WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING: SUMTER CITY COUNCIL

Sumter flood prevention ordinance could save money for homeowners

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 8/24/18

Sumter City Council approved first reading of an ordinance to update the city's flood damage prevention ordinance on Tuesday which could, over time, save more money for homeowners with flood insurance.

Ordinance makes city safer, saves homeowners …

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WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING: SUMTER CITY COUNCIL

Sumter flood prevention ordinance could save money for homeowners

Posted

Sumter City Council approved first reading of an ordinance to update the city's flood damage prevention ordinance on Tuesday which could, over time, save more money for homeowners with flood insurance.

Ordinance makes city safer, saves homeowners money

Reading: First of two

Agenda item: A request to amend the city's flood damage prevention ordinance to adopt the Wateree Watershed Maps and Flood Insurance Study revisions that will go into effect on Sept. 28. The amendment would also update the flood damage prevention ordinance to make corrections and clarifications noted in the 2017 South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Community Assistance Visit and Community Rating System Cycle Visit.

Background: Sumter participates in Federal Emergency Management Agency's Community Rating System program which affords citizens a discount on their flood insurance premiums, said Helen Roodman, Sumter City-County Zoning Administrator and senior staff planner for Sumter Planning Department, said.

The five main changes to the ordinance will include: required updates; the addition of language stating all permit applications will be reviewed to determine each proposed site is reasonably safe from flooding; the addition of a section to address standards for areas with base flood elevations but no floodways; the addition of language that clarifies flood proofing requirements for commercial buildings; and the reorganization of the ordinance.

Roodman said the city already requires all new developments and substantial structure improvements in floodplains to be elevated 2 feet above base elevation for residential but commercial structures can be flood proofed through an engineering certification process in lieu of raising the structure above the base line.

That specific language just needs to be added to the ordinance, she said.

Roodman said the city has also been recognized by FEMA for its upgrade on the community rating scale.

The city and county are both class 7 communities on a scale of 10 where one is the best rating, she said.

"That increase means that citizens get direct discounts from their flood insurance rates," Sumter Planning Department Director George McGregor said.

He presented city council with a plaque from FEMA recognizing the municipality for working to protect citizens with effective flood plain management.

A class 7 community rating provides a 15 percent reduction, about $132 in savings, in flood insurance premiums for properties in the special flood hazard area and a 5 percent reduction, about $45 in savings, for flood premiums in a non-special flood hazard area, Roodman said. The reduction benefits do not affect preferred risk policies for properties outside of flood plain, she said.

As of 2017, Roodman said the city had approximately 400 flood insurance policies in effect and about 240 of those were in the special flood hazard area.

Public hearing: No comments.

Discussion: Councilman David Merchant made a motion for approval, and councilman Robert Galiano seconded.

Vote: Unanimous approval