’s floodplain for the first time since 1961.
The mayor said the update is long overdue, as rainfall and creek flows have increased in the last 60 years.
FEMA is funding the project, and it’s expected to take five to eight years to complete.
The regulations are a precautionary measure until the remapping is complete.
They require renovations and new projects to be built a foot above the current regulations, which are already a foot above the flood base. The flood base is the level where water has a 1% chance to reach in any given year.
“Every month we wait is just another chance for a home or business to be built unsafely and too low,” Gaylor Baird said. “They will be flooded in a major storm event. So it’s time to take action now to protect our community.”
The mayor said officials will be meeting with neighborhood groups to discuss the regulations.
FEMA expects the cost of projects in the floodplain to rise by around 0.25% to 1.5%.
The city has financial assistance available for people who can’t afford the increase in cost, but the mayor said the extra dollars are worth it in the long run.
“We want them to build to an adequate safety standard,” Gaylor Baird said. “We don’t want them to pour money into their home or business only to be flooded when we know that the current standard isn’t sufficient.”
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission will look at the regulation changes on Wednesday.
The city council will hold a hearing on Dec. 12 and vote one week later.
The public is welcome to attend the meetings and voice opinions on the topic.