Ascension Parish leaders address who needs permit to rebuild

Ascension Parish leaders address who needs permit to rebuild

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Some people in Ascension Parish are still having to wait to rebuild because floodwaters have yet to recede, while others have already started the process. However, there are still questions about who needs a permit and what do people do if they are in a flood zone.

Ascension Parish officials and FEMA have come to terms with a contract about using the federal agency to evaluate flooded homes, according to Jerome Fournier, the parish's director of Planning and Development.

In order for FEMA to determine if a home had more than 50 percent of damage and needs to be torn down or not, FEMA wanted to use the figure of $81 per square feet.

However, parish leaders said their housing prices are higher, and now, both the parish and FEMA have agreed to go with $131 per square feet.

"That email (to FEMA) was sent out earlier this week and in the interim period, we were doing evaluations on our own using our own personnel," Fournier said.

As for permits, officials said anyone who had water rise and recede without any structural damage, regardless how high the water was, does not need a permit to rebuild.

"If a property owner has had structural damage to their house and they've had damage to their foundation, or the structure, meaning the studs and that type of thing in their house, they had to come in and get a permit," Fournier said.

Anyone who doesn't know if they had structural damage can call and request an inspector to make that determination.

Those in flood zones A and AE, which are the higher risk flood zones, may be able to fix their home without a permit if their home is already raised one foot over the base flood elevation.

"Those houses though that fall within the category of lying within the A and AE flood zone and have had 50 percent or more damage and they lie below the base flood elevation, they will have to either elevate their house, remove the house from the premises, move it to another location or tear it down and basically rebuild," Fournier said.

FEMA workers will be in Ascension Parish next week evaluating homes and neighborhoods in the hardest hit areas like St. Amant, Bluff Swamp, Galvez and Spanish Lake.

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