The Indiana Department of Natural Resources approved Kokomo’s new floodplain ordinance Friday - a move that will save city residents from a potential hike in flood insurance rates.
The ordinance, which was passed on Jan. 12 by the Kokomo Common Council, covers the entire city and is expected to help keep flood insurance rates down for residents living in flood-prone areas.
“This is going to affect things in a very positive manner when it comes to flood insurance,” said Kokomo City Plan Commission Executive Director Greg Sheline. “Since we are in the National Flood Insurance Program, flood insurance for residents living in flood areas could have gone up significantly if we did not create this new ordinance.”
The new ordinance will ensure that the city’s flood regulations are coordinated with the state’s new flood maps, which will be revealed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Feb. 4, according to Sheline.
Kokomo’s partnership with the NFIP, which is administered by FEMA, gives residents the opportunity to purchase federal flood insurance, as long as the city stays in compliance with the state flood maps.
“The program gives our residents the option of purchasing their insurance at a lower rate,” said Sheline.
Homes and buildings in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance, according to the NFIP’s website.
“We wanted to get this done as quickly as we could,” said Sheline, who voted to recommend the ordinance to the Common Council during the Dec. 9 City Plan Commission meeting. “This will be sure to keep insurance rates at a reasonable level.”
However, the ordinance approval will not affect the status of the city’s baseball stadium project, according to DNR Communications Director Phil Bloom.
“DNR’s approval of the City of Kokomo’s local floodplain ordinance has no bearing on the baseball stadium project,” said Bloom. “The DNR approval was only for a City of Kokomo floodplain ordinance.”
The city is still in violation on eight parcels of land within the baseball stadium project, per deed restrictions put in place by the Hazard Mitigation Program, said Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson.
“These are two issues which remain separate and independent of each other,” Erickson said. “DNR’s approval of the flood ordinance has no bearing on the City of Kokomo with respect to the construction of the baseball stadium on deed-restricted parcels of land.
“I think because the two separate processes both deal with flooding we have had confusion, and we felt the need to clarify,” Erickson added.